There isn't much hip-hop on Coachella's main stage this year, which marks a significant shift from 2011 and 2012, when
Bronson, the rotund chef-turned-MC who broke out with a series of cooking-related mixtapes, spent as much of his performance in the audience as he did onstage, bellying his way through an amped-up crowd as he delivered rhymes about food ("Ginger ale and hot sauce / Two things I live by") and his home turf of Queens. The journey came at a cost -- namely, Bronson's T-shirt, which he lost, "over there somewhere," he said while pointing -- but still provided a dose of unscripted rowdiness that's rare at this micromanaged extravaganza.
Detroit-based Brown wasn't as antic (or as entertaining), though his high-pitched squawk of a voice offered a welcome change of pace after Bronson's gruff bark. It also helped to make his sex-obsessed rhymes -- delivered over beats that took in harsh snare cracks as well as a chopped-up sample of
"I'm the black
No less a charmer (and perhaps even more sex-obsessed) than Brown, 2 Chainz seemed close to exhausting his audience's goodwill when he showed up in the Mojave Tent nearly 20 minutes late -- a serious no-no at Coachella. But if the overflow crowd had been booing seconds before he took the stage, it quickly changed course when 2 Chainz ripped into his verses from Kanye West's "Mercy" and "Beez in the Trap" by
Backed by a six-piece live band, the rapper ran through a throbbing set of tunes from his "Based on a T.R.U. Story" album -- "Birthday Song," "I'm Different," "I Luv Dem Strippers" -- then took off as quickly as he'd arrived. Saturday night it'll be up to the Postal Service and Sigur Rós to top the excitement 2 Chainz brought to Coachella. They're not likely to succeed.
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