Basel 2013: Kendrick Lamar Ruled, Kanye West Was a No-Show at Mana Wynwood
Morgan Coleman You were #1 last night, Kendrick.
Last night, I tweeted at Kanye West for the first time ever. Did I think he'd read the tweet? No, duh. But I did want to document that my feet hurt a lot, and that it was his fault entirely.
A substantial group gathered under the Flaunt magazine tent in Wynwood waiting for Kanye to arrive. The audience steadily melted, along with the mud on the totally naked performers' bodies. We -- nude ladies and black-clad crowd -- all ended up collapsing slowly to the floor with fatigue. Kanye was supposed to be the cherry on top of the dirt slathered, human sundae that was L.A. artist Vanessa Beecroft's performance. Sure, it wasn't billed that he was definitely attending, but there's no doubt he was the "special guest."
"For the love of Yeezus!" we silently screamed, "Show us some 'Mercy,' 'Ye!" But the whole night was certainly not ruined by the lack of a ramble about rappers making designer clothes (for the people who cannot afford them). Nope. About 20 minutes of Kendrick Lamar at the end of the night almost completely erased the memory of that grueling hour and a half that we spent waiting with fear for vaginas to finally emerge from beneath thinning mud. And we're not exaggerating, Kendrick really, really did it.
Adjacent to the Flaunt exhibition was the Mana Wynwood space. It's the building where iii Points brought DJ Shadow, Jamie xx, and James Murphy to perform only a few months back. This time -- hosted by 3P Productions, Flaunt, and the Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami -- the stage was prepped for Kendrick Lamar and his Top Dawg Entertainment label mate SZA.
For Basel, the vast warehouse area became an intimate and quite lovely space. There was a red glow that warmed up the dark walls. A large mural looked like a Japanese-inspired tattoo, sans coy fish, and long boxy sticks were used to create both chandeliers and a tree-like DJ booth. And perched up in that booth was local wunderkind DZA, alongside Airtime. I don't think anyone can play more fun music every single set than resident Peachfuzz DJ, DZA. Every time, he gets the people's booties popping, their memories churning, and their mouths singing along.
Morgan Coleman SZA cooled down the Basel crowd with her jazzy jams.
The place was packed from the second doors opened, but it never felt claustrophobic. (And I'm a serious claustrophobe.)
SZA came on early. She was the antidote to the sticky, icky Basel fever. She held her own with chill, Kate Bush-inspired tunes and a strong voice. She was flanked by a keyboardist (who was straight jam-jamming), a drummer, and two female DJs. Though smoke and images from a projector obscured her at times, she never let her friendly energy and powerful presence be obscured. At one point, the singer even sweetly explained how to pronounce her name to the curious crowd.
The audience was entirely a mixed bag of art people, real people, locals, and huge Kendrick fans. One particularly "hip"-looking girl was even wearing Google Glass, which instantly removed all actual hip points from her tally.
It took almost an eternity for Lamar to take the stage. But the DJs kept everyone saying, "Yo, this is my jam!" and singing along.