Pitchfork Day Three: Sunday Funday, or, where is Lil B’s wonton soup?

Spencer Doar

The last day of Pitchfork got a bit personal, besides being the best, and busiest, of the festival.  Killer Mike and Sky Ferreira were emotional, both visibly choked up at various points in their respective sets.  Ferreira was simply so grateful to be there—that all of the naysayers in her life were being proven wrong by the fans and support she received. 

As for rapper Killer Mike, well, thank the heavens I was sweating so much, it covered up the tears that trickled down my face for part of his set. Charisma incarnate, Mike sauntered onto the stage, white chompers gleaming in the midday sun.  His rap is good, but his words for the crowd between songs unbelievable.  With his voice frequently breaking, he revealed that his mentor when he was a community organizer was a “small Catholic woman” from Chicago named Alice Mary Johnson, whose “whole life was about freedom, justice and equality for all—it broke her heart when I became a rapper.”  It was equally joy and heartache, because he now knows that his rap “ghetto gospel” is the most honest means he has of affecting those he cares about.  Killer Mike truly believes that through simple actions, like getting to know your neighbor and watching each other’s’ backs, we can turn this world around.  He’s a Southern guy, but his message was entirely applicable to the rough and tumble Chicago summers (and the epidemic of gun violence that plagues the nation in general). 

“I grew up in the eighties and watched this country get real fucked up,” Killer Mike said, before breaking into “Reagan,” his DJ donning a mask of The Gipper.  Despite the nature of that song, Killer Mike reiterated that he has no love for any political party, or the government in general, dedicating his Ron-Ron song to Edward Snowden (in fact, a number of his songs were dedicated to activists).

“We all may live in different parts of town, but we come together [at events like this],” Killer Mike said during another interlude. He might not have been the greatest act at Pitchfork, but Killer Mike had by far the most poignant set of the weekend.  He got to double down too, joining El-P for his set to perform new Run the Jewels material (their new collaboration).

Anyhoo, a lot of other awesomeness characterized the culmination of the three day extravaganza. Chicago native Robert Kelly, sporting a Bulls hat and diamond studded microphone, capped the night. Apparently he’s been doing similar sets all summer, but opening with “Ignition (Remix)” is a foolproof plan.  By his 8:30 p.m. start time, folks from the neighborhood were crowding the gates and posted up in lawn chairs on the sidewalks of Ashland Avenue to bask in the reverb and still discernible lyrics of the Prince of Pillowtalk. (As for the echo, it was extremely odd to walk past people exiting a nearby evening church service while someone is singing about coitus in the kitchen).

Lil B had the nuttiest crowd of Sunday, folks writhing to his bass heavy, hyphy influenced simplicity (simple in the sense that he is not the cleverest lyricist, more of a hype man gone solo). 

M.I.A. was, as expected, wildly entertaining—in fact, the day was without detractors except for having to choose between simlulatneous awesome sets (more to come on Foxygen!).