T in the Park 2013: A guide to the best hip hop
A preview of what to expect in the Hip-Hop genre at T in the Park 2013
Ever since Noel Gallagher got his arse handed to him by Jay-Z, following the rapper’s triumphant headline set at Glastonbury in 2008 - a booking the unreconstructed Oasis rocker had labelled as ‘wrong’ -- hip-hop’s centrality to Britain’s biggest music festivals has become as good as a given, and the line-up for T20 confirms it. From top to bottom there are top-pedigree MCs fit to prove that whatever guitar-toting types can do, guys and girls on the mic can do better - from a schizoid ex-LA gang member and cuss-word loving Harlemite to the various members of a mob of taboo-flouting young tykes currently tearing rap culture a new ‘un.
If you run into Snoop Dogg around Balado, try and avoid a potentially awkward situation by simply addressing him on first name terms, for the herb-loving hustla recently went through a conversion to Rastafarianism - as documented in the bong-alicious movie Reincarnated - which included changing his moniker to, um, Snoop Lion. It was presumably just a temporary thing - and we can surely expect all the hits from ‘Gin and Juice’ to ‘Drop It Like It’s Hot’ between stuff off his recent Diplo-produced reggae album. But let’s stick to simply calling him Snoop for now to be sure, because the former crack-dealing, murder-rap beating Crip and sometimes ‘Doggystyle’ pornographer is nothing if not a sensitive soul.
And we can confidently leave the offending people to Azealia Banks. Despite still not having delivered an album yet, two years since she arrived on the scene the most hotly-tipped thing since 50 Cent’s tattoo needle, the New Yorker continues to hog the limelight simply by virtue of abusing people on Twitter, from Lil’ Kim to Nicki Minaj, Perez Hilton and The Stone Roses. Which annoyingly tends to earn her more attention than the fierce flow which has lit-up what few electro-banging cuts we’ve heard to date, ‘212’ and ‘Yung Rapunxel’ included. Banks could take a leaf out of Kendrick Lamar’s book when it comes to work ethic - the idiosyncratic Compton MC has released a string of high-performing singles and two albums since 2011, the second of which the intoxicating good kid, m.A.A.d city was one of last year’s very best hip-hop sets. Proving that the Brits can confidently mix it with their American cousins, Dizzee Rascal will fly the flag, getting Balado bouncing en masse with his hyperactive grimy hip-pop thing, debuting tracks from imminent new LP The Fifth.
Finally, coming team-handed to T are several representatives of LA’s amorphous alternative hip-hop crew OFWGKTA, who, while not due to perform as a collective (guest-appearances notwithstanding) will each appear in their more rewarding solo guises. De-facto ringleader Tyler, The Creator brings his third solo set Wolf, which gladly sees him cool on his more nauseating lyrical tendencies in favour of a more cartoonish brand of bile. The enigmatic Earl Sweatshirt, the crew’s most-gifted rhymer, returns from exile (enforced by his Mum) at a therapeutic school for wayward boys in Samoa to preview highly-anticipated new album Doris. Lastly but not leastly, performing tracks from his Grammy-winning future-soul masterpiece Channel Orange, don’t miss Frank Ocean, who climbed higher still in everyone’s estimations earlier this year by getting into a scrap with Chris Brown.
Call this lot ‘wrong’ at your own risk, Noel.