In the early hours Saturday morning just before the fifth annual Camp Flog Gnaw Carnival opened its doors, Tyler, the Creator tweeted to his followers a bit of advice in signature all caps: “MEET NEW PEOPLE TODAY, DON’T SPEND TIME ON YOUR PHONE, GO CHECK OUT SOME BAND YOU NEVER HEARD OF, TALK, HOLLA BACK. CAMP FLOG GNAW.”
On an overcast day in Los Angeles, streams of fans wearing their favorite Odd Future and Golf Wang apparel zigzagged their way through a maze-like entrance into Exposition Park for Flog Gnaw, which was sold out this year. Once you step foot on the grounds, Tyler’s reimagined carnival experience can be seen at every corner with fair rides, booth attractions and mini-golf, as well as specialized activities like AWGECADE by A$AP Rocky, an arcade center for Street Fighter and Skee-Ball matches. Of course, the day’s anticipation was saved for an exclusive 10-minute preview of Tyler’s Cherry Bomb documentary, which takes you inside the making of the album with appearances from Lil Wayne, Kanye West, Charlie Wilson and many more.
Flog Gnaw’s lineup for Saturday (Nov. 12) consisted of rookies and veterans that drew massive crowds. If you heeded to Tyler’s call-to-action, you found yourself venturing from the Flog Stage to the Camp Stage catching Rocket Da Goon, Yuna, Kamasi Washington, Domo Genesis, SZA and the Internet. The evening was just as stacked with Lil Uzi Vert, Chance the Rapper, A$AP Rocky, DJ Mustard, Tyler, the Creator, Kaytranda and Lil Wayne.
Read below for Billboard’s first day highlights.
Domo Genesis Hits the Stage in His Hometown
Odd Future may be disbanded as a group, but each member has developed fan bases as solo artists over the years. Domo is no exception, as he had droves of fans watch him perform his weed-infused raps in the afternoon. “I’m not gonna lie, I’m a little inebriated,” Domo said, admitting he took a few shots of Patron backstage. “They just legalized marijuana in this b—-,” he added, which caused a wave of people to spark up. He took a break to set the groove right with his “Stomp the Yard s—t” — a DJ medley of Usher’s “U Don’t Have to Call,” Snoop Dogg and Nate Dogg’s “Ain’t No Fun” and Styles P’s “Good Times” — and then ran through classics like “Lost and Found” and the Alchemist-produced “Me and My B—-.”
The Internet Plays for the Last Time in 2016
The Internet, an R&B band consisting of Syd Tha Kid, Matt Martians, Steve Lacy, Patrick Paige II, Christopher Smith and Jameel Bruner, gave Flog Gnaw attendees a fun final performance as they announced a brief hiatus was on the horizon. “This is our last show in a really long time, like three months. So you guys are special,” Syd said. Those familiar with Ego Death got treated to “Get Away,” “Just Sayin/I Tried, “Special Affair” and “Gabby.” They covered OutKast’s “Prototype” again to an overwhelming response from stans of the ATLiens. But the group saved a surprise at the end of their set when they brought out Tyler to perform “Palace/Curse” for the first time. Tyler wanted to jam out with his friends and couldn’t have picked a better moment.
Tyler Previewed his Cherry Bomb Documentary in a Tent Filled With Bean Bags
If you needed a break from the action, Illegal Civilization shared a 10-minute preview of his Cherry Bomb doc, which focuses on how his 2015 album was made with his collaborators. There are a ton of silly moments from Tyler, but it also showcases just how loose and free his creative process is. Cherry Bomb will break down each track, offering commentary from Wayne, Kanye, Pharrell, and more. Cameos in this trailer included Kali Uchis, Jasper Dolphin, and Kendall Jenner.
Action Bronson Brings His Explosive Crispy Chicken to Flog Gnaw
?Bronson first prepared this recipe alongside Rachel Ray on her talk show in October. Located near the Odd Future x Randy’s Donuts booth, this variation is served over fluffy white rice in a large Chinese takeout container and comes with a cookie customized with Bronson-written fortunes. (“The specialty is white snake in underwear sauce,” mine read.) It omits the Szechuan peppercorns and chilies so you can have complete control over your spice level. Hit it with as much Sriracha as you want and enjoy.
A$AP Rocky and the A$AP Mob Perform Cozy Tapes Songs
Even with the absence of their spiritual guide A$AP Yams, it’s rare to witness the entire A$AP Mob perform on one stage these days. After back-to-back sets from Ferg and Lil Uzi Vert (who were both debuting at Flog Gnaw today) on the Flog Stage, A$AP Rocky took over the Camp Stage with a giant-sized arcade set-up with joysticks that projected old school 16-bit video games. (Think NBA Jam era.) Rocky, dressed in a yellow VLONE jumpsuit, weaved in songs from his solo catalogue (“Multiply,” “Goldie,” “Angels” and “Wild for the Night” were crowd pleasers) and was supported by highly enthused A$AP members when they got into Cozy Tapes material. Nast, Twelvyy, and Ant shined on their contributions to “Yamborghini High” and “Young N—- Living.” When Rocky asked the crowd to choose between “Crazy Brazy,” “London Town,” or “Telephone Calls,” the shouts were so muddled together that it was almost impossible to choose. Thankfully, Ferg chose “Crazy Brazy” for us. Good choice.
Tyler, the Creator Brings Out YG for “FDT”
As the host of Flog Gnaw, day one fans knew exactly the scope of songs Tyler would be performing. He, along with buddies Jasper and Taco, often changed moods — one minute you’re raging to “Troncat” and “Yonkers” and the next you’re mellowing out to “IFHY” and “Answer.” It helped that fire and pyrotechnics on stage hyped up the crowd to mosh extra hard. And since Tyler had all his friends with him, he made some incredible things happen, like performing “Telephone Calls” with the entire A$AP Mob, Playboi Carti, and Yung Gleesh.
Near the end of his set, the 25-year-old rapper reflected on the growth of Flog Gnaw, speaking directly to the “young black kids” in the audience. “I don’t want y’all to listen to nobody when they tell you you can’t do s—,” he says. “And if you got something you really want to accomplish; I want you to do that s—. I mean it. I’m not saying this to be corny. I still got ni—s hating on me ’til this day, and look how this s— turned out. Look where y’all at right now. This was an idea in a notebook five years ago. Aight? I love all you guys even if I don’t know you.”
Though Tyler said he wasn’t here to be political, he ended with his special guest YG who performed “FDT.” After last week’s election results of Donald Trump winning the presidency, YG is making his message loud and clear.
Lil Wayne Tears Down Cash Money Again, Brings Out Chris Brown
In the midst of Lil Wayne’s dismissal of the Black Lives Matter movement, he chose to keep his performance strictly business and about his music, taking every opportunity to thank Tyler, the Creator for involving him to Flog Gnaw. “[Golf Wang] bringing real rap to this s—,” he says. “Spitting real bars. These ni—s want to make hype songs and lit songs and want y’all to do this to the song. These ni—s still spittin’.”
His set list was a mix of earlier songs from Tha Carter series (“Go DJ,” “Hustler Musik,” “Lollipop,” “A Milli”), mixtape loosies from his career peak (“Rollin,” “Sky Is the Limit”) and recent features (“No Problem” sans Chance the Rapper because he lost his voice from performing earlier, “Pop That,” “Bandz a Make Her Dance”). He had two guests: Mack Maine who performed his verse for “Every Girl,” and Chris Brown for “Loyal.” CB also stuck around as a hypeman during “No Worries.”
In songs like “Rollin’” (“YM no CMB boy”) and “I’m Me” (“I’ma motherf—in’ Roc-A-Fella millionaire”), Weezy switched up the lyrics to show his detachment from Cash Money. But the biggest middle finger to date was Weezy telling his label to “suck his d—.” It’s a statement that Wayne will be trashing Cash Money until he’s officially free and Tha Carter V is out to the masses.