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Defender Picks


Hip-Hop Heavies at BUKU 2014

The festival market is a fast-moving, rapidly expanding industry stacked with line-ups typically more representative of a slightly subversive college kid's turntable during their fledgeling years of undergrad; milk crates filled with records bearing the names of indie rock bands more than conscientious or genre-bending hip-hop. What the early announcements of festivals this year have taught us is that there's a shift in reverence for the latter genre, making it a main contender for heavy-hitting headliner or must-see show.


That altered preference hasn't been lost on the burgeoning Buku Music + Art Project, which rolls out its third edition this weekend (March 21-22) at Mardi Gras World. Once thought of as a primarily electronic and EDM event, Buku has excelled in catering to all kinds in a kaleidoscopic melding of genres that's seen everything from Alt-J's inaugural NOLA performance alongside Preservation Hall Jazz Band last year to comedic, interactive performances a la the Back Porch Stage. This year's Buku offers up critically acclaimed performers across the spectrum. Below, our must-sees with a hip-hop lean.



Nas (Power Plant, 6:30 p.m.) Queens rapper Nas burst on the seen twenty years ago with a call to action. “Stop fucking around and be a man,” the sample leading into Illmatic's opening track “The Genesis” commands its listeners as the MC establishes his flow rolling into “NY State of Mind”. Illmatic's verbose rhymes and expert production paved the way for an entire movement looking less to romanticize the streets and more to shine a light on every unmarked spot, every dark corner you may only see once. Buku alum and one of NoDef's 2013 must-see artists Kendrick Lamar clearly draws influence from the rapper and it's only fitting that Nas celebrate Illmatic in all its glory a year later.


Big Freedia's Twerk Lesson (SS Blu Ku, 7:15 p.m.) Whether you caught the spectacle of Miley Cyrus this past Tuesday at the Smoothie King Center on her Bangerz tour or you've only seen videos, Cyrus makes a case for the difficulties of twerking as soon as she shuffles her feet either side and starts to swoop down. Lucky for her and lucky for us bounce queen Big Freedia's here to help you learn. Tired of watching that instructional youtube video and ready for something a bit more, erm, interactive? Freedia and her dancers will be in the VIP boat ready to teach the art of the twerk.


Chance the Rapper (Ballroom, 11 p.m.) Perhaps known more for his guest spots, Chance the Rapper not only knows how to make an entrance but commandeer a song. His Acid Rap mixtape starts off the gate with a bit of a bounce beat mixed with gospel piano, saccharine SWV-esque harmonies, and Chance's surprisingly earnest, self-effacing style. Already, other rappers are taking notice of the Chicago MC's chops, including Childish Gambino and Action Bronson. His live performances pack in even more, with a full band and fully fleshed production.



ScHoolboy Q (Power Plant, 4:45 p.m.) An admitted fan of Nas and an artist in agreement with Danny Brown on the corporate bent of the music industry as a whole, ScHoolboy Q has reached a turning point in his career, signing with Interscope before releasing his latest album Oxymoron. The LP pits Q lyrically against his Black Hippy cohorts, an impressive feat given each artist's output within and outside of the group. The album's production and backing tracks are surprisingly moody, making for an unexpected juxtaposition.


Chromeo (Power Plant, 6:15 p.m.) On the far more lighthearted level sits French Canadian electro duo Chromeo, who glimmer with tinges of disco and '80s effects. The group fell back in love with the Studio 54 sound long before Daft Punk got their hands on Nile Rodgers. Chromeo put their own eclectic spin on things, far more content with the sanctity of dancing than the purity of genres. Their highly anticipated latest LP, White Women, has yet to be released, so expect a bit of spanking fresh material and throwback dance tracks like their breakout hit “Night by Night”.


Danny Brown (Ballroom, 12:45 a.m.) Danny Brown may feel Old, but his electric performances and deft rhymes are so spry and airy, they're practically ageless. Slowly but surely, Brown has been gaining fans and admirers thanks to electric live performances that rarely pander with predictable hits. The Detroit MC carefully crafts his sets, stocking them with heavy-hitting tracks and party jams that make Brown the ideal artist to close out 2014's Buku Music + Art Project.


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Renard Boissiere, Evan Z.E. Hammond, Naimonu James, Wilson Koewing, J.A. Lloyd, Nina Luckman, Dead Huey Long, Alexis Manrodt, Joseph Santiago, Andrew Smith, Cynthia Via, Austin Yde


Art Director

Michael Weber, B.A.


Listings Editor

Linzi Falk

Editor Emeritus

Alexis Manrodt

B. E. Mintz

Stephen Babcock

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