- 08 Jul 19
The final day of the Marlay Park festival featured standout sets from headliner Cardi B (pictured), Brockhampton, Vince Staples, Slowthai and Little Simz.
In both the mainstream charts and the underground scene, hip-hop has never been bigger. Embracing the zeitgeist of Irish youth culture in 2019, Longitude boasted a line-up that rivalled hip hop festivals in any other corner of the globe, including rap strongholds in the US and UK.
With sun-soaked, final day performances from the likes of Cardi B, Brockhampton and Vince Staples, the festival cemented its status as one of the most sensational – and sensationally successful – events for young people in this country.
A mosh pit mentality pervaded Slowthai’s performance, which came as no surprise given that the Northampton rapper has gained a notorious reputation for his punk-inspired approach to grime, since the breakout success of his RUNT EP last year. Slowthai was savouring every point, as he switched between strutting around in his personalised boxers, to crawling over stage equipment like a tattooed Gollum.
With his massive Mura Masa hit ‘Doorman’, the rapper formed the crowd into two giant cyclones – instructing them to sprint in anti-clockwise formation around two singled-out members of the audience. As expected, glorious chaos ensued. Other memorable moments of insanity included the Nothing Great About Britain rapper donning a Garda hat that had been thrown on stage, followed by a Kerry GAA jersey. With a star power that's only just lifting off, you can expect to see Slowthai at the top of festival bills this time next year.
The vibes were considerably mellower when Little Simz took to the stage shortly afterwards, but the London rapper left the crowd with no doubt about her status as one of the most exciting young female hip-hop artists of this generation. Backed by a live band, she ran through irresistible hits from her 2016 concept album Stillness in Wonderland, as well as her most recent acclaimed release, Grey Area. The prolific rapper's intricate, and always colourful, lyricism shone particularly bright during her moving performance of the 2017 single, 'Backseat'.
Taking clear pleasure in poking fun at the concept of the 'boy band', Brockhampton took to the main stage in silver space suits. While the group originally joined forces after meeting in an online Kanye West forum, they've fast become one of the most fearlessly original hip hop collectives since Odd Future. Featuring a stellar performance from their Belfast vocalist Ciarán "Bearface" McDonald, Brockhampton offered fans plenty of hits from their Saturation trilogy, as well as 2018's acclaimed Iridescence. Classics like 'JUNKY' had the ecstatic crowd shouting back every word.
Despite clashing stage times with Future, Vince Staples offered up one of the most memorable performances of the weekend. The deeply articulate Californian rapper – whose dark humour and starkly realist attitude towards his surroundings have produced some of the finest hip hop albums of this decade – took to the stage with 'FUN!' from his excellent 2018 release, FM! Against a creative backdrop of television screens, each showing the rapper cut into various well-known TV programmes, the audience was presented with The Vince Staples Show. While the throbbing bass drowned out some of Vince's most cutting lines, hits from FM!, Big Fish Theory and his classic debut, Summertime '06, packed plenty of dynamite regardless.
Capping off the night with her headline set at the Longitude main stage, Cardi B was sensational. Whether grinding against stage equipment or pouring a full bottle of water over herself, there was no predicting what the reigning queen of the hip hop charts was going to do next. The atmosphere was feverish, as Cardi launched into a string of sing-a-long hits, including 'Finesse', 'Money', 'Clout' and 'Bodak Yellow' - cheered on by Conor McGregor and his entourage throughout, who watched from the private viewing platform above the crowd.
Dancers and massive stage tricks aside, The Bronx rapper's warm likability and fearlessness won over even the sceptics. She came, she twerked, she conquered Longitude - but always with plenty of heart.
- Film & TV
- 19 May 22