The rapper cut his set at Camp Flog Gnaw short after upset fans, who were expecting Frank Ocean, booed and heckled him
The attendees at Camp Flog Gnaw the Los Angeles music festival founded by Tyler, the Creator were buzzing Sunday night. Everyone wanted to know who the surprise guest was. Many were convinced it would be Frank Ocean. His name was all you heard while standing in line, as if the infamous recluse could be wished into existence.
And then the marquee guest came out: Drake. Despite having more top 10 hits than the Beatles, introducing a new sound into rap music and selling out stadiums, his presence still wasnt good enough for some at Camp Flog Gnaw. He wasnt Frank.
It quickly became obvious to Drake that the crowd wasnt feeling him. He powered his way through hits like Started From The Bottom and The Motto, but the energy never peaked as one would expect for the 6 God.
While some in the crowd danced and sung along, others became visibly upset. Drake seemed to be fighting for validation, repeatedly asking: Can I do one more? Is that all right with you?, before cutting his set short. A video later circulated on Twitter featuring crowd members booing and heckling the rapper.
Tyler, the Creator responded to his fans dismissal of Drake the next morning. I THOUGHT BRINGING ONE OF THE BIGGEST ARTIST ON THE FUCKING PLANET TO A MUSIC FESTIVAL WAS FIRE! BUT FLIPSIDE, A LIL TONE DEAF KNOWING THE SPECIFIC CROWD IT DREW. SOME CREATED A NARRATIVE IN THEIR HEAD AND ACTED OUT LIKE ASSHOLES WHEN IT DIDNT COME TRUE AND I DONT FUCK WITH THAT.
Then he updated his bio: Embarrassed by my fans right now.
The controversy risked overshadowing an exciting festival that shows how far Tyler, the Creators original vision has come in only eight years.
This year, over 45,000 concertgoers came out dressed in Golf Wang hoodies and Golf Wang x Converse sneakers and danced along to the predominantly R&B and hip-hop artists that fit into the forward-looking sonic world Tyler, the Creator and his Odd Future crew have helped construct. FKA Twigs, Solange, HER, Blood Orange, and DaBaby all performed sets. Tylers power to draw out the culturally interesting teens and artists of today represents his rarified ability to recognize and exploit trends. (In many ways, we can thank Tyler for the weird, interesting era of R&B and hip-hop were currently in his Odd Future collective helped birth vanguard artists like Frank Ocean, the Internet and Earl Sweatshirt.)
Camp Flog Gnaw Festival, at its core, is millennial black entrepreneurship. Tyler, 28, staged his first version of the festival eight years ago, back when it was still undecided what the energetic, PC-averse rappers enduring place in pop culture would be. That first staging was a small, one-day affair, held in the parking lot of LAs Nokia Theater. Since then Camp Flog Gnaw has grown into a large-scale, two-day, neon-lit carnival-meets-concert-meets-immersive shopping experience held at Dodger Stadium every fall.
Solange performed a sleepy set, mostly featuring the overly transcendental, airy tracks from her recent album, When I Get Home. The set caught energy when she devoted time to her standout album A Seat at the Table, the crowd connecting with the black empowerment anthem FUBU.
Overall, Camp Flog Gnaw found a way to bring indie and niche to the big stage.
Blood Orange. HER, and Summer Walker delivered some of the festivals strongest performances representing the exciting experimentation taking place in R&B while also honoring the past. HER paid respect to Prince by wearing a bedazzled jacket depicting the Purple Rain cover, and sang the chorus of Michael Jacksons What About Us at one point. While Blood Orange let his impressive falsetto and guitar playing shine while singing hits such as Youre Not Good Enough.
During his explosive concert on Saturday, Tyler donned a Warholian blond wig and gyrated in awkward but strangely alluring ways. This all while singing lyrics like Ive been kissing white boys since 2004. But for all his straightforwardness, Tyler has not publicly discussed his sexuality. Some may call it queer-baiting. But after seeing the interesting pastiche of LGBTQ fans and straight bros at Camp Flog Gnaw, I now think Tyler is interested in being the kind of artist who transcends labels. Its something so many artists strive for, but rarely achieve.
The self-described boy band Brockhampton also encapsulate the casual diversity of Camp Flog Gnaw. The rappers are an interesting mixture of race (there are multiple white members and one Pakistani member) and sexuality (Kevin Abstract is publicly out). With Brockhampton, a lyric like He gave me good head, peepin out while the windows tinted is unremarkable to the crowd.
Perhaps this is why Drakes surprise appearance was so disastrous.
The tepid response to the most popular rapper of today (sales-wise, at least) represented the strict tastes of Camp Flog Gnaw attendees. They want artists who are doing interesting things someone Drake once was but is not any more. In their eyes, he was not cool enough to be there.