Being at a festival like The Observatory’s Day N Night seemed like the perfect opportunity to become a social media maven with all the scenery, people and of course, the biggest acts in music that could be perfectly captured in a Snapchat story, an IG post, a Twitter post or even a Vine that might blow up if captured at that magical slot during the weekend when energy and intoxication intersect at their peak. Unfortunately, being tucked away in the hills in the outskirts of Irvine meant “No Service” is a mainstay of this weekend and the so-called Wi-Fi that was provided to some attendees was about as phantom as the incarcerated Kodak Black; they were both whispered about but never showed up. Patrons would have to wait till they exited the fest on Santiago Canyon Road before any amount of quality bars showed up (no disrespect to the rappers on the bill). In fact, the lack of lyrical density is precisely what separated this new festival from the defunct hip-hop festivals such as Rock the Bells and Paid Dues. In 2016, Rap has arguably never been as anti-lyrics since the genre’s inception in the late ‘70s. Still, an energy exists that has made Rap more fun and animated than ever.
No artist epitomizes rap in 2016 better than Lil Yachty who was surely one the drawing cards on the Day N Night bill. Not only does Lil Yachty represent the the Rap hot-bed in being an Atlanta artist but with social media existing a such a pillar in our lives, Yachty’s success is a testimony to the power of digital, being discovered after being used as background music on a Vine video responsible for millions of loops. The melange of comedic value and melodic music made for a light-hearted energy that has further characterized who Yachty is and continues to be as his legend builds. Being available globally means that users anywhere can come together at any time and bond over content, ideas and in this instance a new sound that’s just different enough to be tasteful while attracting new attention for its ability to challenge genre norms, attracting attention-robbed youth who will turn their eyes to this wave for the next 15 minutes. One need not look around the regional park more than a few minutes to see kids of all shapes, sizes and colors wearing hairstyle a la Lil Boat.
Browsing the venue, one can see the internet culture prevailing more than ever. As the Punk trend experiences a renaissance, which is made clear on popular IG fashion accounts, Thrasher shirts (too many to count), ripped jeans and other “poor-quality” band shirts filled the venue. Female festivalgoers wore braids and sports bras doing their best to look like a Kardashian or YesJulz. Others mimicked festival rappers such as Rich the Kid and Famous Dex by bringing along a pair of goggles for no other reason than to duplicate what attracted them to the artists and the venue.
No matter where these rappers are from they’ve gained an accessibility to an audience that allows a full immersion into the world of the artists that can be interactive via channels such as Twitter and Instagram and even SoundCloud. Fans ability to see -and more so ask- what Seshollowaterboyz’ Eddy Baker is smoking on Twitter develops this artist-fan relationship more than intermittent interviews ever could, as updates are daily, sometime hourly and a retweet can mean everything to a fan leading to them supporting whatever an artist does in the future whether it be buying merch, concert tickets, showing up to a car show where an artist’s whip will be on display or simply sharing their new SoundCloud mixtape, all of which transcend geographical barriers that make support easier.
And this access to the world via web is in large part responsible for the artists hitting the stage during Day N Night. If it weren’t for the internet, the Seshollowaterboyz would not have been allowed to form, as the group is made up pieces from Ohio, Florida, Tennessee and here in California. Linking via web has made for formidable coalitions and in this case a super team who became an instantaneous national phenomenon; SHWB can show up to every major region in the country and have a respectable, but more importantly, a dedicated fan base to see their favorite internet personalities in real time. Day N Night acts lacking the deck that SHWB boasts were once again web-assisted. Algorithms that suggest music on YouTube, SoundCloud and streaming services are gateways to more music still, leading these angsty fans to nourishment after consuming all that they could of these initial artists. It could explain the common audience of the $UICIDEBOY$ and Fat Nick or the mutual respect between Lil Uzi Vert and Lil Yachty and the overall deluging of contemporary rap that is as diverse as ever and while the fans are assorted in the same manner.
Day N Night Festival organizers tapped into this sentiment in Orange County where respectable audiences for Yachty, SHWB, Lil Yase and Soulection and more were corralled to create two days worth of high energy, cult-like interactions that were cherry-topped by the YGs, ASAPs and Young Thugs.