In the reasonably near future, when President Jaden Smith presides over the Scientology wing of the White House and self-driving iCars croon Snapchat news in Auto-Tune, it will be possible to attend a different music festival every week of the year. This stratum of the economy will be responsible for one-fourth of American GDP and be standardized to ensure maximum stability.
Hence, every three-day, Heineken-sponsored orgy will boast the same lineup, and a constitutional amendment will ensure that each includes some iteration of Diplo. (In the event of his untimely demise, a cloned legion of Diplii will be waiting and ready to rave.)
FYF will be the lone exception. As the festival world has become increasingly generic, L.A.’s homegrown, two-day event has doubled down on its singularity, continuing to curate eclectic bills with the most eccentric and interesting artists. If this is the age of the playlist, FYF is its platonic ideal, the most well-booked lineup of the summer of 2016.
Once criticized for slanting too heavily toward indie rock and punk, FYF has expanded to include the best rappers and dance music acts. Roughly 92 percent of the performers playing this Saturday and Sunday at Exposition Park can and will be described by the flame emoji.
These are 10 of the many acts you’d be unwise to miss.
File this Bay Area rapper somewhere between Suga T of The Click, Too Short and YG. For the latter, she laced an indelible hook on “Why You Always Hatin’?” Of course, the question was rhetorical; hating on Kamaiyah is impossible.
Not yet as celebrated as his labelmate Kendrick Lamar, the other Compton rapper on the FYF bill deserves similar attention for his ferocious live performances and introspective tales of social media thirst, parenthood and the dualities between the worlds of God and guns.
8. Todd Terje
Look, I dunno where you hang out, but I’m pretty sure this is going to be the best Norwegian space disco party of the summer.
7. Rae Sremmurd
I’m not trying to say that Rae Sremmurd are better than The Beatles, but reliable sources say that the release of their Gucci Mane–buoyed “Black Beatles” shook up Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney so much that they tried to summon John Lennon and George Harrison via séance.
6. Wolf Parade
Most mid-’00s indie rock has aged like Johnny Depp in a fedora, but these Canadian Queen Mary apologists left behind a quietly outstanding troika of albums. This year’s reunion might not have earned the four-cowbell alarm of LCD Soundsystem, but it’s equally welcome.
5. Vince Staples
The north side of Long Beach birthed America’s foremost Ray J enthusiast and high-waist jeans connoisseur. He’s also a noted anti-gentrification advocate, pop culture critic and one of the best rappers on the planet. The world is better for Vince Staples. Offer this man a Sprite toast.
4. Young Thug
The Atlanta rapper took Lil Wayne’s elasticity to galaxies that Hubble couldn’t find, made dresses cooler than any man since Kurt Cobain, and revitalized the name “Jeffrey” in ways that seemed unthinkable just a generation ago. If he isn’t better than Kendrick, he’s the closest one.
3. Grace Jones
There is no way to describe Grace Jones in this limited space. Just be there. If you don’t believe me, go to YouTube and watch her sing “Slave to the Rhythm” in an Ursula jumpsuit while Hula-Hooping at the Queen of England’s Diamond Jubilee.
2. LCD Soundsystem
They’re on the final leg of the best reunion since the first song on 1997’s Wu-Tang Forever.
1. Kendrick Lamar
The most important rapper of the moment headlining the best festival in his hometown. Even 2Pac will re-emerge from his Havana hideout to attend.
FYF FEST | 700 Exposition Park Drive,? Exposition Park | Saturday-Sunday,? Aug. 27-28, 2 p.m. | fyffest.com
An L.A. native, Jeff Weiss edits Passion of the Weiss and hosts the Shots Fired podcast. Find him online at passionweiss.com.
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