Sample the Sweet Sounds of Summer
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE
Because your ears are hungry too.
By Nat Roe
OZY Fest 2017, which takes place on July 22 in Central Park, will be a feast in many forms. We’re talking mental nourishment from the likes of Katie Couric and Malcolm Gladwell and satisfying sustenance with chef Eddie Huang. But OZY Fest is also about the music or, as we like to call it, soul food. For a sampling of the tasty sounds on offer at this year’s fest, feed your ears with these five artists:
Her vocals will cover your cochleas like satin and transport you to instant zen as you float among lush beats. But don’t think for a second she’s soft. The Malaysian-born, Los Angeles-based singer’s lyrics make nudges like, “Know you didn’t think that I could be this cruel / I don’t need to be mean, but I’m just gonna ignore you.” Yuna’s musical journey, which started 10 years ago in her bedroom, has taken her from Myspace playlists to collaborations with Usher, Jhené Aiko and Tokimonsta. The collabs don’t just take place in the studio, though — scarves are another focal point of her talent. In fact, she dropped a line last fall.
Known for his infectious vocals — like that infamous tag you can’t help but sing — Jason Derulo’s energy is contagious. In an era when live instrumental hooks rule the hip-hop industry, let it be known that “Wiggle,” his 2014 ballad to the backside, sampled the recorder before the Migos knew where Portland was. While his songs dance across both sweet and dirty talk, Derulo isn’t worried if you don’t speak the same language, because, according to him, “Your booty don’t need explaining.” When he’s not posing shirtless for a cover shoot, the 27-year-old is busy burning up the charts with singles. His most recent, “Swalla,” features Nicki Minaj and Ty Dolla $ign.
While the “So Good” singer may have seen only 19 trips around the sun, she’s hardly a novice. After winning Sweden’s version of Britain’s Got Talent at age 10, Larsson climbed the charts to become the princess of Scandi-pop. Her 2017 debut album has already racked up six singles, and collabs have her kicking it with Clean Bandit and Ty Dolla $ign. If sound were a drink, Larsson’s would be rosé: sweet, indulgent and pairs well with summer.
With influences ranging from Lauryn Hill to the Mulan soundtrack to the Afrikan school in which he was raised, Kamau’s crunchy beatbox gibberish cascades across rich drum patterns. To see him perform is to be engulfed by crisp syntax, roaring beats and vocal throws. The Brooklyn artist works frequently with No Wyld and Lion Babe, and he can be heard on Issa Rae’s Insecure. If his Twitter hints prove true, fans can expect a new album, TheKAMAU-CASSETTE: ŭRTH GōLD, to drop soon.
The OG of the lineup, Talib Kweli has been dropping knowledge for more than 20 years. Often a face of the “conscious rap” scene, the New York native is known for creating music that breathes social and political truths. Kweli has worked with everyone from Kanye West and Mary J. Blige to Lupe Fiasco and Pharrell Williams. And although it’s been two decades since he first started spitting, he’s not done yet. In fact, in today’s electronic-influenced hip-hop climate, Kweli’s intricate, authentic lyrics might just provide you with the escape from reality you need.