PHOTOS: Blurry Vision Fest focuses on hip-hop and R&B in Oakland

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SZA

SZA performs at Blurry Vision Fest at Middle Harbor Shoreline Park in Oakland on May 12, 2018.

OAKLAND — The two-day Blurry Vision Fest made its debut at Middle Harbor Shoreline Park with a predominantly hip-hop and R&B lineup to rival any major festival. With the Bay Bridge, Port of Oakland and San Francisco skyline as backdrop, the one-stage boutique festival provided a welcome balance to the often indie pop- and EDM-heavy festival circuit with a curated selection of up-and-coming urban artists, groups on the verge of breakout success and established singers and MCs.

Fresh off of her Championship Tour performance from earlier in the week at Oracle Arena, SZA was back, playing to a Bay Area crowd that can’t seem to get enough of her. The Grammy-winning singer capped off the first day with all the hits from her 2017 album, Ctrl, including “Supermodel,” “Go Gina” and “Broken Clocks.” The 27-year-old has a remarkable ability to connect with the audience with songs like “Normal Girl,” on which she revealed that she “used to want to be normal but … normal is wack.” She said she wrote the song “Gardens” as “three different versions of myself talking to myself,” because who doesn’t feel like they can have “30 different personalities in a month, a day, an hour.”

Blurry Vision Fest, Brockhampton

Brockhampton performs at Blurry Vision Fest at Middle Harbor Shoreline Park in Oakland on May 12, 2018.

Self-described all-American boy band Brockhampton wasn’t conceptualized in the boardroom of a major record label but rather organically through a Kanye West fan forum. The 14-member collective of MCs and producers rushed the stage to the song “Boogie,” off Saturation III, and brought a level of energy that was unsurpassed by any other artist at Blurry Vision. Brockhampton didn’t let up for the entire set, launching into “Zipper,” “Star,” “Gummy” and “Gold,” sometimes dancing in unison, and other times jumping around each other. The brash multiracial and multisexual group looked more like the antithesis to the traditional boy band, but in doing so are perhaps setting the standard for a new generation.

Blurry Vision Fest, NxWorries

NxWorries perform at Blurry Vision Fest at Middle Harbor Shoreline Park in Oakland on May 13, 2018.

Anderson .Paak and producer Knxwledge teamed up as NxWorries and the duo didn’t disappoint. Kicking their set off with “Wngs,” Paak set the mood right away, crooning, “Baby, get your shit together/ We hitting the town/ It’s been a long time since we drank all night/ I wanna see that ass move around.” Knwledge’s sample-heavy production brought a level of danceability to even a slower tempo song like “Kutless.” While Anderson .Paak didn’t play any songs from his solo album, Malibu, there was more than enough tracks off of Yes, Lawd! to keep the audience dancing, including “Lyk Dis,” “Scared Money” and “Get Bigger,” a song Paak wrote back when he was working at a grocery store.

Blurry Vision Fest, Kamaiyah

Kamaiyah performs at Blurry Vision Fest at Middle Harbor Shoreline Park in Oakland on May 13, 2018.

Only two days following an arrest at an East Coast airport, Oakland hometown hero Kamaiyah brought the classic Bay Area rap sound to the stage. With a full entourage of backup dancers, Kamaiyah performed all the notable songs off her first album, A Good Night in the Ghetto, including, “Out the Bottle,” “Niggas,” “Fuck it Up” and “How Does it Feel.” She also performed a new one off her latest album, Before I Wake: “Dope Bitch.” Throughout the weekend, the DJs would play classic Bay Area hip-hop to keep the crowd warmed up and energized, so it felt only fitting to have a set from Kamaiyah.

Blurry Vision Fest, Migos

Migos perform at Blurry Vision Fest at Middle Harbor Shoreline Park in Oakland on May 13, 2018.

Migos closed out the final night of Blurry Vision Fest and lived up to the hype. The trio of Takeoff, Offset and Quavo, opened with “Get Right Witcha,” “Open it Up” and “Slippery” before calling out all of their “day one Migos fans,” and playing “Hannah Montana.” The group was keenly aware that it was Mother’s Day and made sure to perform “T-shirt” with the lyrics “Mama told me not to sell work/ Seventeen five, same color T-shirt.”

 

Follow photographer Daniel Lee at Instagram.com/danyolsan.

 

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