Coachella — that bloated conglomerate of a music festival — has managed to keep up with the times. It is maximalist, exhibitionist and segregated, keeping artist badge wearers and the artists themselves behind a slime screen and away from the public. It’s a delicate balance. The consumers are there to devour the next 72 hours and the artists and their hordes mean to survive it. Then there are the mitochondria of the weekends: the publicists, agents, managers, and assistants there to make sure so-and-so shuffles from some tent to a quiet spot slightly off the grounds for interviews with Pitchfork or someone’s DJ blog. If all goes well some intrepid intern may make their name on festival duty.
The lifeblood of the thing, though, is the 20-somethings. What new measure of Americana will they fill the grounds with; what new group might they insult? What symbol of the times will they blanket themselves in? In this way Coachella is more than just a festival, it is a litmus test of the shape of things to come. A magic 8 ball where what floats to the top is the temperature of the zeitgeist.
More than that big stuff, though, Coachella is about the joy of discovering what tastes delight you with a gang of your friends. And despite banner years from a slew of ethereal acts, a few up-and-comers didn’t make the Coachella lineup for one reason or another. These artists are the shape of music, then, of a million future IG photos, of Coachella’s to come. Here’s 5 for you to nibble on that we hope will hit the grounds in the future.
CupcakKe is in the hospital, now, after posting she was about to commit suicide on Twitter and Instagram. Her 2018 effort Ephorize had us thinking she was Lil Kim’s rightful heir with her raucous antics on wax lending her a massively well-deserved following. So she’s unabashed in the way she presents her sexual desires. This despite the negativity of the language that surrounds black women’s bodies. That she feels this way, now, so close as she is to stardom, is soul-crushing. What she’s going through must seem deafening. Yet there is a big Coachella stage awaiting her should she decide to hang out with us just a bit longer.
You’ve never heard a catchier song in which a rapper is disastrously offbeat as 2018’s “Thotiana”. It was all over the place, silly, and needlessly cruel, soaking us in what it’s like to be an utterly narcissistic teen again. Blueface is Snoop if the drugs were different and the spirit of the Bay, herself, lending an offbeat style to a rap scene that’s got its fair share.
Look, DiCaprio 2 featured this East-Atlanta rapper flirting with a whimsy that’s set to become his signature. His ability to rap has never been up for question, but this record took his flow to a different level. Each song sees him gain more and more confidence until he nearly out-raps J. Cole on “Off Deez”. Imagine the young emcee and his slew of voices and characters jumping on a stage in the Indio, CA desert?
Jean Grae & Quelle Chris
The now married neo duo is a powerhouse. Last year’s Everything’s Fine crafted their hilarious punch lines and charisma into an album that plays like a satirical rap sitcom. That would fit them perfectly, actually, considering their talents are consistently slept on. But beyond the laughs, this album articulated a giant worry of 2018: will we make it out of this farcical reality? The album didn’t answer that question, but at least it distracted us long enough to buy property in the desert. Speaking of, they’d really kill a stage at Coachella.
I know, doing Coachella’s totally not Actress’s style. He’s a legend already, right? He’s already taken British electronic music to an entirely different dimension. But those reasons are why he’d be so rad at Coachella. The big, bold music festival would have to quiet down just a little for him. Yeah, he’d need close to top billing to make the trip. But wouldn’t it be wonderful to be glittering out in the desert with him, your entire life stretching out before you?
We know he quit this year, but the egg-head rapper is some of the best parts of divergent hip-hop. If and when he comes back, Coachella should be honored to have him and his multifarious rhyme schemes and dense references to works of art everywhere