Last week, I left NYC to attend the second annual Foxtail Festival at District 9ne in Philadelphia. It was somewhat subdued for a festival focused on hip-hop, but ultimately successful affair featuring a variety of local and established rappers and singers, including SZA, A$AP Mob, Chynna and others.
“It’s not Coachella, but for sure all of the performers represented,” one festival-goer said.
The festival was held indoors, unlike the first one, in 2013, which was spread out over an entire weekend at the Tubman-Garrett Riverfront Park in Wilmington, Delaware.
“Yeah, it wasn’t really how I expected it to be, especially because of all the dope artists they had on the lineup,” another attendee said. “And it’s inside—that’s kind of different for a festival.”
Organizers made sure to include locals on their roster, including Philadelphia rapper Asaad, who is currently on the “These Days” tour with rapper Ab-Soul. Since I wasn’t as familiar with his music as I was with some of the others, I spoke with him after his set to see what he was about.
“Truthfully speaking I’m a kid from North Philadelphia,” he said. “A lot of my music is talking about some of my experiences that I’ve seen growing up. I found a way out of the streets, so I’m shedding light on how it is.”
I also asked about his tour with Ab-soul and if he’s ever in New York. He mentioned that he just came back from seeing the Jeff Koons exhibit at the Whitney Museum.
“Yea! Ab-soul that’s my brother, he hit me up like aye you trying to come on tour? And I was like, sure,” he said.
In one of the festival’s stranger moments, acrobats proceeded to swing from the very low ceiling during A$AP Mob’s performance. Though it didn’t seem to fit the occasion, the audience and rappers on stage both seemed to get a kick out of it, which somewhat lightened the mood.
After A$AP Mob’s performance, Philadelphia native Chynna came out, and seemingly without trying, blew the crowd away by rapping her most popular song “Glen Coco” twice. We had plans to catch up after the show and get in a quick interview at the famous Philly cheesteak spot Ishkabibble’s, but sadly my video camera died.
The show ended with the glitter trap sounds of New Jersey singer SZA, who came a bit late but was the only artist who the audience seemed to be waiting for. As she prepared backstage, the crowd began to chant her name, and shortly after, she came out to one of her most popular songs, “HiiJack,” from her recent album Z.
While this wasn’t the kind of hip-hop show one would catch in NYC, all of the artists performed as if they were headliners at Madison Square Garden, which made the trip worth it.