It’s no secret that Hopscotch, a festival hailed as “wildly diverse” by The New York Times, offers fans an abundance of experiences. The four day event brings together artists who create almost every type of music, in a variety of hues. The Hopscotch Handbooks are one way of dividing the 2017 lineup to help make your scheduling choices more fun and manageable. Each chapter is essentially a small festival in itself, and many Hopscotch performers fall under more than one. Whether you’re discovering an act for the first time, or reconfirming them as one of your favorites already, we look forward to hosting you this Sept. 7-10 in downtown Raleigh.
Chapter 1: Hip-Hop/R&B
Solange — Red Hat Amphitheater, Saturday, September 9
Born on June 24, 1986, in Houston, Texas, Solange is the younger sister of R&B performer Beyoncé. Coming out of her sister’s shadow, Solange made a name for herself in both the music and fashion industries as a singer, dancer and a model. In 2013, she launched her own record label, Saint Records. Her 2016 album, A Seat at the Table, reached the top of the Billboard chart and led to her first Grammy win the following year.
Run The Jewels — Red Hat Amphitheater, Friday, September 8
A one-off project that quickly evolved into a hip-hop superduo, Run the Jewels feature rappers El-P and Killer Mike. Formed after El-P produced Killer Mike’s 2012 album, R.A.P. Music, the duo released Run the Jewels in 2013. Critically popular and with a sizable fan base to boot, Run the Jewels quickly evolved into a going concern when their sophomore effort, RTJ2, landed in 2014. In 2016, the duo announced RTJ3, which was set for release in early 2017. However, on Christmas Eve 2016, they unexpectedly uploaded the album as another free download. Featuring appearances by Joi, Trina, Boots, Danny Brown, Tunde Adebimpe, Kamasi Washington, and the return of Zack de la Rocha, RTJ3 debuted in the Billboard Top 40 and at number eight on the R&B/hip-hop chart.
Big Boi — Raleigh City Plaza, Saturday, September 9
Outside his partnership with André 3000 as one-half of the Grammy-winning and multi-platinum OutKast, and apart from his central role in the Dungeon Family collective, rapper Big Boi has built a lengthy parallel discography on his own. Known for his witty, high-velocity wordplay, the artist born Antwan André Patton has released a handful of solo albums, participated in several collaborative projects, and made guest appearances on a slew of soon to be classic tracks.
iLoveMakonnen — Raleigh City Plaza, Saturday, September 9
iLoveMakonnen treats music as his canvas. Emerging from Atlanta’s fertile creative grounds, he draws from a surprisingly diverse and dreamy palette that boldly stands at the intersection of hip-hop, R&B, alternative, and psychedelica. In 2014, his debut smash “Tuesday” (featuring Drake) would eventually go RIAA Platinum, land on “Best Song” year-end lists by Spin and The Fader, see him perform on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, and earn a Grammy Award nomination in the category of “Best Rap/Sung Collaboration.” In addition to the ubiquitous “Tuesday,” the iLoveMakonnen EP yielded fan favorites such as “I Don’t Sell Molly No More” and “Swerve,” while 2015’s iLoveMakonnen 2 EP gave us “Forever” and “Trust Me Danny.”
Lee Fields & The Expressions — The Basement at RCC, Friday, September 8
Since the late sixties, North Carolina native Lee Fields has amassed a prolific catalog of albums and has toured and played with such legends as Kool and the Gang, Sammy Gordon and the Hip-Huggers, O.V Wright, Darrell Banks, and Little Royal. With a career spanning 43 years, releases on twelve different record labels, and having toured the world over with his raucous-yet-tender voice, it’s mind-blowing that the music he’s making today is the best of his career.
Noname — Lincoln Theater, Thursday, September 7
Noname Gypsy is a frequent collaborator with Chance the Rapper, but her self-released debut mixtape Telefone established her as one of the best upcoming rappers. The A.V. Club called Telefone “the kind of album you want to listen to on repeat when you swear off dating for the nth time and promise, again, to really focus on yourself for once.”
Oddisee & Good Compny — Lincoln Theater, Thursday, September 7
Since appearing on a Jazzy Jeff song in 2002 as a seventeen year old and then releasing his first mixtape in 2005, Amir Mohamed el Khalifa (a.k.a Oddisee) has been a prolific presence in hip-hop. His most recent record, The Iceberg, was critically acclaimed, with XXL calling it “fluid, fun, and downright fresh.”
Rapsody — Red Hat Amphitheater, Friday, September 8
Rapsody is the new force in hip hop, and she’s blazing the trail for a new generation of emcees, showcasing effortless lyrical mastery in an age of celebrating the culture of a hip hop renaissance. “Hip hop in its essence is real; I’m still hearing every rhyme.” She is the protégé of Grammy Award-winning producer 9th Wonder, the first lady of North Carolina super crew Kooley High, and one of the first artists signed to Jamla Records/It’s A Wonderful World Music Group.
Tei Shi — Red Hat Amphitheater, Saturday, September 9
Tei Shi is the creation of musician Valerie Teicher, a native of Buenos Aires, Argentina. She grew up across North and South America and, after attending the Berklee College of Music, settled in New York City to pursue music professionally. After being featured as a vocalist on tracks by artists including Glass Animals and Shy Girls (Dan Vidmar), Teicher followed up her debut in the spring of 2015 with another EP, Verde. Its lead single, the atmospheric dance track “Bassically,” accumulated seven-figure streams within weeks and appeared on social networking charts. Tei Shi then signed with Downtown Records, which released her full-length debut, Crawl Space, in March of this year.
serpentwithfeet — Nash Hall, Saturday, September 9
The Book of Genesis implies that snakes once had legs but lost them, and Baltimore-born Josiah Wise took the moniker of serpentwithfeet for his moving inspection of queer identity through gospel music. The project’s first record, blisters, was well-received by critics, with Pitchfork calling it a “boiling with personal energy and fantastically operatic in scale.”
Busdriver — Red Hat Amphitheater, Friday, September 8
Thumbs was made as a mixtape by Busdriver to further explore the concept of a homogenous citizenry from his last record Perfect Hair. It draws from the defining musical tropes of the LA underground rap experience with the isolation born from racial politics fixed as a central theme. Frequent collaborators such as milo, Mono/Poly, Kenny Segal, Fumitake Tamura all appear for the most action-packed Busdriver release to date.
G Yamazawa — Lincoln Theater, Thursday, September 7
National Poetry Slam Champion. Cultural Diplomat for the Department of State. Kundiman Fellow, Team Backpack certified. G YAMAZAWA has been featured on ABC, NBC, NPR, PBS, and has toured over 200 universities both domestic and internationally. With notable performances at the Sundance Film Festival and the Pentagon, G continues to challenge the American perspective of race & culture, poetry & rap, and the phenomena of the human condition.
ZenSoFly — Red Hat Amphitheater, Saturday, September 9
Club charmer, and image guru, ZenSoFly, is a thunderous performer of playfully buoyant music. At times she’s a soothing lead singer and at times a cold blooded MC, ZenSoFly worked as a DJ, producer and engineer before she decided to hit center stage. Combining elements of house, rap, and electronic music, ZenSoFly makes music for all people to dance to and feel. Her new EP, Sunflowers, is set to release Sep. 30, 2017.
P.A.T. Junior — Lincoln Theater, Thursday, September 7
Originally from New York but currently residing in Raleigh, North Carolina, P.A.T. Junior is multi-talented artist looking to uplift and share sharpening perspectives within the culture. Raised on various genres music, he took specific interests and Hip Hop at young age and began writing spoken word & rhymes to instrumentals from his favorite artists’ records. While constantly evolving and growing in his crafts, he looks to create music that will help inspire, encourage, provoke higher thought and get others through the ups & downs of life; while also aiming to Be Absxlute in all aspects of his own life.
Arrow Benjamin — Red Hat Amphitheater, Saturday, September 9
Not having grown up around any musical instruments, Benjamin trained and transformed his voice itself into an instrument, and soon began writing his own songs, eventually lending his creations to numerous collaborators including Major Lazer, Labrinth, and Rudimental. Referring to himself as “the midwife” for referring to his songs as “his babies,” and his companionable nature, Benjamin eventually became the leader and principal songwriter of the Live Vynl production collective.
Sir the Baptist — Red Hat Amphitheater, Saturday, September 9
Sir the Baptist, hip hop’s holistic lyricist, is proving himself to be a chaplain of the modern rap culture. As a second generation cultural minister, growing up in historically rich Bronzeville neighborhood in Chicago, the idea of cleansing the culture has be a path Sir has been set out on since birth. By using the power of hip hop’s influence, The Baptist records compelling stories about real people as modern parables to strip away the shame and embarrassment that too often keep people from seeking help.
Body Games — Raleigh City Plaza, Saturday, September 9
Providing the ultimate soundtrack to your nostalgic trip down memory lane, Body Games keeps it light but not for lack of depth. They bring serious hip-hop beats drenched in synthesizer warmth with catchy vocals that fit right in to each song’s unique atmosphere, plus an always interesting visual show from band member and projectionist Adam Graetz.
Jooselord Magnus — CAM Raleigh, Saturday, September 9
A cursory listen to Jooselord Magnus elicits surface parallels to Kendrick Lamar, Tyler the Creator, and a Kanye West that finally let Yeezy and Yeezus put their differences aside. A few closer looks and a few live shows reveal the work of a promising young rapper whose craft is well-studied, technically ambitious and politically relentless. “Joose” is a 360 degree force, and is known for shows with elaborate themes, costumes etc., but is equally comfortable putting spectacle aside and wiping the floor in the bare bones world of freestyle and battle rap.
BrassiousMonk — CAM Raleigh, Saturday, September 9
Raleigh’s BrassiousMonk is a constant presence at local hip hop shows, and thrives on knowing that being there might help him invite you into their world. Brass clearly studies the radio, but only to master the tricks he needs to get his point across. On stage he’s scrappy and light on his feet, bouncing on the mic like Rae Srummund or early iLoveMakonnen.