Six Pitchfork Acts To Look Out For in 2017

Six Pitchfork Acts To Look Out For in 2017

The Pitchfork Music Festival will be taking place at Union Park this upcoming weekend, consisting of 41 total performing acts, with the headliners being LCD Soundsystem, A Tribe Called Quest, and Solange to close out on Sunday. While of course we’re hella excited to see these headliners perform, there’s a list of artists and bands performing this weekend that contain a level of deep musical substance and authenticity, which has been reflective of the past Pitchfork festivals. We will be back this year covering the fest, so we compiled a list of artists that we are excited to cover this weekend. Feel free to use this as a guide on who you need to see while down there and if you run us, say wassup!


Known from her former acts as a previous drummer for the British rapper M.I.A., Madame Gandhi’s musical balance of electronic and hip-hop blends into a beautifully concise sound, using her past educational experiences and activism as a catalyst to bring female empowerment and intersectional feminism to the forefront. Back in 2015, she was bleeding freely on her period whilst competing in the London Marathon, which she has identified as a symbolic act to combat menstrual stigma around the world, sparking a viral conversation about how menstrual health and hygiene is treated in various cultures. With her powerful and politically-infused EP “Voices” which came out last October, Madame Gandhi does not shy away from tackling the force of toxic masculinity upon societal norms in today’s age. On “The Future is Female”, she raps “The biggest threat is a girl with a book/the system must make room for all that we do/we’ve been bleeding each month till we gave birth to you.” So, we know that she’s bound to stretch the floodgates of Pitchfork with a powerful and thought-provoking opening performance to the festival. Also, be sure to catch her at the Ace Hotel for the Pitchfork Afterparty, presented by Slo’Mo.


In the calandar year from 2016 to 2017, Kamaiyah’s trajectory has been exponential, and her recognition has been bubbling for the longest now, with guest appearances on YG’s “Why You Always Hatin” and E-40’s “Petty”. Not only that, but she also dropped her debut mixtape in March of 2016 titled “A Good Night in the Ghetto”, followed by a performance at SXSW. Now in 2017, with the solidified stamp of becoming a XXL Freshman (only the 5th female MC to do so), she has her sights on her next album Don’t Get It Twisted, which was slated to be released back in April but was delayed due to sample clearance issues. Aside from all that though, we see inspiration from past artists like TLC, Missy Elliot, Da Brat in Kamaiyah’s flow and cadence, even to the way she styles herself. The baggy overalls, the oversized metallic pants, the Adidas jumpsuits and bomber jackets, all that. It’s been a relatively wild first half of 2017 for the Oakland native, and it should go without saying that she’s most definitely gonna f**k up that stage.


Lætitia Tamko and her band Vagabon has been bulldozing through New York City’s ever-changing Indie Rock genre for the last three years. But for Tamko, her road to recognition was everything but simple. Similar to her, I grew up listening to a lot of DIY Indie bands in the Midwest Ohio region (Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati); these were regions where while the community was fully embracing and welcoming, I had wished for more people like me–young black people–to know it even existed, to embrace it and benefit from it the way I did. So with that, it was easy for me to find a certain connection with her music, and I found it immediately through her projects. Her debut LP Infinite Worlds has shaped her into a dynamically powerful band, the raw and loose electric guitar soothingly cut into the background of her tenor voice, as she pours her heart out on feeling regretful and short, such as one of her tracks titled “The Embers”. Peep the video above, and be sure to catch her at the Beat Kitchen on Saturday at 11pm for her official Pitchfork Afterparty.

MAD LIB: SAT | BLUE STAGE | 6:30 – 7:15PM

You’d have to have been living under a damn rock for the last 10+ years if you don’t know who Madlib is. Like, seriously though. The accolades and achievements that he’s received over his illustrious career, as well as his collaborations with artists like Erykah Badu, J Dilla, MF Doom, Lootpack, Ghostface Killah, Freddie Gibbs, Karriem Riggins–the list goes on and on. Returning back to Chicago after previously performing with Freddie Gibbs off their successful project Pinata in 2015, who knows what Madlib got cooking up this time around? He’s been relatively quiet as of late, so expect some exclusive joints to be played throughout his set, which might be a foreshadowing of a future project or perhaps a Quasimoto return? With Madlib, you never know what you’re gonna get. That’s what makes him so dangerously appealing.


With the indie scene becoming an increasing integral part of the hip-hop/R&B culture, Brooklyn singer Kilo Kish has become synonymous with the blurring of these genre boundaries. Coming off the success of her 2016 project titled Reflections in Real Time, Kilo had been touring with Vince Staples on his Wes Anderson-inspired “Life Aquatic Tour”, which ended this past April. With Kilo’s music, it takes a couple of listens to grasp the substance of what she’s portraying in her music. Her awkward and quirky rap styles and pauses, her synth-pop vocal cadence and flows mirroring that of FKA Twigs, yet in a much more personal and social-media-esque modulation. It’s of this generation of R&B. It’s subjectively universal. You might find yourself wondering whether or not you came across Kilo Kish’s music or rather did her music come across you?   


We were really delighted to have Jamila Woods join us back in June for Chitchat: Women in Music, our discussion panel reflecting on how women in the entertainment industry continue to battle against sexism, and the many issues they face in predominantly male spaces. So of course, we were even more excited when it was announced that she would be performing at Pitchfork this weekend, on the same night as Solange no less. It’s no secret that Jamila’s soulful and atmospheric presence on stage is incredibly encouraging; it’s a reassurement, a modern-day sermon that continues to uplift young black women across this country. In an ever-growing musical space where genres continue to blend to where it may become unidentifiable, Jamila Woods is a powerful reminder that she will continue to preach and sing the words of those who had come before her, with artists like Solange, Jill Scott, India Arie, Macy Gray. Most of all, its therapeutic and meditative ambience bleeds “Black Girl Magic”. So, of course this ain’t nothing new to us because we’ve been shouting through our rooftops about her for the longest, but we’re just thrilled to see that she will have the entire world in her space for at least 45 minutes this Sunday, and that’s more than enough for them to grasp it.

Take a listen to our pitchfork playlist below to get you ready for the fest!