Conscious Hip-Hop Stages a Comeback: 8.2 While the Pitchfork Festival has certainly featured its fair share of up-and-coming MCs – A$AP Rocky, Kendrick Lamar, Odd Future — the roots of rap have proved equally important. In 2007, De La Soul upped the ante with the scratch mastery of Prince Paul. In 2008, Public Enemy was up, scolding the powers that be with the still-scathing cry of It Takes a Nation to Hold Us Back.
Aziz Ansari Bombs the Backstage: 7.7 A send-up of the commodification in indie, Human Giant’s “Clell Tickle Indie Marketing Guru” sketch was filmed backstage at the fest in 2006. Featuring appearances by Ted Leo, Devendra Banhhart, and Tapes n’ Tapes, the Aziz-driven bombshell is capped by a threatening, profanity-laden intro in front of an actual festival audience.
Kanye Crashes Brooklyn Bowl: 8.5 While Chicago is its home, the Pitchfork Festival does have outposts beyond its borders. Splintering out with Brooklyn’s 2010 #offline incarnation, the fest hosted three days of warehouse darlings in Williamsburg. Kanye West was in on the event, popping up for a surprise performance at Brooklyn Bowl. Indie may have ruled all weekend, but Ye was still the winner.
Sonic Youth Remind Us That We Aren’t as Cool as We Think We Are: 10.0 At the height of the aughts, Pitchfork was a cred-bearer of such enormity that it seemed there was nothing cooler in existence. That is, until Sonic Youth humbled it and everyone gathered around with a heart-blasting performance of classic Daydream Nation in its entirety. With the band’s recent split, it seems even less likely that any of us (founder Ryan Schreiber included) will ever bask in such bright light ever again.