I'd never been to Soundset. Hell, I'd never been to Minnesota. No, I take that back, I went once when I was a kid visiting my aunt and, if memory serves correct, I bought a C+C Music Factory album on tape at the Sam Goody in Mall of America. It was lit.
So there I was, back in Minneapolis two decades later, pulling into Soundset and walking past the seemingly infinite line of kids waiting to get in because that 8-year-old who bought C+C Music Factory tapes has become a Very Important member of the Press who's able to obtain Very Important Press Passes that allows him to not have to wait in the Dreaded Lines. It was raining, sometimes drizzling, sometimes pouring, and the wetter it got the more my respect for the fans grew. People in L.A. wouldn't have even left the house if there was a cloud in the sky, but there was a real energy at Soundset, a love for music that meant that if the price you had to pay to see your favorite artist was wet socks, that wasn't a price to pay at all. Despite all the hand-wringing about millenials' supposed sense of entitlement, Soundset's millenial-heavy crowd was decidely music-over-everything.
The next few hours were a blur. I ran around the grounds talking to every artist I could shove a mic in front of, including Ice Cube, Yelawolf, Freddie Gibbs, Logic, Hopsin, Fashawn, Aesop Rock and Watsky (whose giving away lots of music right now), pausing only long enough to cram a slice of pizza down by throat or linger by a stage to catch a piece of a show: Vince Staples' set was extraordinary, Brother Ali absolutely crushed, the Flatbush Zombies got the crowd losing their minds, J. Cole proved that he really is a festival-headlining level artist in 2015. It was very good times.
Over the next few weeks we'll be dropping video of those interviews, along with video of some of the tom-foolery I engaged in with the fine folks at Soundset. Consider this both your official warning that there's some awesome video on the way (did I mention I talked to Ice Cube in real life?) as well as a promise that I'm going to be at Soundset again next year. See you there.
* Photo credits Erikson Corniel
[Nathan S. is the managing editor of The DJBooth and a hip-hop writer. He also occasionally talks on podcasts/radio/TV. His beard is awesome. This is his Twitter.]