Spotlight On Outside Lands: Hip-Hop, Funk and R&B

The Spotlight

Muse, Phish, and Arcade Fire may be headliners at this year’s Outside Lands Festival, taking place this weekend in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, but the festival’s not just about rock. Today we take a look at some of the hip-hop and R&B artists playing the annual three-day event.

Outside Lands starts things off on Friday with a bang: both Big Boi and Erykah Badu have sets that day.

Half of OutKast and one of the pre-eminent MCs in the USA, Big Boi has one of the best lyrical flows in the game. His debut solo album Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty was at or near the top of many critics’ Album of Year lists.  Add that to his awesome half-solo album The Love Below and also his huge amount of OutKast material, and you’re talking about a serious canon. While many rappers (and artists in general) seem to lose their creative spark as the years go on, Big Boi is a rare talent that just seems to keep growing.

Speaking of artists who keep growing, Erykah Badu has, over the past 15 years, become one of the top female voices in R&B. Never caving to others’ expectations, she has a strong belief in her own vision, and she has pursued it throughout her career. Albums like Baduizm, Mama’s Gun and New Amerykah Pt. 1  merged her tastes in R&B, soul, jazz and hip-hop into a style that is wholly her own. On top of that, she has got tons of soul and an amazing voice.

Also performing this weekend is K. Flay, a young up and coming female MC. An exciting new voice in hip-hop, K. Flay is a jack of all trades on stage: building beats, rapping, singing and playing the guitar. She has appeared onstage with artists like Snoop Dogg, Ludacris, and 3OH!3. And while most of audience at those shows might not have heard of K. Flay, her wit, charisma and musical ability quickly won them over.

Want to dig deeper into an old-school sound? Then check out The Original Meters on Friday afternoon, a funky, soulful group that’s one of the finest ever to emerge from New Orleans. Like the name says, this group is the real deal, featuring original members Art Neville, George Porter, Jr., Leo Nocentelli, and Zigaboo Modeliste. They don’t play together too often anymore, so consider this a real treat.

And finally, on Sunday, you can immerse yourself in the soulful, gospel-influenced sound of legendary vocalist and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Mavis Staples.

All week, MP3.com shines a Spotlight on Outside Lands. The music, food, wine, and arts festival takes place August 12th – 14th at the Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, CA.

Buy your tickets here before they sell out…single day tickets for Friday and Saturday are gone, and 3-day tickets are disappearing fast!

For further coverage of Outside Lands 2011, including interviews, live footage, photos, and more, stay tuned to our friends at Live 105 in San Francisco.

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