Soundset 2019 at last! When we arrived to Soundset at 9AM, the lines were so long, but the sun was shining which made for perfect weather for the largest music festival held at the Minnesota State Fair Grounds in St. Paul, MN. The traffic directors in the parking lot hassled us because we had to get our tickets from will call and they wouldn't let us through without wristbands. But we eventually worked it out and was then greeted by Alexandria and JoJo from Juggernaut. They were very professional and thorough. The security was also very thorough. They checked our bags, scanned our tickets; gave us sparkling water; and gave us the Soundset directory for the show and gave us the “Enjoy Soundset!” as we continued in.
I could smell the spray paint, food and farm life. I really wanted to take in and experience the festival not only as a photographer and writer, but also as a spectator. Therefore, my mission was to experience the full diverse feeling of Soundset.
I saw every walk of life, so already knew it was off to a good start. The food variety was ok. I noticed Caribbean, American, and Vegetarian food trucks. There could have been a larger variety of food trucks though since the festival was an all-day event titled largest one day Hip Hop festival.
I was with my friend and reviewer, Brenda Gray, who’s no newbie to the music scene. I was interested in her thoughts of how things work as a music junky. I’ve been to plenty of concerts and have even attended Soundset in the past, but now having the opportunity to write about my experiences, of what I smelled, how I felt, and what I saw was going to be memorable moments for me.
Once we checked into the media tent behind the VIP section, it was a relief. The sun was beaming so I knew it was going to be a hot day. The tent was a perfect place to cool down with the large fans, water bar, and snacks for our comfort and enjoyment. After we cooled down a little, we left the media tent.
Our first stop was the graffiti area. The artists were so dope! I was so proud to see so many Women Artists sharing their artistic minds with Soundset. I was even more proud to see Native American artists from South Dakota. Their work was amazing!
We made our way over to the Car show that my friends Rico Tek and Big Wiz were hosting. They introduced us to many car owners. I ran into a few people I knew like the amazing Yolanda Ortiz, a beautiful Hispanic spectator and J Plaza an amazing musician artist. The cars were dope. I would have liked personally to see more muscle, but the fumes, bass and sparkles were all on point. I love the smell of a good ol American muscle car.
When we left the Car show, we stopped by the Skateboard Park and watched the skaters try to jump and land for us. One of the skaters wouldn't let us leave until he landed a nice jump for us. It didn't take long. After the 3rd jump he finally landed a perfect jump. I ran into my friend, Jernelle, DJBlackPhyr at the skate stage, who's also a musician and talented artist. She was with a friend, Concreterose, who was going to perform at the Go 95.3 stage.
The time was close for me to start what I came for and that was to Photograph some of my favorite artists. We headed back to the VIP area. I started to set up and get my gear in order so that I could get some spectacular shots of those who performed. We had interviews with DJ Spinderella, Blimes and Gab, Taylor Bennett, and a few other artists. I asked all of them what was their take on the diversity of Soundset? They were all impressed with the diverse lineup of performers for the event.
There were many performers throughout the night at different stages but every stage had a crowd of it’s own and style of it’s own had its own diverse vibe to it, it was definitely a night of entertainment.
We asked DJ Spinderella how she endured over the years as being one of the few female DJ’s. Spinderella said she has been in the business for 35 years. She said that she has a strong support system and family support. She also said that she is very proud of the young female DJ’s whom she’s inspired over the years to become DJ’s. She said that she is very grateful for her career and hopes to continue to inspire more artists.
Blimes and Gab shared that they were connected by social media through Facebook wherein they began their current collaboration as a duo. They also laughingly admitted that they didn't recall who did the initial friend request. They both brought a different style of music and together became B.A.G.S Both are beautiful women. Blimes is proudly from the LGBTQ Community. She’s a battle rapper from San Francisco. Blimes comes from a musical background wherein her father is a blues musician and her grandfather is a jazz musician. She’s been around the hip hop music culture scene from the day she was born. Gabs is Ethiopian and Scottish from Seattle. Gabs grew up in a church. She played the piano and she sung in the choir. She said that she used to freestyle as early as elementary school; banging on the lockers as she went down the school hallways. Both Blimes and Gab currently reside in sunny California.
Taylor Bennett, a young African American artist, is a very focused and positive young man that has a strong desire to be a positive role model and inspire other young people to follow their dreams . He’s determined to work hard spreading his artistic talent as a performer and wants to be respected as a professional artist in the industry.
The headliner was Lil Wayne, most people didn’t think he would show because of his several 'no shows' in Minnesota over the last few years but this time he really showed up. I was luckily able to go up front stage and photograph, he wrapped the night up with an amazing show!
All performers were very humble and had great attitudes. They encouraged each other and made an effort to watch each other perform. They were gracious to the media and photographers and were open and willing to do interviews.
I really have to hand it to Alexandria, JoJo and Riley from Juggernaut, Soundset Publicity from Rhymesayers Entertainment for setting up these interviews and allowing us time with the artist. These 3 were amazing from the jump. They hustled, gave us rides, made sure we were hydrated and had energy, they were all available in person to assist us in any concerns or questions we had.
Concert Photos By: Greene Photography