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(Via Pitchfork)

There was a moment when I just sat staring at the scene in Chicago’s Union Park. It was on Sunday, the last day of the 2015 Pitchfork Music Festival. Caribou was playing on the main stage, the smell of marijuana was pungent, and I was enjoying a hot dog. There were people everywhere. Most crowded at the front of the stage for Caribou, some standing idly talking with their friends, and others, like myself, nodding along to the bassline of “Can’t Do Without You.” It was a moment of clarity that I experienced in a festival (my first) marked by a rush of emotional states which played out like a roller coaster through a grueling three day plunge. There was CHVRCHES’ maelstrom of synth, Freddie Gibbs putting Pitchfork on blast for previous line-ups, an actual maelstrom that shutdown the festival for all of 20 minutes, the dirge of listening to Panda Bear and the rowdiness of A$AP Ferg’s energetic dorkiness. Yet, throughout all of it, festival goers noticed a fair amount of community throughout the throngs of festival goers. We weren’t inundated with a slew of corporate sponsors, distractions and a disorienting amount of people. That community created an atmosphere in which we could enjoy the acts, no matter how close or far away we were from each respective stage. It was a community I was glad to be part of for three days.

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It’s impossible not to talk about the direction of rap during the decade without mentioning A$AP Yams. Yams’ ability to connect the chasm between New York and the rest of Hip-Hop America relied on a voracious appetite of regional styles that only the Internet could facilitate. His omnivorous consumption dictated his vision for the A$AP Mob and the genre at large. Thus, Yams’ tragic death early in 2015 left a hole not only in the genre but in the position of spirit guide for the Mob. This void in the A$AP universe can be felt on At.Long.Last.A$AP (RCA), the sophomore effort of the Mob’s most visible star, A$AP Rocky.

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Schoolboy Q sans bucket hat

The line stretched for almost a full city block. Among the throngs of fans waiting to get in to see Schoolboy Q were bucket hats – a lot of bucket hats. It was almost like a show of solidarity. You couldn’t mistake the fact of who these people came to see. Yet after the headliner took the stage, you wouldn’t be faulted if you felt like he wasn’t the main attraction.

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