By Colin Gallant
CALGARY – It really isn’t a stretch to say that this is One Love Music Festival’s best lineup to date. In three years, the festival has battled adverse weather conditions at two different sites and had one huge, giant, major cancellation (Lil Wayne last year). Perhaps the third time will be the clichéd charm, as Western Canada’s only hip-hop festival moves to the Max Bell grounds, shares site related duties with Chasing Summer, and resizes to a one-day affair.
Miss Lauryn Hill, of The Fugees and a stacked solo career that has likely soundtracked hundreds of conceptions, is at the top of the list for obvious reasons. Having gone into a self-imposed “exile” in the early 2000s and facing jail time for tax offences back in 2013, many of us feared we had lost Miss Hill for good. While Hill has had her hardships and controversies over the years, it’s what we overcome that defines us, no? In any case, it seems fair to assume that One Love organizers are confident they won’t get burned two years in a row.
Next we come to America’s traphouse sweethearts, Migos. The trio dominated the charts earlier this year with their smash hit “Bad and Boujee,” which in addition to going to 4x platinum also marked the moment the slang term “Boujee” hit peak saturation in pop culture. Migos worked hard to get here, having guested (and stolen the show) on dozens of hits from other rappers in the past few years. It ought to be mentioned that rumours circulated that the trio had been denied entry for their recent scheduled opening slot for Future in Edmonton, but that the problem seemed to have been resolved when they arrived on stage in Vancouver the following night. One Love, we’re counting on you.
Bridging the gap between iconic soul star status and wholly millennial turn-up tunes is the one and only god Anderson. Paak. If you’re not already on this train it’s safe to say you probably don’t even know what a train is. The rapper-singer-multi-instrumentalist put out one of last year’s best albums with the stellar Malibu. He followed that up with a ‘70s street life concept record with Knxledge under the moniker NxWorries. Perhaps the easiest primer for his music is to say that it’s like if Bruno Mars was actually good and had a rapping voice a bit like Kendrick Lamar. Paak is especially known for his stage presence, even playing drums with the Free Nationals as he delivers his elastic vocal melodies. This one is our bet for show-stopper of the day.
Rounding out the lineup are acts like the RZA of the Wu-Tang Clan (as his hedonistic alter ego Bobby Digital), Christian-tinged rapper Lecrae (who made history in 2014 by having an album top both the Billboard 200 and gospel charts simultaneously), returning fave Wale, plus Justin Bieber and Jame Blake collaborator blackbear. The lineup also includes locals Seven, Chedda Cheese and Bugsy Brown.
One Love Music Festival takes place August 4 at the Max Bell Arena grounds (Calgary).Max Bell Arena grounds, One Love Music Festival, R&B, traphouse