From Governors Ball 2018: Saturday Sound Bites

Rapper and producer Jay Electronica’s performance at the Governors Ball on Saturday, June 2 on the Bacardi stage was deceptively stunning. At first, his performance felt all too tired and familiar. The 41-year-old New Orleans native took to the stage donning a plain white button up shirt and white shorts. Jay Electronica's performance was seemingly typical at first as he danced blandly across the stage and rapped over his music. The rapper did an excellent job of punctuating his words as he rapped a capella, but besides that, Jay Electronica added nothing of note as he stuck to his music. However, Jay Electronica proved himself intriguing as time went on. At one point, seemingly engrossed in the moment, he began urging fans to come onstage to join and dance with him as he performed, as long as they weren’t too afraid to cross the barricades to do so. “Just be respectful...Just be civil,” Jay Electronica said, the only warning he gave his fans as masses began to flock to the stage. Hordes of fans climbed multiple sets of barricades and then climbed the stage itself in order to dance onstage with the rapper. Some festival goers began to scale the stage supports, and more and more fans attempted to get onto the stage well after Jay Electronica had told fans to stop pressing forward. Eventually, security came onstage and began to escort fans back into the crowd, despite Jay Electronica's demands for security to let them stay. Even though his set started off slowly, Jay Electronica put on a unique, memorable performance.

Ethiopian-American singer-songwriter Kelela drew a large crowd at the American Eagle Stage, which remained comparably more relaxed than other crowds throughout the festival. Kelela took to the stage with her song “LMK” off of her 2017 debut album, “Take Me Apart.” As the soulful yet light song began, Kelela entered the stage under a dramatic spotlight amidst the screams of an audience that preferred sitting to standing. Wearing a white flowing dress, and flanked by two backup dancers wearing matching light blue costumes, Kelela began singing. Synth sound effects enveloped the arena, and percussive, punctuated clicks shot across the space. Flashing purple and blue lights beamed over the stage, and coupled with Kelela’s quiet beat drops, they set a pleasant atmosphere for the performance. For the duration of her entire concert, Kelela’s soulful crooning created an echoing effect, most prominently heard in her hit song, “Frontline.” Kelela had a strong vocal performance as her sustained notes did not waver, and created angelic effects during soulful harmonies with the background singers. Kelela addressed fans from time to time, asking, “You ready to go all night?” Kelela’s performance set an easy tone at the festival as Kelela performed with passion evident in her voice and a calm demeanor.

A restless, agitated crowd flooded the Honda Stage in preparation of rapper 2 Chainz. As suspense mounted for his arrival, audience members began chanting and screaming, with a few fights breaking out. Finally, 2 Chainz took to the stage donning a red and white tropical print shirt. The rapper’s name flashed on screens in the background and the stage’s sides, depicted in white capital letters juxtaposed atop volcanic effects. Often, the stage flickered to bear the acronym “T.R.U.,” with the phrase “The Real University” written underneath them, an homage to 2 Chainz’s independent record label. He also promoted his upcoming album, “Rap or Go to the League,” with one of its songs, which he dedicated to his mother. One of the most memorable moments of the performance was when 2 Chainz told the audience to put their fingers up if they had a problem before launching into the 2012 hit “Fuckin’ Problems,” a crowd favorite. As he rapped, the background displayed footage of dancing women. After the song, 2 Chainz proclaimed his love for the city of Atlanta and informed the audience that he is a Virgo who loves long walks to the bank. Like Post Malone who performed the day before, 2 Chainz stopped his performance twice to call attention to security of people in the crowd who were in dangerous situations, and security made its way through the unsettled crowd. 2 Chainz put on an energetic performance as he fed off of his audience’s energy, and the hyper audience connected ardently with 2 Chainz’s zeal as a result.

41-year-old rapper Pusha T has recently captivated the public’s attention in his diss track war with Canadian rapper Drake. Especially provocative is Pusha T’s song, “The Story of Adidon,” in which he claims Drake has a son he has kept secret, and outs the child’s alleged mother. Amidst this frenzy, when Pusha T took to the American Eagle Stage at Governors Ball in a last-minute replacement of the rap group BROCKHAMPTON, cheers of “Fuck Drake!” rang from audience members. Pusha T entered to hysteric shouts from the crowd. “Sometimes, they call me King Push,” he declared proudly. When he launched into “The Story of Adidon,” the fastest ever song to reach one million views on Genius, the crowd went wild, increasingly hurling insults against Drake. Also captivating was Pusha T’s cover of Kanye West’s “Runaway” and his sample of West’s “No More Parties in L.A.” The rapper crowed about what he declared would be a “surgical summer,” in reference to an upcoming project titled “Surgical Summer, Volume 1.” In Pusha T’s “Come Back Baby,” the bass reverberated around the entire area as he rapped with force. Though very much reliant on his current and somewhat unprecedented recent fame, Pusha T was able to put on an impassioned performance and rile up his audience.

—Staff writer Ajibabi O. Oloko can be reached at



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