For a festival boasting two major rap acts as the headliners, hip-hop heads might feel a little hoodwinked by the rest of the Life Is Beautiful lineup. Of the 69 musical acts on the bill, only eight fall into the hip-hop genre—and that’s including seedy alternative R&B act The Weeknd and DJ Mustard, the man responsible for producing all of this year’s ass-clappers. So, really, six. Of the remainders, there’s G-Eazy, who makes obnoxious frat-rap, and The Roots, because a festival ain’t a festival without a band that plays every festival. Two are Vegas-bred: the weed-smoking and peace-loving Dizzy Wright and “heart-hopper” Ekoh, who makes his second LIB appearance. And then there’s Kanye, who you absolutely hate if you’re not a rap fan. And if you say you are a rap fan but you hate Kanye, what you really mean is that you bought an A Tribe Called Quest CD and took an ethnic studies class 15 years ago. Shut up with your “real hip-hop” dissertation. The highlight of the entire festival is undoubtedly the reunion of Outkast, who you, your momma and your cousin all love, even if the only song you know is “Hey Ya.”
Sure, this year’s hip-hop selection is a step up in wow factor, but it’s top-heavy. Last year covered some middle ground with under-the-radio-radar rappers Chancellor Warhol, Earl Sweatshirt, Danny Brown and a pre-“3005” Childish Gambino. While other genres are represented by exciting and budding talent, this year’s hip-hop menu seems like it was slapped together during a Jimmy Fallon commercial break. Part of the fun of music festivals is discovering new artists. As far as rap goes, all we’ve got are the ghosts of Coachellas past.