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10 Must-See Acts at Lollapalooza

It's the heart of summer, and that means it's nearly time for Lollapalooza. For the ninth straight year, the massive festival touches down in Chicago's Grant Park and, per usual, it comes equipped with a massively stacked lineup. Check out our picks for the 10 must-see acts, from Nine Inch Nails' triumphant return to breakout rap star Kendrick Lamar.

By Dan Hyman

Kendrick Lamar

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Kendrick Lamar

Last summer Kendrick Lamar, a Dr. Dre protégé on the cusp of breaking big, drew rave reviews for his no-holds-barred performance at Chicago's Pitchfork Music Festival. Now, thanks to last year's good kid, m.A.A.d City, his raw, universally acclaimed debut album, the Compton-bred MC returns to the Windy City a bona fide star. The 26-year-old Lamar, who in the past year has hopped on tracks with everyone from 50 Cent to Robin Thicke and the Lonely Island, is focused on the present: his second full-length, he says, will dish on his lavish new lifestyle – "being in the club, having super nice things, but in a relatable way."

Nine Inch Nails

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Nine Inch Nails

Last summer, with Trent Reznor fully engaged by How to Destroy Angels – his project with wife Mariqueen Maandig, Rob Sheridan and Atticus Ross – there was much doubt among fans that Nine Inch Nails, the project that first brought him fame, would ever perform again. But this past February, with one blog post, that all changed: "Nine Inch Nails are touring this year," the multi-instrumentalist wrote on his website. NIN's Lollapalooza gig is one of the industrial-rock outfit's first performances in four years (last week they played Japan's Fuji Rock Festival, where they unveiled the new track "Find My Way"). It's followed by a brand new album, Hesitation Marks (due on September 3rd), which Reznor recently revealed will feature an all-star cast of collaborators, including guitarist Lindsey Buckingham of Fleetwood Mac.

Cat Power

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Cat Power

Despite releasing her long-awaited new album, Sun, last summer, Chan Marshall, who performs as Cat Power, completely skipped playing on the festival circuit. Don’t be mistaken, though: the notoriously confessional singer was hard at work in the years between Sun, highlighted by Iggy Pop's guest spot on the 11-minute epic "Nothing But Time," and her previous album of original songs, 2006’s The Greatest. “I was busting my ass,” she says. “I wasn’t just sitting around eating bonbons for six years.”

Charles Bradley

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Charles Bradley

Charles Bradley is a feel-good story and one hell of a powerhouse soul singer wrapped in one. The 64-year-old was homeless in New York in the Nineties before landing occasional gigs as a James Brown impersonator. In 2011 he released his first record with Daptone Records, No Time for Dreaming. Since then he's released another stellar LP, this year’s Victim of Love. He's gigged with Stevie Wonder and toured extensively. "God knows, you don't usually get the opportunity at the age of 64," Bradley says of his hard-fought success. "I was one of the blessed ones that God smiled one. I'm going to make up for it."

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