The second day of One Musicfest in its new home of Central Park added some rain to the mix of heat and sun - as well as a sprawling crowd that endured it all to hear George Clinton perform perhaps his final show in Atlanta, as well as sets from familiar names including T.I., Big Boi, Monica and festival-closer 2 Chainz.
Here is a look at some of the Sunday performances (and if you missed our recap and photos of the events from Day 1, click here). Also, check out our video below.
The best part of St. Beauty’s set was how much fun the duo appeared to be having on stage. The Wondaland singers performed to a small crowd early in the day, but their energy and stage presence suggested they’ll likely have a later slot and command larger crowds in the future.
Beginning the show with “Borders,” one of their most popular singles, Alex Belle wore a black crop top with matching joggers and white boots while Isis Valentino sported a white crop top with matching pants (complete with slits) and white sneakers. Throughout the set, Valentino kept an electric guitar draped over her shoulder.
Show highlights included the duo doing synchronized choreography to “Caught” and bringing out Atlanta rapper Deonte Hitchcock for “Waves.” Toward the end of their set, the women dedicated “Lucid Dreams” to Mac Miller, Aretha Franklin and others who have recently died.
ATL Crunk Set
One of the most lo-fi sets of the night was also one of the best. While Lil Jon was not in attendance, the ATL Crunk Set featured several of the rappers who were responsible for the hits that poured out of the Atlanta rap scene in the early 2000s.
The set started with Lil Jon and the East Side Boyz’s “Get Crunk” and a call for attendees to shout out what part of Atlanta they’re from. DJ Nabs, the man credited for curating the set, kept the hits flowing from there. Trillville performed “Neva Eva” (creating a mashup with Crunk princess Ciara’s single “Level Up”) and “Some Cut.” The Youngbloodz A-Town stomped to “Damn” and revived the Lean With It, Rock With It dance for “Snap Yo Fingers.”
The Ying Yang Twins ushered a group of twerking women onto the stage for strip club anthems such as “Whistle While You Twerk,” “The Whisper Song” and “Salt Shaker.” And Kilo Ali, wearing a Native American headdress for unknown reasons, had the crowd sing along to the Atlanta favorite “Love In Ya Mouth.” For the latter, a woman used an electric guitar as a prop while dancing to the NSFW tune. One of the highlights of the set was surprise act Pastor Troy who performed “No Mo Play in G.A.” with a UGA helmet prominently displayed on stage.
Halfway through the set, it started to rain hard but that didn’t dampen the crowd’s spirits one bit. The hometown reunion was easily one of the best sets of the festival because it harkened back to an important time in the history of Atlanta music.
George Clinton & Parliament
The P-Funk legacy is so strong, music fans have to look no further than Childish Gambino’s latest Grammy-winning album to see how the Parliament and Funkadelic collectives are still inspiring artists today.
Led by George Clinton, the Parliament set was a great follow up to the ATL Crunk Set. The group even performed a cover of Lil Jon and the East Side Boyz’s “Get Low” during their set.
The funk set was certainly a sight to behold visually, with Clinton wearing all white and simulating sex acts with the microphone stand, and a group of singers wearing fishnet bodysuits while performing songs such as “We Want the Funk,” “Flashlight” and “(Not Just) Knee Deep.” The set featured a mixture of songs from Parliament, Funkadelic, as well as Clinton’s solo work.
A standout moment from the set was, unsurprisingly, the performance of “Atomic Dog.” I instinctively looked around for the Ques, aka members of the Omega Psi Phi fraternity, when the song began. Anyone who attended a HBCU or grew up in an African-American household recognizes the song as the fraternity’s anthem and, sure enough, the stage was full of men in purple doing the “Que Hop.” For a few moments, Central Park, felt like a family barbecue.
There was nothing cocky or boastful about the set played by August Greene, the collective comprised of Common, Robert Glasper and Karriem Riggins, but it was one of the sets that stood out amongst the lineup.
“We’re here together to celebrate black excellence,” Common said during the show, shouting out gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, who was in attendance at the festival.
From the collective’s “Black Kennedy” to Common’s hits such as “Go,” and “I Used to Love H.E.R.,” this set was, in many ways, a refreshing complement to the more hype sets on the lineup.
At one point, Common ushered a woman onto the stage and created a freestyle about her and the festival, incorporating a shoutout to southwest Atlanta. The woman seemed more than happy to oblige the singer in wiping the sweat from his forehead with a towel during her time on stage.
On a hot day when it was raining and many attendees were dehydrated and sweating from the glaring sun, this set was a welcome change of pace.
She was a late addition to the festival lineup (replacing Brandy), but the One Musicfest crowd warmly welcomed the Atlanta-bred singer, whose voice sounded robust throughout Monica’s 35-minute set, which started half an hour late.
From the uplifting “Still Standing” to “Before You Walk Out of My Life,” the type of silky mid-tempo jam that she specializes in, Monica engaged easily with the crowd. Her hair is a cool platinum-gray, and, coupled with her black and white trenchcoat (speckled with skulls) and designer shades, Monica cut a fierce figure.
She dedicated a lump-in-throat, pared-down version of her mega 1997 ballad, “For You I Will,” to the late Shawty Lo and, along with her three backup singers and three-piece band, dug into the sumptuous groove of “Why I Love You So Much.”
At the end of her set – which featured many shoutouts to an Atlanta audience that has supported her for decades – Monica brought out her daughter and, with her, sang a sweet chorus of “We love you, Atlanta,” to the tune of “Happy Birthday.”
Also showing his gratitude toward his hometown was the multi-hyphenate also known as Clifford Harris Jr. Bursting onstage in a blur of a yellow Adidas windbreaker and jeans, T.I. stretched his face and flailed his body parts as he rumbled through “Rubberband Man” and “U Don’t Know Me.”
He led the hyped crowd through singalongs of “Why You Wanna,” while his cocked eyebrows and sourpuss expressions added much amusement to “No Mediocre.” Turning on his flirt, T.I. leaned into the crowd and said, “I see the demanding look of expectations of the ladies out there,” by way of introducing his 2008 loping pop breakthrough, “Whatever You Like.”
The crowd was already fully locked into his groove before the meaty “Bring ‘Em Out” escalated the energy and the mass of people chanted the chorus in unison. T.I. is a rascally performer, but also one who can turn from rap megastar to a dad bringing his kids on stage and it’s all appreciated.
The affable half of Outkast shared the stage with fellow Dungeon Family member Sleepy Brown and a taut funk-rock backing band that slammed through a mixture of Outkast songs and solo material. In his red tracksuit pants, blue military jacket and omnipresent baseball cap, Big Boi grinned as he and Sleepy coordinated a few dance steps for “Da Next Day,” from Big Boi’s 2017 “Boomiverse” album, followed by the irresistible “Skew It On the Bar-B.”
Several times during his set, Big Boi launched into his faux British accent to ask his patented line, “Are you having a good time?” and the crowd responded with great fervor. With a set list that found the duo leaning into the groove of “So Fresh, So Clean” and “Ms. Jackson” during one portion and then seguing to the soulful undertones of “In the South” and the Soul II Soul sampling “Shutterbugg,” it demonstrated yet again the depth of Big Boi’s musical tastes and inclinations.
The inclusion of live horns earns additional kudos. It’s also always a treat to see Sleepy Brown on stage, too, and he savored his own moment in the spotlight on the lovely “I Can’t Wait.”
To close the 2018 edition of One Musicfest, organizers turned to the brawny rap of Atlanta’s 2 Chainz (a replacement for new mom Cardi B). His set also started late – despite the rapper being backstage with his family well in advance of his 8:30 scheduled time – but when he strode out in full bandanna and sunglasses form, he was embraced with genuine fervor.
A good chunk of 2 Chainz’s set focused on his features – “No Problem” (Chance the Rapper), “All Me” (Drake) and “Big Bank” (YG) – which his band, all clad in Matt Ryan No. 2 Atlanta Falcons jerseys – delivered with booming bass and drums. Grinning as he roamed the stage, the towering College Park native noted his love for “the most beautiful city in the world” before talking about his additional love – his family.
“If you love your mom like I love my mom, put your hands up,” he directed before “Proud,” swinging his arms as he danced to the frizzled beat. The song is from his EP, “The Play Don’t Care Who Makes It,” released earlier this year, but 2 Chainz also noted his upcoming album, “Rap or Go to the League.”
As he led fans through a raucous rendition of “I’m Different,” there was a hint of pride in his voice – as well there should be.
- M. R.
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