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POW Fest


WORDS BY RAYNEUTRON

PHOTOGRAPHY BY EMARI TRAFFIE


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Sunday’s are for hip hop—at least Jeff Weiss thinks so.

At POW Fest, the 10th year anniversary of Passion of the Weiss, he stacked a line-up of some of the most buzzed about rap acts and secret guests on one bill at the Echo in Los Angeles. Stand-out acts included the west Chicago native and Chance the Rapper affiliate Saba, South LA’s own Nocando,Open Mike Eagle and Compton’s latest golden child Boogie.

Despite the stacked bill of insanely talented emcees the crowd was light and as Saba noted midway through his set they “didn’t come for a rap show.” Which begged the question—where are LA’s hip-hop heads? In spite of lighter than expected attendance the acts gave their all. Hellfyre Club member Nocando got personal before performing “Good Gravy in the Morning.” He shares that the song was written while homeless in order to attain some level of happiness. It’s chock full of anecdotes like “one man’s solution is another man’s problem, one man’s bummer is another man’s awesome.” This sudden transparency snaps the casual crowd into focus.

Shortly after, his fellow Hellfyre brother Open Mike Eagle takes center stage. He swings from the epitome of Midwest chill to subtle comedian to a punch in the gut. Near the end of the chorus-less “Dark Comedy Late Show” Mike leans over the stage’s edge and making direct contact while rapping “it’s close to an all out war, with kids being murdered just for being tall and black outdoors.”

Hometown hero and headliner Boogie, fresh off a world tour pulled every ounce of energy from the growing crowd. As if there wasn’t enough hype radiating off his crew bouncing and reciting lyrics while posted stage left, Boogie closes with the smash “Oh My” and his DJ parades through the crowd.

There’s more California love where that came from. Secret guest Vince Staples runs through a quick list of hits to wrap up the night not before making note of a changing LA. Before getting into “Norf Norf,” the Long Beach native says of a nearby restaurant, “That gentrification pizza taste good. Make some noise for gentrification.” The diverse crowd follows his instruction. Then Staples pulls a bait and switch “Don’t ever cheer for gentrification ever again in your life.”

POW.

 Vince Staples

Vince Staples

 Boogie

Boogie

 Boogie

Boogie

 Boogie

Boogie

 Open Mike Eagle

Open Mike Eagle

 Open Mike Eagle

Open Mike Eagle

“It’s close to an all out war, with kids being murdered just for being tall and black outdoors.”

—OPEN MIKE EAGLE

 NOCANDO

NOCANDO

 NOCANDO

NOCANDO

 NOCANDO

NOCANDO

One man’s solution is another man’s problem, one man’s bummer is another man’s awesome.”

—NOCANDO

 Saba

Saba

 Saba

Saba

 Saba

Saba

Where are LA’s hip-hop heads?

 The Outfit TX

The Outfit TX

 The Outfit TX

The Outfit TX

 Fat Tony

Fat Tony

 Chester Watson

Chester Watson

 Jordan Raf

Jordan Raf

 Kweku Collins

Kweku Collins

 Kweku Collins

Kweku Collins

 Kweku Collins

Kweku Collins

 Vince Staples

Vince Staples

 Vince Staples

Vince Staples

“Don’t ever cheer for gentrification ever again in your life.”

— VINCE STAPLES

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