By Edmon Ogle
The Fifth Annual Atlanta Indie Fest is this weekend, packing all the independent hip-hop (plus some soul and electro-pop) folks could possibly want into one insane line-up over two days. And no, it’s not all backpacking boom-bap. Seriously, the 2012 roster provides an excellent capsule of the various strands/sounds of the underground in the internet 2.0 era. From syrupy trap music to twerking club bangers aimed squarely at crossing over, it’s all here and its swag is weird. Make a point of catching these key artists:
Turn Up Juice (ft. Gangsta Boo)
Yes, we owe the existence of the Atlanta Indie Fest in the first place to this local duo, but this home-grown banger is undeniably hot. Minimalist Diplo-inspired production with a chorus made for the club and a guest verse from fellow Indie Fest performer Gangsta Boo.
Kicked Out Da Club
A Bay Area-based Kreayshawn acolyte spitting over your basic hyphy/Rack City beat. Resist the easy urge to hate, look past the image and admit this would be fun as hell to hear at the club. Catch her set so you can tell your people you saw her before she went viral.
The tattoo artist for Wiz Khalifa’s Taylor Gang crew makes quality smoker’s rap as his other job. With verses this strong no wonder he got the co-sign.
A local MC who favors the bassy, electro-tinged beats foreign producers have been making and sending back to the states for years; party tracks by and for the MJQ set.
Osiris Of the East
The Miami rapper-producer is headlining Sunday for a reason: his style is harder, darker, and spacier than everybody else. Not wildly adolescent like Tyler the Creator or cultivating his fashionista cred like A$AP Rocky, SGP has carved an ominous, weird niche for himself drawing equally on Houston screwed music, lo-fi noise and afro-futurism, if you’ll believe it. No wonder he’s signed to the high-brow British label 4AD. Be ready for a real rowdy, sweaty crowd during his set.
PITTY: Priscilla Novaes Leone, a kick-ass and spunky female rocker better known by her stagename “Pitty”, is one of South American’s most acclaimed punk rockers. She is flanked by her band members: Martin, Duda and Joe who play the guitars, drums and bass respectively. Hailing from Bahia, Brazil, the tattooed superstar has showcased an impressive presence at award shows where she was the most awarded rock artist during the 2000s— Snatching up Artist of the Year, Video of the Year, Best Live Perfomance and more at the Brazil MTV Awards. Pitty is more than a set of lungs. She proudly uses guitar, piano, drums and keyboard as part of her repertoire—all of which she utilized when she was in the backdrop of bands like the Shes and Inkoma—before she stepped into the spotlight on her own and became one of Brazil’s most cherished and beloved voices of music.
Official website: www.pitty.com
NINA ZILLI: Nina Zilli, who at first glance looks like the perfect combination of the late Amy Winhouse and American rockstar Gwen Stefani, is a soulful vocal powerhouse from Italy. Her song “L’Amore È Femmina” was selected to represent Italy in the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest. Combining both Italian and English lyrics, Zilli brings jazzy tunes mainstream a bit more sex appeal and a strong female presence.
Official website: www.ninazilli.com
NNEKA: Afro-German infused songstress Nneka is the epitome of “float like a butterfly; sting like a bee.” Not a mainstream artist who garners millions of views within days, she brings quality over quantity and has magnetized thousands with her soulful lyrics and beautifully raw vocals. Bringing in numerous fans between Nigeria and Germany, Nneka communicates through her music with lyrics that speak to every- body. “It’s all about you/You should your soul to the evil and the lust. And the passion and the money and you. Innocent ones die, people hunger for decades/Suffer under civilized armed-robbers, modern slaveholders.” she croons in her hit “Heart- beat”.
Official website: www.nnekaworld.com
OF MONSTERS AND MEN: Indie music in Iceland… how exciting is that? Of Monsters and Men is a six-member folk band formed in 2010 and is already making waves all over the world. Their single “Little Talks” caught on like wildfire after two prominent radio stations (KEXP and WRFF) from Seattle and Philadelphia, played their single on the airwaves. Although fairly young and new to the scene, they are already garnering fanfare with comparison to iconic groups such as Mumford & Sons and Arcade Fire. OMM released their debut album “My Head Is an Animal” in the United States on April 3, 2012. It will be interesting to see how this new talent will survive in the United States.
Official website: ofmonstersandmen.is
THE JOLLY BOYS: The Jolly Boys, hailing from Port Antonio, Jamaica, are far from being “boys.” Origi- nally founded in 1955, they have enjoyed huge success throughout the 80s and 90s. This troupe specializes in mento, a Jamaican-native music style that focuses heavily on acoustic instruments. With lighthearted lyrics about heavy subject such as social issues, poverty and other things of that nature. The Jolly Boys have become quite the crowd-pleasers. Due to high demand, the smooth-jamming group released a new CD in 2010 called “Great Expectation” and are currently touring with five original members, along with three new members.
Official website: www.jollyboysmusic.com