Paid Dues Independent Hip-Hop Festival
San Manuel Amphitheater
Traffic was hellish. Parking was a mess, the outhouses were a disaster, the lines for food were ridiculously long, and one edifice labeled "will call" was not, in fact, will call. The dust was Coachella-like, and after the boiling sun set it was freezing. Cell phone service was spotty. Sound from two of the stages bled into each other, and one merch booth's sound system was so loud you couldn't hear the show being performed nearby.
See also: Our Paid Dues slideshow
Still, Paid Dues was a success. Girls wearing "Bitch, Don't Kill My Vibe" t-shirts (and little else) mingled with face-tatted dudes wearing "We Trippy Mane" sweatshirts and conscious dudes talking about "real hip-hop." If we learned anything, though, it's this: Hip-hop is back, if it was ever really gone. Below are reviews of four noteworthy sets.More »