President Obama dropped the mic at the White House Correspondent’s Dinner Saturday (April 30), but over in Washington D.C.’s Gateway, some of hip-hop and R&B’s biggest acts were picking it up for the 2016 Broccoli City Festival.
Future, Jhene Aiko, Anderson .Paak, BJ The Chicago Kid, The Internet and Sango were among those on-hand for what could be considered the DMV’s answer to the Brooklyn’s Afropunk Festival. The Broccoli City Festival supports a good cause — food security, healthy living and environmental sustainability.
Although Future may seem like an odd placement in the lineup (and not just because of his “dirty Sprite” habit), judging from the 12,000 attendees, the “Where Ya At” rapper found his place. The audience was definitely there for each act — even if that meant standing in the same spot for more than eight hours. But in return, the sea of music fans were serenaded, hyped and turnt up by the eclectic collection of talent
BJ The Chicago Kid took the stage first with tunes off of his popular sophomore album, In My Mind, including “Turnin’ Me Up,” “Woman’s World,” “Church” and “The Resume.” But the new sensation knew that while a good amount of the audience knew his work — there were more that may know him as a featured guest. For them, he performed Chance the Rapper‘s “Everybody’s Something” and Schoolboy Q‘s “Studio.” The latter of which he said “changed his life more than anything” since he went from “‘BJ The Chicago Kid’ to ‘Grammy-nominated BJ The Chicago Kid.’” Ha. Of course, the 31-year-old singer couldn’t end his set without a mention of Prince, who passed away a week ago. “Did ya’ll realize that we lost someone special in the last week?” said the Chicago native of The Purple One. “But understand this, this music will last forever.” We hear that.
Next up was everyone’s new favorite, Anderson .Paak — and he showed out. With high-energy dance moves and stunning drum solos, the newly signed Aftermath artist performed songs from his popular fourth album, Malibu, as well as some old grooves–like 2014s “Drugs” and “Suede.” As for his latest effort, “The Season/Carry Me,” “Put Me Thru,” “Room in Here,” “Come Down” and “Am I Wrong” served as representatives for the LP. Paak also brought out BJ The Chicago Kid for their track, “The Waters” much to the delight of the crowd. While Prince‘s name rang through the festival earlier with BJ, .Paak honored another ’80s icon, Michael Jackson, with a shirt that showed a still from the King of Pop’s “In The Closet” video.
Sángo, who represented for the DJ collective, Soulection, was up next with a set. In it, the Michigan native mixed Brazilian baile funk and modern hits. But the highlight of his set is when he brought his friends onstage — SPZRKT and Goldlink. The former performed the Sángo-produced tracks “How Do You Love Me” and “JMK” while the latter graced the stage with “Wassup.”
Then, after a brief appearance by everyone’s favorite “this guy is everywhere,” Sway, The Internet took the stage. Fronted by the angelic voice of Syd Tha Kid, the band performed tracks off of their acclaimed 2015 album, Ego Death including “Under Control,” and “Special Affair.” At one point, Syd goaded the crowd, urging that she “wants the ghosts” to hear us. (The park, Gateway DC, is surrounded by an abandoned psychiatric hospital.)
Jhene Aiko described herself as “crazy” during the show and said that she liked the “spooky” vibe of the park. In a multicolored jumper, Aiko sung “Limbo Limbo Limbo,” “Stay Ready,” “W.A.Y.S.,” and “Spotless Mind” Naturally, she also performed her popular track, “Bed Peace.”
In keeping with the day’s theme, Aiko told the crowd: “You don’t have to do drugs to have fun,” after admitting to talking about weed a lot in her music. “You can get high off of other things like…love. Can I be your drug?” she asked before singing her song, “Higher.” The 28-year-old also performed the explosive track “Post to Be” and switched the infamous “you gotta eat the booty like groceries” line to refer to “p—-” instead–much to the approval of cheering fans.
“I know you guys think I’m f—— crazy and you’re right,” she yelled. Aiko closed out the set with some new tracks from TWENTY88, her collaborative project with Big Sean, including “Deja Vu” and “London Bridge; and of course, her hits “The Worst” and “Eternal Sunshine.”
“All these songs I write from personal experience,” she said at one point during the show before adding that it’s not about her to “act like I’m perfect” but about “connecting with you guys.” She surely did.
Finally, eight hours later it was time for the main act — everyone’s favorite codeine rap guru, Future. Following a brief Prince tribute (with the DJ playing “Purple Rain” as the skies began to drizzle), the Freebandz logo showed up on the screen and the crowd was in full turnt mode for the trap king. The 32-year-old has released seven projects in the past year alone — and he went through all of them. “How many of ya’ll got that [insert album or mixtape name here]?” he would ask before heading into the hit tracks of the project for a total of 33 songs. Cray.
Rattling off hits like “Bugatti,” “F— Up Some Commas,” Jumpman,” “Same Damn Time,” Where Ya At,” Stick Talk” and “Wicked,” Future Hendrix had the crowd lit The Atlanta rapper closed out his set with Purple Reign‘s title track; as confetti flew above the crowd. We’re not sure how good that is for Broccoli City Festival’s anti-litter policy — but it sure was epic.
Check out the photos from the show above where Lance Gross also made an appearance on stage. Also, check out some videos from the show below.