Again? Just once can Chicago get a Mad Decent Block Party lineup with star power on par with its sister parties in New York, Philly and L.A.? Sometimes it feels as if a “We want Diplo!” chant is in order. Well, cool down and get past the sticker shock, or lack thereof, on this installment of the annual all-day bash, because names aren’t everything.
We may not get a Diplo, a Major Lazer or an Erol Alkan, but Tanlines and Action Bronson, this year’s marquee acts, are hot tickets. The former, an indie-dance duo from Brooklyn, sounds like TV on the Radio, Vampire Weekend and Hot Chip jamming on an island somewhere. Its debut album, Mixed Emotions, is an infectious summery listen. Hailing from sister borough Queens, extra-large rapper Action Bronson is taking his place alongside acts like Danny Brown and Big K.R.I.T. as the new face of quality—albeit hard-edged—hip-hop.
The rest of the lineup reads similarly: a roll call of hotly tipped acts you should pay attention to. No newcomers, Brazil’s Bonde Do Rolê led the baile funk craze before becoming a full-fledged pop act. Spaceghostpurrp represents for the A$AP Rocky crew, meaning cutting-edge rap. Mexico’s Toy Selectah, a DJ at the fore of the hip-hop en español movement, adds more to Mad Decent’s worldly perspective. On the local level, DJ Earl brings the obligatory footwork element, while DJ Zebo is sure to help propel the impending rise of trap rave. It’s guaranteed to teach you a thing or two about the “next shit,” as the rappers like to call it, and besides, knowing Diplo, dude will probably show up anyway.