For ten years, Soundset has brought the hip hop culture to life in an unlikely spot, the frigid home of Minne”snow”ta. The festival took place on May 28th, on Memorial Day weekend, and it now brings in the largest single-day crowd for a hip hop festival. Fans from all walks of life enjoyed music from different eras joined together for an equally diverse lineup. From national legends like T.I. and Lauryn Hill to newcomers like Travi$ Scott and D.R.A.M. the lineup had a wide variety of sounds. While there was a diversity in seniority, there was also a band of local talent that shined bright. Artists like Nazeem and Spencer Joles, DJ Tiiiiip and mainstage artists like Brother Ali, ModSun, and Atmosphere all gave the fans something to look forward to; however, one act in particular stood out. Justin Plaza, J. Plaza, a local transplant from Georgia would be the first act of the day for me.
Beginning his set solo, with hits like “Kno So” that pays homage not only to local artist Allan Kingdom's “Blast” but also is a Minnesota anthem in its own right claiming “Minnesota so cold, you gon need a coat hoe.” Plaza brought out another local artist, Cashinova, for their club banger before introducing the crowd to the newest members of Rostrum Records FREEWIFI, which consists of himself, Tha Rift and Daddy Dinero. While this group's formation is relatively new, they have worked together and have formed a brilliant chemistry. Their stage presence felt natural as they commanded the attention of thousands of onlookers. They finished off their set with their first single “Ego” which was fitting as the SoundSet stage is an easy place to let your ego loose.
Soundset has served as a place for the younger generation to experience where hip hop came from, while letting the older generations get a glimpse of what is to come. If J Plaza and FREEWIFI is to represent the future of local Minnesota hip hop, I think the entire state is in good hands.
Photos by @BoardinOgilvie