In its eighth year, Tyler, The Creator’s Camp Flog Gnaw Festival continues to take crowds on a musical joyride with some of hip-hop and R&B’s most prominent voices and rising acts. Los Angeles’ Dodger Stadium transformed into a zany carnival for all ages on Saturday (Nov. 9) with three stages — aptly titled Camp, Flog and Gnaw — a variety of fair foods and amusement rides and attractions sprawled across several parking lots.
As for the lineup, the artists brought their a-game to Stadium Way, from surprise addition rapper-singer Dominic Fike to headliner and soulful deity Solange. While hopping from stage to stage should require a stunt double, Billboard squeezed in time for most of day one’s roster and kept tabs on the memorable moments below.
3:56 p.m.: Backed by an all-lady band and four female dancers in hot pink and snakeskin power suits, headscarf-wearing melody queen Yuna sashayed onto the Flog stage in a lime green two-piece ensemble that screamed stylish boss attire. She brought the Southeast flavor of her Malaysian roots with the opener “Forevermore.” The R&B/pop songstress also spiced up her performance with swaggy choreography, a playful side that recently emerged with her latest album Rouge. Running through other catalog highlights like the Usher duet “Crush” and the Tyler, the Creator-assisted gem “Castaway,” Yuna then brought out special guest, Kyle, for her unfiltered number “Likes.”
4:31 p.m.: The Gnaw stage became L.A. rapper Domo Genesis’ lyrical playground as he delivered both bars and jokes. A life-sized cardboard cutout of him in animated form hung out by the DJ booth as the rapper perspired through his set in real life. “I had some sips of Hennessy,” Genesis said about his pre-performance drink. “That’s why I came out sweatin’ before I even did a lyric… I’m hot and kinda drunk.” Clips of vintage pop culture references from the NBA Jam game to Nickelodeon’s Legends of the Hidden Temple show played on the Jumbo screen as he performed “Time Goes By.” Laced in a black World Class Trouble Solvers custom jumpsuit, Genesis also previewed new material, prefacing the track with: “F–k what happened in the past … get that s–t crackin, right now.”
4:58 p.m.: Pop-punk act Dominic Fike riled up the main Camp stage crowd with his Billboard chart-topping tracks, “3 Nights.” (The track hit No. 1 on the Alternative Songs chart in September.)
5:33 p.m.: Thundercat’s eclectic set ended with a tribute to Mac Miller. With icon Michael MacDonald and jazz giant Kamasi Washington sharing the stage, the bassist/singer/songwriter wrapped his set by declaring “This definitely goes out to Mac Miller” before launching into the funky, Isley Brothers-sampling number “Them Changes.”
5:43 p.m.: At the Camp stage, Flog Gnaw staples The Internet jammed. The Grammy-nominated outfit connected with fans by tapping into group and solo cuts like the 2015 Ego Death cut “Under Control” to guitarist Steve Lacy’s Apollo XXI entry “Playground.” Syd’s sweet, whispery vocals shined during a live rendition of “Hold On” before the crew closed with the groovy offering off 2018’s Hive Death, “La Di Da.”
6:18 p.m.: Summer Walker was free of technical difficulties at CFG following last weekend’s struggle at Day N Vegas. With a live band, a working mic, and two pole dancers, the singer emerged on the Flog stage with body-hugging lime green biker shorts, a strappy black top, her natural curls flourishing and a pair of black glasses. Her debut album’s title track “Over It,” “Drunk Dialing…LODT” and “CPR” brought the grown and sexy to camp.
6:47 p.m.: Juice WRLD was a walking, talking turn-up. As he bounced across the Camp stage, he leaned into the theme of his 2019 sophomore effort Death Race For Love with a video game-esque vignette that harped on a high-stakes race for love. He slipped in a mini-freestyle during “Bandit,” shouting out Flog Gnaw before showing love to the 2000 Vitamin C throwback with his Benny Blanco collaboration “Graduation.”
7:12 p.m.: Legendary MC Yasiin Bey flexed his español on the Gnaw stage. A quick scan across the audience showed very few phones up in the air and a sea of head-bobbers who knew they were rockin’ with one of the greatest. As a backdrop, scenes from the 1977 classic Killer of Sheep played as he delivered “No Hay Nada Mas” and “Pretty Dancer” off the 2009 album The Ecstatic.
7:32 p.m.: Despite the 80-degree weather, Daniel Caesar provided the ideal cuffing season soundtrack on the Flog stage. A majority of fans belted their hearts out to Case Study 01 favorites like “CYANIDE” and the Brandy-assisted slow jam “Love Again.” The energy took a dip when Caesar grabbed his guitar and began to strum his pain for “ARE YOU OK?” “This is personally my favorite song,” he prefaced. “I’m gonna slow it down a lot but I personally don’t care.” Soon enough, the crowd was back to their happy singalong with the romance-inducing track “Get You.”
8:15 p.m.: The Camp Flog Gnaw pioneer was clearly the night’s undisputed MVP. In a sturdy blonde wig (that stayed planted on his head despite his wild dance routines throughout the night) and a multi-colored suit — a nod to his Igor character — Tyler, The Creator pandered to fans from all phases of his career. From cuts off his recent release Igor like “I THINK,” “A BOY IS A GUN,” “PUPPET” and “EARFQUAKE,” Tyler dove deeper into his discography with “911 / Mr. Lonely,” “IFHY,” “Yonkers,” “She” and “Who Dat Boy.” Every offering prompted a rap-a-long, unless Tyler encouraged fans to come harder: “Sing this f–kin’ song!” He then slowed down the tempo to give thanks to attendees for supporting the eight-year-old festival franchise and slightly flex. “I ain’t ride anyone’s wave and I own my s–t.” Suit drenched in sweat, he piled on more heartbreak rap for the finale with “See You Again” and “ARE WE STILL FRIENDS?” “This just made me appreciate him ten times more,” one attendee was overheard saying after the high-octane performance.
10:06 p.m.: After announcing her split from longtime partner Alan Ferguson earlier this month, Solange proved she can still do bad all by herself. In a black corset and suit, the melanated queen hit every angle, twerk, hair flip and note like the seasoned performer she is. When I Get Home and A Seat at the Table blended into a beautiful medley of black woman excellence, as she spit her “Can I Rock The Mic (Interlude),” which began with: “I can’t be a singular expression of myself, there’s too many parts…” Curvy dancers and live musicians amplified Solange’s minimalist but impactful set as she rolled through “Stay Flo,” “Binz,” “Mad” and “F.U.B.U.” When she segued into “I’m a Witness,” her chants of “Takin’ on the light” felt like both a declaration of her power and an invitation to join her. As the night’s conductor of spirituals, Solange made self-sabotage and pain sound so bittersweet. “Cranes in the Sky” and “Don’t Touch My Hair” were her final numbers, cementing the emotional gangster that Solo is.