As September inches closer by the day, the city of Raleigh starts to prepare itself for that one magical weekend of the month known as Hopscotch Music Festival. This weekend, happening Sept. 7-10, takes over downtown Raleigh as music fans from just about everywhere descend upon the city’s many venues, some even makeshift just for the festival. We here at WKNC look forward to the festival every single year and would like to share with you some of our most anticipated acts for this year in our special Hopscotch kickoff!
When the good people at Hopscotch casually incorporated ILOVEMAKONNEN into this year’s lineup, I think I literally screamed. I fell in love with Makonnen a few years back after I got my wisdom teeth taken out during winter break – I spent the entire week investigating his discography and making my friends listen to his extremely underrated song “In The Bity” while they drove me to the mall to buy Christmas presents. Pain killers (prescribed!!) were definitely involved but it was my wisdom teeth so whatever.
Makonnen gained major popularity in 2014 with his song “Tuesday” featuring Drake and his song “I Don’t Sell Molly No More,” both on debut self-titled album. He remained in the spotlight the following year with a feature on the summer track “I Like Tuh” with Carnage. These are just some of Makonnen’s popular hits, and while they are sick songs, they have nothing on his wildly unique and extensive mixtape discography. From Drink More Water (1-6) to 3 Suns, he blends genre lines between rap, pop, r&b, and more. What I love most about Makonnen’s deep cuts are the bold instrument experimentation – his material goes from tracks with heavy bass beats to songs with only vocals and (really loud) melodic keyboard. Even though the production quality is noticeably average, it is in a way that makes his music accessible and charming.
If you haven’t gotten into ILOVEMAKONNEN outside of his super popular radio singles, I clearly recommend starting with the mixtapes and working your way through. I not only suggest listening to the songs mentioned earlier, but also give “Piano Class,” “Swerve,” and basically all of Drink More Water 2 a listen. In the first listen, these songs sound pretty weird – but trust me, it’ll be all you want to listen to.
iLoveMakonnen will take the City Plaza stage Saturday night at 6:30 opening for fellow Atlanta MC Big Boi.
– Emily Ehling, General Manager Emeritus
Japanese Breakfast delivers me to a time of not stressing about classes, rather a sentimental montage of summer nights spent with good pals. I’m most excited to see Japanese Breakfast this Hopscotching season because of the liminal feelings she produces through her newest album, Soft Sounds from Another Planet. This album is exactly what I’d want to hear if music was coming from outside of this world. Pop meets melancholy in this synth driven album that is sweet to the ears. Currently my favorite tune off her new album is “Road Head” which pairs well with the creepy crawly visuals shown in the music video. Michelle Zauner, aka Japanese Breakfast, spoke how the song was about someone not believing in her music career and goals, and her attempt at a last ditch effort to keep things alive in a doomed relationship. Not many songs can make you smile at the same time you question your own sadness like this one can. Keep listening to WKNC 88.1 for more Hopscotch coverage and insight.
Japanese Breakfast will be performing at Neptunes Saturday night at 12:30 a.m.
– Katelyn Auger, Promotions Director
Ooowee! Rapsody is back in Raleigh, for Hopscotch. It’s been a minute since this Wolfpack alumna has been back to Raleigh. We last saw Rap at Packapalooza in 2015, sharing the stage with Nappy Roots, but since then she’s been making waves with major artists and producers. During her time at NC State, Marlanna Evans of Snow Hill, NC began her musical career as a part of Kooley High and was also a founding member of H2O, (The Hip-Hop Organization) at NC State in 2004. Since then she’s broken out into her own career as a successful artist with 3 studio albums and several mixtapes, all featuring both established and up-and-coming artists, as well as being signed to Jay-Z’s renown label Roc Nation in 2016. From her numerous accolades, it quickly becomes apparent that Rap isn’t stagnant. Her flow, lyrics, and use of her voice are all weapons in the arsenal she brings not only to her own music, but to other talented artists such as Ab-Soul on Do What Thou Wilt, former Hopscotch attendee Anderson .Paak’s Malibu, and Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly which gained her a Grammy nomination. This year Rap is back and ready to take over – oooWee!
A few of Rapsody’s highlights include: “OooWee” ft. Anderson Paak., “The Man”, “Hard to Choose”. Make sure you catch Rapsody at 6:30 p.m. opening for Run the Jewels at Red Hat Ampitheatre.
– Ethan-Cole Evans, DJ E.Cole.I
Hey this is DJ Short Strides. One of the bands I am most excited to see at Hopscotch this year is the band Big Thief. If you are a fan of indie rock you will love this band. Big Thief has had quick success in that they came out with their stunning first album Masterpiece in 2016 and gained enough popularity to tour the US, the UK, and Australia. They recently put out a new album in June titled Capacity and its one of my favorite albums of 2017. I typically listen to all of their albums full through on repeat; however, my top five favorite songs (because I couldn’t narrow it down to just three) are “Velvet Ring”, “Shark Smile”, “Parallels”, “Mythological Beauty”, and “Animals”. Big Thief will be playing at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 7 at the City Plaza and you can guarantee I will be there.
– Annelise Thorn, Operations Manager
Preoccupations is a Canadian indie rock band hailing from Calgary, Alberta with other genre associations such as post-punk, art rock, and noise rock. Their style mashes together a lo-fi aesthetic, technical guitar melodies, post-rock elements, and a lackadaisical singing style to create an interesting listening experience.
They are one-half of the now-defunct indie band Women. Ex-Women members Matt Flegel and Mike Wallace joined with Scott Munro and David Christiansen in 2012 to form the originally, controversially named Viet Cong. Under this previous moniker, they self-released a debut Cassette EP (2013, reissued in 2014 on Mexican Summer) and released a self-titled album (2015) on the labels Jagjaguwar and Flemish Eye. They released their sophomore, self-titled full-length later in 2016 as Preoccupations.
I picked one favorite song from each of their three releases.
Favorite Tracks: “Unconscious Melody”, “Silhouettes”, and “Stimulation”.
– Zach Mega, The Captain
Thanks for reading and keep on listening to WKNC for more Hopscotch 2017 coverage!