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The Top Seven Artists at Goldrush 2018

Vince Staples will perform at Goldrush 2018.
Vince Staples will perform at Goldrush 2018.
Courtesy Def Jam Recordings

It's getting colder, y'all (well, less warm), and we all know what that means: Festival season is coming. This weekend, Goldrush Festival will kick things off with a heaping helping of EDM and hip-hop. Of course, festivals can be a lot like panning for gold – so many rocks, so little precious gems – which is why we've picked out the diamonds in the rough just for you. Here arePhoenix New Times' favorite acts at Goldrush 2018.

Vince Staples
It’s been over a year since Vince Staples dropped his project Big Fish Theory, and the Long Beach rapper will be stopping by Chandler before he returns to Glendale to perform with Childish Gambino. Staples is not one to adhere to anyone’s standards when it comes to his music, and Big Fish features futuristic sounds you don’t typically hear from rappers, unless you’re Kanye West: "Yeah Right," for example, features production from English avant-garde producer Sophie and Australian electronic musician Flume. The album's blend of hip-hop, techno, and even U.K. garage means that Vince will fit right in at Goldrush. Julio Lugo

It has become a cliche to say a certain artist or type of music "defines the Trump era," but JPEGMAFIA's album Veteran certainly defines the feeling. Released earlier this year, it's an exhausting, politically conscious slurry of noise, bizarre samples, SoundCloud-style ad-libs, and potent lyrics only a child of the internet could devise. Of course, don't think this means his music is too artsy to enjoy: Ordinary hip-hop heads will find plenty of opportunities to turn up in this former Air Force man's tracks, while fans of groups like Death Grips will love his experimental edge. Also, one of his songs is called "I Cannot Fucking Wait Til Morrissey Dies" and honestly same. Douglas Markowitz

Music is life or death for a lot of people, but for TOKiMONSTA, a.k.a. Jennifer Lee, that idea became startlingly literal. In 2015, the Los Angeles-based beatmaker was diagnosed with Moyamoya, a rare and nearly fatal disease that required multiple brain surgeries to vanquish. It also caused Lee to lose the ability to walk, talk, or understand speech and sound, meaning that, for a while at least, she couldn't make music. But she recovered, and the album she made after suffering through the ordeal, Lune Rouge, is her most formidable release yet. Douglas Markowitz

Juice WRLD
Flashback to May: Juice WRLD drops the music video for “Lucid Dreams,” directed by hip-hop video savant Cole Bennett, introducing the 19-year-old Chicago rapper to the masses. Flash-forward to now: After "Lucid Dreams" peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100, Juice WRLD is now one of the hottest SoundCloud rappers in the game and has helped solidify the "emo rap" sound pioneered by guys like Lil Peep. He's even worked with one of the sound's originators, Lil Uzi Vert, on his song "Wasted." Goldrush attendees can expect to let out their teenage angst when WRLD performs "All Girls Are the Same." Julio Lugo

Rich the Kid
The man is rich, yet still a kid at heart. From challenging other rappers and local skaters to a game of S.K.A.T.E. to being the CEO of his Rich Forever Music label, Rich the Kid does it all. Being in control of business is something the Queens-born rapper takes to heart, hence the title of his newest project The World Is Yours. Aside from his beef with Lil Uzi Vert, he's had a great year with the major successes of singles “New Freezer” and “Plug Walk," and his collaborative mixtape with Jay Critch and Famous Dex, Rich Forever 3. Julio Lugo

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This year's XXL Freshman Class featured four artists from the SoundCloud rap epicenter of South Florida, but out of that group, Wifisfuneral is a bit of a black sheep. Aside from being the only member from Palm Beach County, he doesn't rap about Gucci and Louis at nearly the same rate as his classmates Lil Pump and Smokepurpp. No, Yung Wifi's much more introspective, weaving stories about depression and drugs and the serious consequences of both. His Ethernet tape from this year features gloomy beats, references to elder rap gods like Kendrick Lamar on "25 Lighters," and skillful rapping from Wifi and featured players like Key! and Jay Critch. Douglas Markowitz

Dance music is lousy with masked DJs, all with a gimmick of their own. Daft Punk: They're robots! Deadmau5: He's a mouse or something? Claptone is much the same, hiding under a funny hat and a golden-beaked mask that looks like a cross between a medieval plague doctor and an extra from Eyes Wide Shut, but what he's not hiding is his complex mythos. Apparently he emerged generations ago from a dark wood as a mysterious, bird-shaped being bathed in golden light. Whatever, dude! The story may be a little much, but Claptone's suave, sensual mix of house and techno is nothing to hide behind. Mask off for this one, boys and girls. Douglas Markowitz

Goldrush 2018. Saturday, September 29, and Sunday, September 30, at Rawhide Western Town and Event Center, 5700 West North Loop Road, Chandler; 480-502-5600; goldrushfestaz.com. Tickets are $106.85 to $213.10 via goldrushfestaz.com.

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