Coachella is the most famous music festival in the world. And with that title comes great responsibility. Every year it attracts the biggest names to both play and attend and thus every year the lineup gets scrutinized unlike any other festival.
Whether there's not enough rock bands or the headliners don't represent where music is at anymore or having pop stars on the bill means it's sold out, year after year Coachella faces a level of critique usually reserved for female politicians and celebrities.
Of course a fair amount of it is just people enjoying spitting their hot takes out on the internet, but the conversation around Coachella really does seem to distract from the fact that the festival somehow manages to put together incredibly balanced lineups year after year.
A big factor in all this is that people put way too much weight on the headliners. Over the festival's three days almost 200 acts will perform and yet the three in the biggest font size on the poster eat up the vast majority of the headlines and social media attention. This is particularly unfortunate because if there's one thing the Coachella bookers excel at it's the depth of their lineups and the breadth of sounds covered therein.
With this in mind we thought it'd be a good idea to cut through the noise, forget the top three rows of the daily lineup for a minute, and showcase just a few acts from each genre at Coachella 2020.
The series started by highlight five electronic artists, so now it's hip hop's turn.
Coming out of Chicago's grassroots slam poetry scene, Noname is less a rapper and more a spoken word artist. With a hushed and intimate flow she thoughtfully tackles the complex issues of what it means to be black and female in today's world. Some artists bring the energy right to the listener and others make the listener come to them. Noname is firmly in the latter category, requiring some attention to catch the message, but a little investment in listening to what she has to say opens you up to a lyrical world that few others are skilled enough to weave.
Freddie Gibbs & Madlib
Two underground legends in their own right, rapper Freddie Gibbs and producer extraordinaire Madlib have been releasing music together for almost a decade now. With two albums under their belt, including 2019's incredible Bandana, the duo are a high-octane throwback to when all that an MC and a DJ needed to bring the ruckus were two turntables and a microphone.
Speaking of high-octane, the UK's slowthai turns the term into an almost psychotic experience. His politically charged lyrics and uncontrollable performance style bring a punk ethos into the realm of hip hop and take his live shows to a nearly riotous fever pitch. He may look like a bit of a goon on stage, but actually the Northampton rapper is quite sharp, levelling poignant social critiques throughout his music.
There's been a fair amount written about the lack of rappers coming out of New York City these days. Unsurprisingly these articles and hot takes seem to focus mostly on male artists. Princess Nokia has been ripping mics and sending crowds into hysterics since 2014, combining old school lyrical ability with contemporary sounds. Bringing that New York attitude to her music, she's also made a bit of a name for herself for not taking any shit.
Another very talented young British name you need to know, Dave is a soulful multi-talented rapper, singer, musician and producer. Releasing his debut album Psychodrama in March of 2019 to universal acclaim, the 21 year old is having himself quite a year as the album has gone on to win both the Mercury Prize and Brit Award for Album of the Year. He's also responsible for hands down one of best festival moments from last year.
Coachella 2020 takes place April 10-12 & 17-19 in Indio, California. Find more info on our Coachella 2020 guide and book your Coachella 2020 tickets, packages, transport and more here.