Pitchfork is giving fans of hip-hop, soul, and R&B plenty to look forward to: Anderson .Paak & the Free Nationals, BJ the Chicago Kid, Jeremih, Kamasi Washington, Mick Jenkins, Thundercat, Miguel. But there are dozens more performers on the bill, and part of the appeal of a big, diverse music festival is that listeners can branch out and explore artists operating in genres outside their comfort zones. It’s a good way to get your money’s worth (those passes aren’t cheap) and enjoy everything Pitchfork has to offer. For the heads who can’t fathom listening to anything but hip-hop, soul, and R&B, here’s a guide to a more holistic festival experience.
If you like: Mick Jenkins, BJ the Chicago Kid
Check out: Moses Sumney
Moses Sumney’s guest vocals on Tessa Thompson’s “Shed You” (from the Creed soundtrack) have some of the churchy vibrato BJ the Chicago Kid uses on “Love Inside” and the lulling, ethereal beauty of Mick Jenkins’s “Comfortable.” Sumney is fairly new to the big stage, but his music is going in an intriguing direction.
Moses Sumney: “Shed You,” “Everlasting Sigh”
BJ the Chicago Kid: “His Pain” and “Church”
Mick Jenkins: “Comfortable” and “Healer”
If you like: Jeremih
Check out: Blood Orange
The mystique of Blood Orange’s “Sandra’s Smile” summons the same sort of butterflies that rev up whenever Jeremih’s “Planez” comes on the radio during a late-night cruise down Lake Shore Drive. Blood Orange’s style is all over the place: British indie pop with hints of rock, funk, soul, and folk. But if “Sandra’s Smile” is any indication of what his Pitchfork set will be like, he’s worth checking out.
Blood Orange: “Sandra’s Smile,” “Sutphin Boulevard,” “Bad Girls”
Jeremih: “Oui,” “Planez,” “Impatient”
If you like: Anderson .Paak & the Free Nationals
Check out: Empress Of
Empress Of is mesmerizing on “Standard,” with its climactic strings, heavy 808s, and breathy refrain. The lyrics explore the distance between the haves and the have-nots, which aligns with the social consciousness Anderson .Paak fans seek amid smoove grooves such as “The Season/Carry Me.” Warning: Empress Of teeters on the fluffy side of pop at times, but the gems are worth the wait.
Empress Of: “Standard,” “Champagne,” “Don’t Tell Me”
Anderson .Paak: “Am I Wrong,” “The Season/Carry Me,” “The Waters”
If you like: Thundercat
Check out: Beach House
Beach House’s otherworldly sound is soothing, moody, and dreamy—all qualities reminiscent of Thundercat’s “Where the Giants Roam,” the last track on his 2015 album The Beyond / Where the Giants Roam. Thundercat, whose bass work has grown in popularity thanks in part to his production on Kendrick’s To Pimp a Butterfly, shares with this indie-rock duo the type of thought-provoking harmonies that send you deep into your soul on a Sunday afternoon, while you’re sipping wine and searching for the cure to whatever first-world problem is wrecking your brain.
Beach House: “One Thing,” “The Traveller,” “Myth”
Thundercat: “Song for the Dead,” “Them Changes,” “Lone Wolf and Cub”
If you like: Kamasi Washington
Check out: Broken Social Scene
Broken Social Scene and saxophonist Kamasi Washington are both into flexing their instrumental IQs, though the former typically caters to the indie-rock ear and the latter (with his ten-piece band, the Next Step) is hip to the Miles Davis school of thought. Get a feel for Broken Social Scene’s drums-forward vulnerability on “7/4 (Shoreline)” and Washington’s sensitivity on “Isabelle.”
Broken Social Scene: “7/4 (Shoreline),” “Sweetest Kill,” “Anthems for a Seventeen Year-Old Girl”
Kamasi Washington: “Isabelle,” “Cherokee,” “Final Thought”
If you like: Miguel
Check out: FKA Twigs
Both artists are doing exciting, experimental things with R&B, pushing the sounds of Marvin Gaye and Prince to new psychedelic heights with electro-pop melodies and emo bass. FKA Twigs’s “Two Weeks” and Miguel’s “The Valley” both capture the essence of a spirit looking for love—though the latter is a little more cannibalistic. Dark sexiness and amorous introspection link the two.
FKA Twigs: “Pendulum,” “Two Weeks,” “Good to Love”
Miguel: All of Kaleidoscope Dream, “The Valley,” “Waves” (remix featuring Travis Scott) v