This weekend’s Day N Night Festival promises three days of hyper-foaming bass from a trap heavy roster featuring the likes of Lil Pump, Travis Scott, Famous Dex, and several other ruckus-loving rappers. Surpluses of circle pits certify fatigue and unsightly sweat-patches but Day N Night shines a light on another side of contemporary tunes—a smoother side. Adding balance to the grit and grime of the festival is a silo of singers we’ve been addicted to all year. Day N Night’s sparse but mandatory assortment of R&B and Jazz acts breathe soul to three days of Xan-fueled, lean-induced, zombie-like sloshing around Angels Stadium. Here are seven non-Rap acts you can’t miss at this year’s happenings.
Missing SZA would be just one of what is likely to be a weekend full of bad decisions. If any album released this year is meant to be consumed live outside on a Saturday night, it’s her debut CTRL. Willow, waltz, and perhaps weep to the most quote worthy songs of 2017 including “Weekend,” “Love Galore,” and “Broken Clocks”. The possibility of a TDE cameo makes SZA’s set even more of a must-see.
Want to know how your adolescence should’ve sounded? Pull up on the 19-year-old El Paso, Texas rep, Khalid, Friday night to have your ideal youth experience revealed to you in the stanzas from his debut album American Teen. Getting caught smoking by your mom, puppy love, and naive optimism comprise his break-out effort with a voice that scrapes against the simmering sonics of tracks like “8 Teen,” “Young Dumb & Broke,” and the multi-platinum millennial manifesto, “Location”. Khalid is the Fountain of Youth anthropomorphized.
Intoxicate yourself in both the sorrows and triumphs of Canada’s hottest product, Daniel Caesar. His debut album, Freudian, cements the 22-year-old in the newest class of elite R&B acts, as he billows up and down, in and out of octaves, love, and sexual encounters. The soft-spoken song-writer accompanies effortlessly romantic vocals with ’90s-inspired instrumentation. Find someone to sway with his during his set and close-in on oneness with the universe.
Throwing around Erykah Badu comparisons is asinine, sure. And conflating such a foolish evaluation with a likening to the late Amy Winehouse certainly sets up to Ari Lennox to be a unicorn of sorts. But allow the D.C.-based starlet to start your Saturday, and you’ll likely float around the rest of the day on her syrupy, cheeky tracks from last year’s PHO EP.
OVO duo Majid Jordan brew an atmospheric sound that thumps far into the prime meridian, often with arresting beats that feel closely related to the show-stealing Drive soundtrack. With a drum machine (Jordan) and microphone (Majid), the two sync up and rain metallic, signature OVO sonics over crowds. Allow the pair behind Drake’s “Hold On We’re Going Home” to usher in autumn with their brisk compositions.
Honorable mention: Fellow OVO signee Roy Woods —and his MJ interpolations— is likely to shut it down for his Saturday set, as well.
The year is 1931. The place — Harlem’s legendary Cotton Club. A young Masego takes the stage sporting a white coat with a black, nylon lapel. His hair is conked and his pristine saxophone gleams, adding character to the black and white essence of the era. Kanye West comes from back stage with a TR-808. He’s Sego’s only band member. West throws a few bars of 808 bass on a loop to play under Sego’s heady sax. Every head in the building explodes. They call it Trap Jazz. But, foreal, the guy’s bringing a fucking saxophone with him. Go check him out.
Leven Kali is the act you should’ve showed your parents to justify them bankrolling your weekend of debauchery and to prove that your music taste isn’t complete “shit” (their words). Kali wades between waters treaded by the Musiq Soulchild-Avant era and rocks built up by Thundercat and Anderson .Paak. Grab a drink (if you’re old enough) and a two-step (again, if you’re old enough) and allow Leven Kali serve a healthy dose of good vibrations.
I listen to music. I write about it. I like hot sauce on my chicken.