We have always been big fans of Diplo's label Mad Decent. This year we got word that the Mad Decent Block Party was making it's way to Denver, most importantly it was the only stop on the tour to feature Outkast. The band is currently only performing major festivals that celebrates the duo's 20th anniversary as a band. Outkast holds a special place in my heart, you see I was first introduced to the band during my high school years and they automatically became my favorite hip hop band. It was an era of hip hop that featured the gangsta rap of the West Coast and glitz and glamour of the East Coat (I'm looking at you Diddy). Their no holds barred approach of southern hip hop resonated with me and I was always blaring Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik. The only other time I had seen the band was in 2001 in San Diego, so I was pretty excited they chose Denver as part of the Mad Decent Block Party stop. The traveling festival features an array of some of EDM's best heavy hitters, having Outkast on the bill had me scratching my head at first, then realized the incredible and vast knowledge that Diplo brings to the table and his affection for hip hop.
The day started with strong albeit very short sets from Mr. Carmack and DJEMBA DJEMBA, Liz and Riff Raff who had the early ravers dancing up and down the empty aisles. One of the days best sets came courtesy of Run The Jewels. The group consisting of rapper/producer EL-P and Killer Mike unleashed a tight set featuring old material and a few tracks from their sophomore album due out in October.
We have always been huge fans of Flosstradamus since their early days of us partying with them on the deck of a parking garage at SXSW in 2008. It has been fun watching the duo get better and better every year since then. Their fan base has grow exponentially and now have a cult following of supporters known as the HDYNATION. The fan base was sure in attendance as the group minus Josh took the stage (he has a baby on the way and is laying low until the HYDYNATION Tour starts in November). Curt came out strong and surprised everybody mid set as Waka Flocka came out to perform along with Colorado's own Dominic Lalli of Big Gigantic on a few tracks.
Griz took the stage and managed to outdo himself to the mostly EDM crowd that was in attendance, Although he started off slow, his set picked momentum as he had the crowd in full all out rage mode by the end of his what seemed rather short one hour set. His unique ability to his production and live instrumentation is something rarely seen in the business with only a few talented enough to pull it off.
Diplo took the stage to an already "turnt up" crowd. Flanked by a simple monitor projecting black and white graphics and occasional random photos of bananas and girls in bikinis. His approach to music has always crossed boundaries that have defined the genre of electronic music. With a loyal fan base here in Colorado, its no surprise that Diplo brings his best every time he visits our state.
It was time for the main event as a black curtain hid the cube that Outkast has been performing in since their first festival show this year at Coachella. As the curtain dropped a single image projected on the cube giving it a sort of three dimensional look giving praise to the album Stankonia. They both emerged from the cube going straight into "Bombs Over Baghdad", soon after all hell broke lose as they unleashed almost every single one of their hits that have had us singinging about "Rosa Parks", trying to stay "So Fresh, So Clean", to the pungent smell of "Roses". Our favorite part would have been when they reached way back into some of the classics that defined their career from the very start including "Hootie Hoo" , "Playa's Ball", and my personal favorite "Southernplayalisticcadillacmuzik". For a band that has been rapping since they were 17 years old, one can only hope they continue making new music to please our soul.
Outkast Photos: (Photo Credit: Robert Castro)