Memorial Day for most is a three-day long celebration to kick off summer, but Rhymesayers Entertainment and a sold-out crowd of 30,000 needed only one day to make it hot during Soundset at Canterbury Park in Shakopee on Sunday.
The outdoor festival, complete with a car show, skateboard exhibition, food vendors, and four stages of music, crammed 37 hip-hop artists and DJs into a 10-hour celebration of hip hop culture, Minnesota lifestyle, and the start of summer. In its seventh year, Soundset sold out for the first time in festival history thanks to warm, mostly cloudy weather, and a co-headline bill of Atmosphere, Wiz Khalifa, and Nas.
Festivities began with DJ sets at 11 a.m. Beats and rhyming continued until just after dusk with Atmosphere closing out the day. Highlights included Nas celebrating the 20th anniversary of his debut album Illmatic and Wiz Khalifa celebrating the release of his new EP 28 Grams.
Khalifa raised concern for promoters and fans earlier in the day after an arrest at El Paso International Airport for possession of marijuana delayed his arrival at the festival. Khalifa, not to be denied, took a private jet from Texas to Minnesota, arrived on time to his performance before an eager, energetic crowd and released his new EP online shortly after his set.
Other main stage artists included (in order of appearance): DJ Fundo, deM atlaS, The Grouch & Eligh, Ab-Soul, G-Eazy, Grieves, Prof, Chance the Rapper, Earlwolf, Cypress Hill, and 2 Chainz. Sway Calloway, host of Sway in the Morning on Sirius XM channel Shade 45, served as host for the day.
Stay connected with Soundset at the following:
-Traffic was gridlocked on 169 southbound between Highway 13 and Canterbury Road due to the influx of festival attendees. Some concert-goers reported a 90 minute travel time between Savage and Shakopee.
-Food and beer selection was average. Dishes included Lotzza Motzza Brew Pub Pizza, pork chop on a stick, fajitas, corn dogs, hot dogs, and hamburgers.
-The only thing more prevalent than the smell of marijuana was the dust kicked up by 30,000 attendees at the dry Canterbury fairground.