Contributing Writer : Todd Walton, CEO @ The Hip-Hop Democrat (

This past labor day weekend marked the inaugural North Coast Music Festival here in Chicago. I can definitely say it won’t be the last, with an eclectic mix of people, sounds, and an overall environment highlighting the best collaboration of seasoned and fresh music from a variety of genres.

The hip hop portion of the festival definitely lived up to the expectations with all the performers representing for the fans and the culture. The Hip hop lineup for North Coast combined veterans and up n’ coming stars of the genre including jay electronica, de la soul, lupe fiasco, and Distant Relatives Nas & Damien Marley.

Jay Electronica kicked it off on Saturday, with a high energy set, which at one point included him bringing a small army of fans on stage with him to assist with a few songs. Definitely not a disappointment he set the mode for a highly anticipated De la soul performance which captured the true essence of Hip Hop featuring a guest appearance from Black Sheep.

The North Coast Fest was rounded out on Sunday with epic performances by two Hip Hop Heavyweights. First Lupe took the stage performing hits from his vast catalog of music including his hit single “I’m Beamin” from his highly anticipated, yet to be released project Lasers. To end the night fans watched as two music icons, Nas and Damien Marley, took the stage performing hits from their new album “Distant Relatives”, providing a breath of fresh air for true hip hop fans while giving a performance that will not soon be forgotten.

The energy of North Coast Fest was just incredible, and I can’t even call it an event as it was much more than that and more along the lines of an experience. In a city known for Lallopolooza and many other festivals, North Coast Music Festival definitely made its mark on music fans from all over the nation, and will definitely be marked on the calendar for 10′s of thousand music fans for years to come…An overall CLASSIC.

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