Brooklyn’s AfroPunk is, by many measures, the annual festival with the most continuously exceptional line-up of acts. This year’s slate is no different: Erykah Badu, Janelle Monáe, Pusha T and Miguel lead a superb collection of not only musicians and DJs from across genres but across the world as well.
Like every year, Brooklyn (now one of five cities internationally that hosts a version of the festival) will welcome AfroPunk to Commodore Barry Park. Beyond the big-name headliners, here are five up-and-coming acts worth catching this Saturday and Sunday.
Hailing from London, the Nova Twins are a force to be reckoned with. The up-and-coming, self-described “urban punk” duo are loud, forceful and funky, seemingly the most direct descendant of Betty Davis’ trail-blazingly brash sound. The young pair’s heavy sound has been co-signed by everyone from Prophets of Rage to Willow Smith, who have both taken the Nova Twins on tour with them as their opening act. The pair will be wreaking havoc at the festival this Sunday.
Los Angeles’ Duckwrth has seen incredible success in the last two years after he began exploring solo projects outside of his work with the Kickdrums. He released his debut album, I’m Uugly, in 2016, a whirlwind of a debut that sees immense versatility from the rapper. He built upon that momentum with 2017’s A Very Uugly Mixtape and has been steadily releasing hypnotic, driving new singles all year. He’ll be performing on Sunday.
Previously the lead singer of the nu-disco group Escort, Adeline is setting out on her own this year. She launched her solo career in July with the soulful single “Emeralds,” an ode to a “natural” high. She’ll be releasing her debut album, Café Au Lait, later this year and promises that it will be a healthy mix of the disco influence of her past with more funk, R&B and soul touches. Catch her crooning on Saturday.
One of the festival’s heaviest acts, the Brazilian heavy metal band Black Pantera is a punishingly intense can’t-miss moment. Formerly known as Project Black Pantera, the band made their debut in 2015, a year after they formed. They celebrated their four year anniversary as a band in April with a tour and also released their sophomore album Agressão. They’ll be getting the entire crowd to start a circle pit on Sunday.
British singer-songwriter Mahalia has a soothing, eclectic sound that draws from a number of neo-soul and R&B influences. She was signed when she was 13 and has been cultivating her sound ever since, releasing her debut album Diary of Me in 2016. She’s put out a few new singles this year, including the catchy and cheeky bop “I Wish I Missed My Ex.” She’s also dabbled in acting, having starred in the Noel Clarke drama Brotherhood. She’ll take the stage on Sunday.