Filed under: Editor Picks | Tags: All Points West, Dirty Projectors, Editor's Picks, Fleet Foxes, Girl Talk, Grizzly Bear, hip-hop, indie rock, Jay-Z, Ra Ra Riot, Seasick Steve, The National, Vampire Weekend, Williamsburg Waterfront, Yeah Yeah Yeahs
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With Jay-Z prepping the release of his ridiculously hyped new album, The Blueprint 3, it’s surprising that he would have time to go to any concerts — much less Grizzly Bear’s free appearance on the Williamsburg Waterfront (previously graced by Girl Talk and Dirty Projectors this summer) this past Sunday, Aug. 30. However, the rapper did the 12,000 hipsters at the waterfront one better, by giving the indie rock scene one of the most notable stamps of approval it’s ever received:
“The thing I want to say to everyone — I hope this happens because it will push rap, it will push hip-hop to go even further — what the indie rock movement is doing right now is very inspiring. It felt like us in the beginning. These concerts, they’re not on the radio, no one hears about them, and there’s 12,000 people in attendance. And the music that they’re making and the connection they’re making to people is really inspiring. So, I hope that they have a run where they push hip-hop back a little bit, so it will force hip-hop to fight to make better music, because it can happen, because that’s what rap did to rock.” (MTV)
Posturing aside, Jay-Z — described by multiple publications as the greatest (most popular) rapper alive — only vocalized what many of us have known already. Indie rock and the indie/hipster scene have ballooned stratospherically over the past few years. People have been repeating the phrase “Indie is the new mainstream” ever since Juno became an international phenomenon. Jay-Z himself recently followed bands like Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Vampire Weekend, The National, Fleet Foxes, Seasick Steve and Ra Ra Riot at All Points West this summer.
Whether Jay-Z’s praise of the indie crowd and musicians heralds a new age for independent music, we have yet to see. However, considering that this public recognition came from the man who declared the “death of Auto-Tune,” the masses are likely to follow. Whether that’s a good or bad thing is for hipsters everywhere to decide for themselves.
— Eric Vilas-Boas, Production Editor