Last year’s Pot of Gold Music Festival featured four days of music. This year’s is down to just two, but Lucky Man Concerts is making them count, doubling down on hip-hop for a festival that promises two of the most significant rap concerts that will happen in Phoenix this year. Future, who dominated hip-hop in 2015 more than anyone not named Drake or Kendrick, headlines Thursday night, and renowned hitmaker Big Sean will top the Saturday bill.
It’s hard to decide which day offers more excitement — indie hip-hop legends Atmosphere, reggae-influenced Dirty Heads, Ty Dolla $ign (who had a minor DJ Mustard-produced hit, “Blase,” that featured Future), and ska legends Fishbone will join Future on Thursday. On Saturday, reggae-rockers 311 and Rebelution will join the party, as will reggae singer Protoje, rappers Rae Sremmurd and Earl Sweatshirt, and locals Katastro and Mouse Powell.
Rae Sremmurd's last appearance in Phoenix came at the Super Bowl in 2015, where the group made a high-energy cameo during Rihanna and Kanye West's concert at the DirecTV private party in Glendale. Big Sean headlined last year's festival, and Atmosphere, Ty Dolla $ign, Earl Sweatshirt, 311, and Rebelution are no strangers to Arizona concerts. But this might be Future's first time headlining a show this size in the Valley. Fun stuff. Here are the acts you need to pay attention to this weekend.
Tickets to the Pot of Gold Music Festival are $65 a day, and a two-day pass will run you $110. VIP tickets are $175 per day, or $300 for a two-day pass.
Future released EVOL in early February, capping a remarkable 13-month flurry of activity during which he released four mixtapes (Beast Mode, 56 Nights, What a Time To Be Alive [with Drake], and Purple Reign) and an additional full-length, DS2. The man was absolutely on fire, and he's even announced that he'll release another mixtape in May. Just absolutely astounding. Future is headlining the festival on Thursday, March 17.
Big Sean don't fuck with you. That's all you need to know. Dark Sky Paradise, his 2015 album, topped the Billboard 200 chart last year, and with Kanye West acting as his mentor (Big Sean is signed to West's Roc Nation label), his career is looking bright. Big Sean performs on Saturday.
Ty Dolla $ign
Ty Dolla $ign's life hasn't been easy. His little brother, TC, is serving a 64 years for a gang-related murder, and the rapper maintains his brother's innocence. His album, Free TC, which came out in November, tells his little brother's story. Rebecca Haithcoat of our sister paper LA Weekly describes the album: "Its cover art is from TC's vantage point, Ty's 'Free TC'-tattooed knuckles pressed against a prison visiting room's glass partition. Ty, who maintains his brother is innocent, has been mentioning the case in his songs since at least 2008's "Ghetto," and he's announced that proceeds from the album's sales will go toward TC's appeal." He a rapper with a mission, a statement underlined by Kendrick Lamar's appearance on the first track of Free TC. Ty Dolla $ign performs on Thursday.
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Earl Sweatshirt's album I Don't Like Shit, I Don't Go Outside is an ode to the wallflowers, to the kids who never felt like they fit in. As part of Odd Future, Earl Sweatshirt rose to fame as his hip-hop collective gained notoriety, but his story practically eclipsed those of his buddies — his mother sent him to boarding school in Samoa (he was still a teen), which had the effect of building Earl's mystique. IDLSIDGO is the culmination of all that, and it shows that it was worth the wait. Earl Sweatshirt performs on Saturday.
Everyday Sunshine, the fabulous Fishbone documentary directed by Chris Metzler and Lev Anderson, unflinchingly documents ska-punk-metal-reggae-and-everything-else band Fishbone as the band hits some particularly hard times. The documentary is great for fans of the band and the genre, but it also tells the story of what happens when a talented and influential band can't master the industry side of the music business and is interesting for anyone who ever wondered why their favorite band never made it big. The documentary jump-started Fishbone's career, and now the band has toured successfully for several years. Their show is high-energy as ever and should not be missed. Fishbone is playing on Thursday.