Recap: The 2016 Trillectro Festival Created A 'No Flex Zone' For Audiophiles
2016 Trillectro Festival photography shot by Vickey Ford (SneakShot) for Okayplayer.
On August 27, the grassy knolls of suburban Maryland were turned into a microcosm of hippie inspired “peace, love and celebration,” as the spirit of trap music caught on like the Holy Ghost. Another year has brought Trillectro back to the masses as what started as a festival centered around trill — also known as hip-hop and electro — has become a utopian paradise where all cultures convene to celebrate these two genres. Concertgoers in attendance shared their own fashion statements to others, showcasing an amalgamation of classic hip-hop tees, denim shorts, comfortable rompers that elders would gawk at and they all brought out their best sock and kicks game.
To the naked eye, the scene may have reminded one of a younger version of Woodstock — complete with vivid festival attire, bootie shorts and hipster chic. But as hype Generation X, Y and Millennials could be, I could feel the fahrenheit beginning to rise. This year’s Trillectro Festival featured Ari Lennox, o70 Shake and Larry June sharing themselves as the opening acts. They were a great warm up to say the least. DJ QuickSilva took over post performance from these deeply talented artists and made sure to create a healthy build-up. YesJulz, serving as the night’s sexy host, took the stage and it was then that everyone knew it was time to turn the pluck up! Her 20 minute set featured her gyrating on stage, jamming out with concertgoers in the pavilion and yelling verbal chants meant to drive the crowd from zero to 60.
Later on in the evening, Cousin Stizz got people out of their seats and showed why he has such a growing fanbase in the DMV. Following his captivating performance was Soulection‘s Esta, who gave us soulful grooves that made the entire pavilion move. Even yard ticket holders were hopping the fence and running down to the stage to witness Esta’s set. Having the Soulection veteran playing in the mix was the perfect opener for Lil’ Uzi Vert, who really ignited the flames that marked that there was to be no more chill for the day. Song by song, fans sang, creating their own tribal dances, meeting old friends and making new friends. In a short while, we had all entered into the “trap”. Lil’ Uzi Vert’s charisma and highly energized stage performance ignited an undeniable electric charge through the air which had folks jumping, dancing, kissing and celebrating all things “trill”.
GoldLink took the stage next, drawing the crowd into his world through live musicianship, crooning and cocooning them with rare grooves that inject trap sounds and cadences. Alongside him were Maségo and Shy Glizzy who all took us on a musicgasm journey that reflected the true spirit of trap. As the homies showed out, GoldLink performed his hit, “Awwsome,” which blessed the stage and all those who were around to witness. From that point on, there was no turning back from where we once came. Even though Rae Sremmurd was not a headlining act, concertgoers were highly anticipating them throughout the day. The duo of Swae Lee and Slim Jimmy did not disappoint as they smashed pineapples on stage and gripped a bottle of that “brown,” better known as Hennessy. While performing new tracks from SremmLife II, Rae Sremmurd were on the big screen depicted as cartoons and video games in video shorts.
It was a truly trill moment for sure.
They would move through the crowds, sharing their political views and urged for the freeing of their comrades who are currently “away on staycation.” They ended their night with a healthy “Eff Donald Trump, don’t vote for him,” and there we had it… the pure, uncut dopeness of the SremmLife II experience was received and appreciated. As nightfall officially cloaked the venue, murmurs erupted during a significant wait, which was due to set changes, as the man everyone was here for arrived to torch the stage ablaze. Kid Cudi emerged from behind a dark elaborate set of trees, a virtual waterfall and violet and blue lights, he created a perfect image that looked straight up out of a trill flower child’s dream. Donned in his classic white tank top and “dad” jeans, Cudder stomped, danced, poised for pictures, signed autographs and was in a very personable mood.
The Cleveland native was later joined by his fellow 216 compatriot, Chip the Ripper, for a few songs, but the absolute zenith highlight came when Kid Cudi dropped his new single, “MAGIC,” which was produced by Pharrell Williams. As the drums kicked in, Cudi and his crew celebrated the song’s reveal, passed out cups of Jameson to the crowd — all the while Cudi was dancing around the stage like a proud father showing off his latest offspring. Through it all, this moment, along with others, proved why he is King Kid Cudi. In reciprocity, the crowd swayed, hugged and, of course, dance and stomped in unison with Kid Cudi. With thousands of adoring and faithful fans championing Kid Cudi, his newly attained sober life, they sang his lyrics verbatim.
He showed us in that time that he is a long term phenomenal artist who is here to stay and take over the world. If you have never had a Trillectro experience then be sure to gear up, grab your crew, charge your phone and stay tuned for next year’s festival. It will be a musical journey in the evolution of hip-hop that you won’t soon forget.
Alexis Camoille is a D.C. based freelance writer who you can find out more about (and us!) on Twitter @JadoreMadav.