Pitchfork Day 2: Schoolboy Q and Chromatics

July 14, 2012

Pitchfork's celebration of on-the-rise rap artists continued with Schoolboy Q on the Blue stage. Q (legally Quincy Matthew Hanley) is a big guy with a gravelly voice and a gregarious personality. His flow seems suited to storytelling, but like his pal A$AP Rocky, Q is mostly just talking about weed. Not anything specific or interesting about weed, just the fact that he has it and likes to smoke it. Take for instance this lyric from early in his set: "Got no money, but I got some weed." That last part is the refrain and it really drove the crowd crazy. It was really boring to me. It got me thinking that maybe marijuana should be legalized just to get talented rappers like Q to tackle more interesting subject matter.

Q could do better because he clearly has a good sense of humor. At one point he gave a shout out to "all my white n*ggas," saying "I don't think rappers give enough respect to the white n*ggas, but that's who's always at my shows." Maybe that wry humor comes through on his recorded output, but onstage all nuance was lost.

Chromatics following Schoolboy Q made no sense in the Blue Stage schedule. It was probably a concession to sound bleed issues from the Hot Chip set on the Red stage. The two bands both played UK styles of dance music and when walking between stages the fest felt like one huge dance club.

Specifically Chromatics play Factory Records-style dance music, occasionally channeling bits of New Order vibes. Clad in all black, the Portland, Oregon-based band started with an instrumental before lead singer, Ruth Radalet took the stage in a bright red top intended as the focal point of the set.

The moody restrained vocals paired with a steady driving beat was stylistically close to what Lower Dens' more poppy moments on Friday. The difference is Chromatics' music is clearly intended for the disco, or at least a steamy Ryan Gosling film soundtrack.