2017 held a lot of firsts for me, from my national artist sharing a photo to my first time shooting for major festivals to my first time shooting something outside of music (the X Games) and it was just so fitting that I would end my year with yet another first as I would shoot my first SNOWTA festival and my first time at the Minneapolis Convention Center. This years festival boasted some of the largest names in national and local hip-hop.
Saturday was an EDM heavy day with artists like Beak Nasty and headlining artist Pretty Lights Live, however, it also brought out one of the biggest artists in hip-hop today in Gucci Mane, the East Atlanta Santa. Gucci didn't just bring his classics like Wasted, he also brought out his newlywed wife sporting a stylish jacket and a “Mrs. Davis” chain.
While Gucci was easily a high point for Saturday, choosing the best act of the day Sunday would prove to be much harder. The night began with local favorite and one of my all-time favorite live performers, Prof. His brand of high energy in your face, literally when he jumped into the crowd, the performance brought the crowd to an early peak. Next on the main stage was Post Malone, who was making a pit stop before flying out to perform again in Denver later that evening. While these two were serenading the mainstage, I was moving back and forth between there and the HideAway stage to catch a plethora of local talent.
GainesFM started the local stage off bringing EDM DJ UJU out for his brand of EDM Hip Hop that brought the crowd in. They were followed by FreeWIFI, a group consisting of J Plaza, Tha Rift, and Daddy Dinero. Their adrenaline injection from this trio had everyone in the room feeling connected. Playing hits like Ghost and Ego as well as unleashing some brand new music, FreeWIFI proved once again why they have been climbing ever since they formed earlier this year. Immediately following their set was another up and coming duo with hip-hop in their blood. Nazeem Jalees, the son of Minnesota legend Muja Messiah, and Spencer Joles teamed up to create one of my favorite local groups. Playing hits like Intro, Holy Goat, and their new single Holiday, they had the crowd going from vibing to smooth tracks to fist pumping to their aggressive anthem “The Jug” that proclaims “...this for the hood...”
The final local act I would take in for the evening takes me back to the beginning of my time in Minnesota. The first artists to take an interest in Upcoming Hip Hop and stretch out an olive branch was Dwynell Roland and Devon Reason of the Rotation. Dwynell Roland has seen an incredible rise in the past year and played every major show in the cities along the way. He proves time and time again why his live show is something worth seeing and he had a mini-reunion with the rest of the Rotation (Devon Reason, Finding Novyon, and DJ Travis Gorman) on stage and his set turned into a party.
2017 mean a lot of things to a lot of people. For me, it was a year of heavy ups and down, but it ended on a positive note, sharing it with all those that I had met in the music community. From photographers to artists to fans, my New Years was one to remember.