Scott Dudelson/WireImage // Billboard
Save for $7 pizza slices and a concerning amount of exposed under-butt, the fifth annual, two-day Camp Flog Gnaw brought a welcomed amusement park-and-music mashup to Los Angeles’ Exposition Park over the weekend—like, in between the stages of Kamasi Washington and SZA lay, yes, ferris wheels, mini golf, ice cream, and scream-inducing drop towers—for highlights both personal and aplenty. Here's some of what you missed:
Chance taking us to church, per usual.
After chanting—likely to our parents’ disapproving side-eye in the sky—the lyrics to A$AP Ferg’s “Dump Dump” (which eloquently rhymes one “Fucked your bitch” with a subsequent “Sucked my dick”), nothing felt more sacrilegious than traversing the grounds to Chance the Rapper’s set for his trademark guerilla gospel. Aptly-titled openers “Angels” and “Blessings”—backed by Nico Segal (formerly Donnie Trumpet but, ya know, election)—on horns, preceded the playfully aggressive “No Problems,” the two-minute tease that is DANCE JAM “All Night,” D.R.A.M.’s unexpectedly seamless segue from “Special” to “Broccoli,” and Francis & the Lights joining for “Summer Friends.” But the highlight was Chance’s repeated rewind and restart of his most quoted “All We Got” verse: “I get my word from the sermon / I do not talk to the serpent…” At times delivered a cappella, and sometimes from a whisper to a roar, suddenly the singled-out “Music is all we got” felt like a mantra.
A$AP Rocky went rogue.
Oh, you wanted to hear “LSD”? You assumed “Fuckin’ Problems” would at the very least make the set list as it’s his biggest single to-date? You figured you’d get a few verses of “1 Train,” considering both Action Bronson and Joey Bada$$ were in town and on the Camp Flog Gnaw bill, too? Wrong. All wrong. If you came for radio-ready Rocky, you’d have to find joy elsewhere because he was on a Cozy Tapes kick instead—luckily, you wouldn’t have to look far because his stage design had pyrotechnics, thunderous sound effects, and mimicked that of an oversized vintage video game controller, joysticks and all, with the graphics to match; think: Shaq v. Ewing, Sub-Zero v. Kano, and Mario set to the tunes of “Lord Pretty Flacko Jodye 2” and “Lamborghini High.” Ferg joined for a second dose of “New Level” and “Shabba Ranks,” and bombshells of yesteryear were projected on screen for “Hella Hoes.” With little time left, a call went out to the crowd to vote for Mob cuts “Crazy Brazy” or "London Town" but the Skrillex-assisted genre-joining “Wild for the Night” is what encouraged the moshing.
Kaytranada knowing what's best.
Knowing that he need not rely on teases and tricks, Kaytranada forwent the “save the best for last” technique and gave the people what they wanted upfront: namely, his newly percussion-peppered remix to Chance the Rapper’s “All Night,” the cheery transformation of Rihanna’s “Kiss It Better,” the pulsating and uptempo’d rework of Solange’s “Cranes in the Sky,” the clap-ready rendition of AlunaGeorge’s “Kaleidescope Love”–his trademark lush house grooves consistent throughout. He dabbed to the sound of Desiigner’s tongue roll, challenged the standstills in the crowd, enlisted Anderson .Paak for a surprise performance of “Glowed Up,” and old and exuberant footage of Janet Jackson, that could have very well been personal and promotional, played on the screen behind him long before the closer, his thumping version of her classic “If.”
Tokimonsta showing off her range.
Not vocally, of course. But you’d be hard-pressed to find a track she’s too intimidated by to rework. From classic cornerstones like Dr. Dre’s “The Next Episode,” Ol’ Dirty Bastard’s “Shimmy Shimmy Ya,” and Kanye West’s “Stronger” to the singles that solidified promising newcomers like Young M.A’s “OOOUUU” and Tinashe’s “2 On,” Toki fused electronica with her hip-hop sensibilities to result in non-stop footwork from the crowd—a crowd that seemingly never grew tired of her artistic decisions, the evidence being the clockwork shock-and-awe screams that came with each and every one of her drops. Plus, Isaiah Rashad and Joey Purp joined her (for “Menthol” and “Girls @,” respectively) so, yes, you’d also be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn’t fuck with her proven party-starting skills.