Tyler, the Creator’s seventh annual Camp Flog Gnaw Festival migrated from its former home at LA’s Exposition Park to the sprawling outskirts of Dodger Stadium this year — in the process, converting acres of concrete parking lot into a whimsical sea of neon-lit signage complete with food stalls, whirl-a-gig rides and two behemoth Ferris wheels jutting from either side of the manmade landscape. The crowd, upward of 56,000 fans — the largest Tyler has seen yet — fluctuated between the main Camp and Flog stages as well as the smaller Gnaw Stage, eager to catch their favorite artists despite the uncommonly chilly night air and residual smoke from California wildfires.
Sunday’s crowd, while equally as enthusiastic as Saturday, perhaps had higher expectations given the highlights of the evening before. A$AP Rocky debuted a track called “Sundress” during a lengthy set during which he gleefully went over his allotted time, playfully telling Tyler to fuck off if he had a problem with it. Markedly more melodic and introspective than “Yamborghini High,” “Plain Jane” and “Praise the Lord” (all of which he performed), many speculated the tune was inspired by the Harlem rapper’s married ex-girlfriend, model Chanel Iman.
And then there was the infamous “Fuck Drake” sign that appeared during Pusha T’s set. The G.O.O.D. Music CEO later took to Twitter to clear the air, claiming the festival’s tech team had orchestrated the stunt, “Corny ass tech dude fucking with my screens at @CampFlogGnaw. I speak for myself and all of you know how I make my statements!! Dissing anybody on screen isn’t part of my show.” Saturday also saw performances by The Internet, Playboi Carti, Raphael Saadiq, Majid Jordan (Flog Gnaw was their last performance of the year), Mike G and a DJ set from Virgil Abloh. Of course Tyler also entertained with a ground-shaking performance before ceding the stage to SZA, who finished the night strong after having spent months on doctor-ordered vocal rest.
Sunday wasn’t without its own excitement: One of the biggest draws was no doubt a debut live performance from Kanye West and Kid Cudi as Kids See Ghosts. Last year, a fresh-from-rehab Cudi made one of his first appearances on the Flog Gnaw stage, whipping the crowd into a nostalgic and celebratory spirit with old classics and a few newer songs. This year he appeared alongside West in a hanging box structure among flames and an ever-changing graphic backdrop, launching straight into “Father Stretch My Hands Pt. 1” before performing other favorites like “Welcome to Heartbreak,” “Kids See Ghosts” and “Pursuit of Happiness.” While the energy was undeniable — the crowd enthusiastically sang along throughout the duration of the set — there were a few minor hiccups, namely from West, who seemed to lose his breath and stumble over a few lines as the performance progressed. Ultimately, however, the two closed to thunderous applause on “Ghost Town.”
Earlier in the day, Philly-bred neophyte Tierra Whack made her debut on the Camp Stage, bringing her surrealist aesthetic and fiery flow to an appreciative audience, many of whom were seeing her live for the first time. On the Flog Stage, Domo Genesis set the audience into a frenzy with a surprise appearance from Compton rapper Buddy. And BROCKHAMPTON delivered their signature shot of energy with an appearance from Jaden Smith who performed “New Orleans” alongside frontman Kevin Abstract. The group also worked their way through “Zipper”, “Queer” and “J’ouvert” before ending on “Boogie”. Meanwhile, Jaden, who had his own set, set off internet rumors after calling Tyler his best friend and then later, claiming to be his boyfriend.
Indeed, part of the charm of Flog Gnaw is its curated lineup of artists on the cusp alongside legendary acts like Lauryn Hill, for instance, who arrived on Sunday sporting a signature headdress. Hill ran through classics like “Doo Wop” and “Nothing Even Matters,” prompting lighters to wave in the air as the audience — many of whom couldn’t resist making jokes about her timely set – sang along. Polarizing rapper Post Malone drew similar enthusiasm with a high-energy set that included hits like “Congratulations,” “Rock Star” and “I Fall Apart.”