Common, Stones Throw Royalty Highlight 20th Anniversary Superfest
Written by Emily Berkey
Stones Throw has found quite a few ways to celebrate their 20th anniversary all year with an event at SXSW, multiple tours, and a mixtape of rare and unreleased music. For the anniversary’s grand finale, the renowned indie label partnered with Red Bull Sound Select for Stones Throw Superfest, an all-age festival in Los Angeles.
Hundreds of people flooded Los Angeles’ Sycamore Grove Park, which is just a stone’s throw away from the label’s founding location. Early in the day, the music vibrated the blankets strewn across the ground as children climbed the trees. Food trucks lined the streets and crate diggers thumbed through the vinyl collections at the merch booths. Stones Throw offered limited edition t-shirts that were being live screen-printed, and limited runs of vinyl were sold.
Iman Omari, an LA based producer, was the first to hit the Stones Throw Superfest stage, followed by an entrancing set by Sudan Archives, Mild High Club, and other Stones Throw signees. Producer MNDSGN captured the audience, Homeboy Sandman got them up and active, and Dam-Funk brought them closer to the stage with his dance-worthy tracks and entertaining showmanship. As the golden hour blanketed the hundreds of people in the park, Dam-Funk flung vinyl from the stage and hopped onto the security fence to autograph fans’ records after his set, sweat dripping from his brow onto the cover art.
J. Rocc and Stones Throw Records founder Peanut Butter Wolf were next on the bill. The duo spun classic tracks from Charizma and Madvillain, and welcomed Planet Asia to the stage mid-set. After spitting a verse, Asia declared his pride for the label. “I was there when Peanut Butter Wolf decided to start Stones Throw,” he recalled. “I was there 20 years ago. It’s independent forever!”
Before Peanut Butter Wolf left the stage to make room for the event’s headliner, Common, he thanked the Superfest attendees, saying, “It’s been a peaceful night. You guys are beautiful, I love all your smiles!”
Not long after the crowd began chanting Common’s name, the Chi-town spitter hit the stage. “After 24 years in this game, I’m still hungry!” he announced, before breaking into his Be classic “The Food.” Karriem Riggins, who had been playing the drums, landed center stage and rapped a verse from Common’s recently-released Black America Again album, which he produced the majority of. After performing a mixture of his newest tracks, classics, feature verses, and even a freestyle, Common closed his set with an homage to hip-hop and everyone who loves it. “Whoever you may be, know that hip hop is you and hip hop is me. God bless.” He briefly left the stage, before returning and performing “The Light” as an encore.
Stones Throw Superfest was a peaceful community event thrown in a public place, open to all ages and types. There were no major incidents and the attendees were simply focused on having a good time. Peanut Butter Wolf and the Stones Throw team created an inclusive space for all types to enjoy themselves and listen to some great music while uniting fans from all walks of life.