Listen Out: A Symbol of the rap revolution

Listen Out: A Symbol of the rap revolution
Listen out is a landmark festival on the Australian calendar. It unofficially kicks off the summer festival season, and consistently has a lineup of significant novelty. This year, listen out tapped into the largest growing genre in the world, hip-hop. With an array of rap artists across the spectrum of the genre, the listen out ATARI stage set out a map of the current rap landscape, giving Australians a clear viewing of the “rap revolution” which has dominated pop culture throughout 2017-18. The main symbols of the evolving genre included:

The Chicago Poet: Noname
Noname entered the listen out arena representing the current blooming Chicago rap scene. Off the back of Chance the Rapper, Chicago artists such as Noname, Saba and Mick Jenkins have capitalised off jazz beats, and catchy poetic lyrics. Noname was far from short in delivering that vibe on the listen out stage. Her band sounded fantastic, with the groovy live instrumentation, a lovely juxtaposition to the other acts playing on the same stage. She performed with an infectious smile, and an open energy, which was fantastic to see from a usually reserved and quiet Noname. Her album Room 25 transitioned to the live stage perfectly, but classic songs on Telefone were the ones that got the crowd going.

The Progressive Boyband: Brockhampton
Never have I seen a mosh pit so packed towards the front to witness an artist at a festival. Brockhampton have come to Australia off the back of significant momentum. Their Saturation series released in 2017 received widespread critical, and popular acclaim and their latest album Iridescence, hours before entering the stage had gone to Number 1 in America. The set was chaos. With 7 guys running on stage losing their minds, the crowd was a washing machine of bodies with tears, blood and lyrics flying everywhere. BROCKHAMPTON cycled through their hits from the Saturation series, with the crowd going particularly nuts to SWEET of their second instalment in the Saturation trilogy. The majority of the set consisted of their experimental, emotional album Iridescence, with despite being released a week ago, still grabbed the attention of their fans. BROCKHAMPTON had the set of the day, and Australian fans are lucky to have witnessed this boyband, just before they become global superstars.

The International: Skepta
Grime superstar, London’s very own Skepta entered the Listen out stage with an energy not possessed by any other act that day. His vocals were loud, and the crowd was louder, screaming hits in puddles of mosh pits washed across the mainstage crowd. Him and his hype man dominated the stage, with the energy on a new level, one rarely seen at festivals. Konnichiwa classics “Shutdown”, “Man” and “That’s Not Me” were crowd favourites. It was great to see Skepta in the country, and he is a definite must see for any rap fan.

The Superstar: A$AP Rocky
A headliner not to be missed, all Listen Out attendees were in the presence of a global superstar that was A$AP Rocky. Rocky performed an array of songs from his experimental album TESTING as well as all of his classic hits. A$AP Forever provided for an epic moment of bliss with the crowd, its anthemic qualities perfect for a festival mainstage.
Skepta was also welcomed to the stage during hit track “Praise the Lord” making for the moment of the day. Rocky is a true global superstar, and seeing an artist of that calibre on stage at an Australian festival was truly incredible.

Written by: Parry Tritsiniotis