A Closer Look: Hip-Hop at Summer Camp Music Festival

(Three 6 Mafia / cred. Emerald Tide Photography)

“I remember finally getting to our camping spot and having to assemble a tent…”

That is honestly how most first-time-SCampers’ weekend starts at Three Sisters Park for Summer Camp Music Festival. So many of us share the same experience their first year attending and did what most first-years do when hiking in your gear and setting up camp: struggle.

“We had given up and started drinking beers on top of the unconstructed tent,” Sandman Slimm recalls, “until a more SCamp experienced friend found us and helped.”

Camping is certainly a part of Summer Camp, but the more important part is the music. The inclusion of hip-hop at Summer Camp Music Festival celebrates a genre deeply rooted in black-American culture and surprisingly, disco and dub!

Summer Camp recognizes the importance of hip-hop in the music industry and has a pretty historic list of performers including: Method Man and Red Man from Wu Tang Clan, Wiz Khalifa, Action Bronson, Cypress Hill, Common, De La Soul, Big Boi from Outkast, Run The Jewels, Waka Flocka, Lil Dicky and The Palmer Squares. Chicago-based artist ProbCause has the record for most rap sets at Three Sisters Park and has served as an ambassador, regularly connecting the dots between hip-hop and EDM in a wonderful merger of sounds. 

So who do we have to look forward to this year?

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(Thee Delinquents / cred. Robert K. Multimedia)

This year’s hip-hop includes Thee Deliquents, a hip-hop collective who won their Summer Camp: On the Road stop back in 2020, including Young Club and Moe Pesci da Goodfella. Their bio reads “representing the culture to a degree never seen. Materializing dreams into reality, and showcasing a wide range of talents that only grind and hard work can produce,”, and that, to me, is what hip hop is all about.

Moe Pesci agrees that Summer Camp does a great job of including hip hop on the lineup: “I don’t think that’s what people are there for solely, but they always show the little guys like us some love, which is 100 in my book,”. SCamp also does a lot to support the hip hop community by booking up and coming, local artists: “This will be the biggest festival I’ve performed at too, so I’m extra excited about this opportunity.”

Recently added to the line up is local, Peoria rapper, D WEBB, who is also glad Summer Camp honors hip-hop at their annual event. “It’s a no brainer that hip-hop should be included. The lineup has been evolving tremendously throughout the years. Hip-hop/rap is one of the most streamed genres of music, so it only makes sense to include hip-hop artists every year.”

Living roughly 20 minutes from Three Sisters Park, D WEBB has been a long-time SCamper attending since 2011! It wasn’t until 2017 that he also won his local Summer Camp: On the Road competition to perform at his hometown event. “This will be my 4th year in a row and I’ve had the pleasure of performing at Summer Camp and I’ve been lucky enough to be on the Starshine Stage, Soulshine Stage, Vibe Tent, VIP Stage, Campfire Stage, Goodbus, and the Pyramid. Whether it was my own scheduled set or hopping on as a special guest, it’s been an absolute blast!”

Another pair repping true Midwest hip-hop at SCamp this year is Trouble Chasin’ featuring Sandman Slimm (formerly “Truth aka Trouble”) and Chase Baby, both of Champaign, Illinois. This fantastic team is a shining example of just how unique and special the hip-hop community is, and it’s value in modern music festival culture.

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(Trouble Chasin’ / cred. Robert K. Multimedia)

DJ Paul [of Three 6 Mafia] stumbled upon my set in 2018 and we met up afterwards,” says Chase Baby. “He told me how dope I was and exchanged info. That never would’ve happened if SCamp hadn’t included hip-hop.”

Young Club of Thee Delinquents agrees: “I think it’s amazing how we can have a festival that includes other major genres… It makes it more of a cultural experience, gives people new perspectives, and opens their minds to new art.” While this will be his first Summer Camp experience, he’s looking forward to getting back to shows, both as an artist and first-time SCamper!

“I’ve always enjoyed the mix of sound coming from the stages at SCamp…” adds Sandman Slimm, “There’s something for every music fan. The best advice I’ve ever heard was to ‘leave any musical biases at the gate and to experience new music I normally wouldn’t listen to.’. I’ve become a fan of genres I never thought I would because of that advice!”.

Hip-hop headliner, Three 6 Mafia, will also be in Chillicothe this August and will most definitely bring big energy to our stages. One of my favorite SCamp memories includes DJ Paul coming out to sing “Stay Fly” during a Cherub set. It was the most perfect celebration of hip-hop, EDM, rock n roll, and festival culture. Summer Camp has a history of these surprise moments which is just another reason to love Summer Camp Music Festival.

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(Three 6 Mafia / cred. Emerald Tide Photography)

Both Chase Baby and Sandman Slimm recall seeing Big Grizmatik live, a collab including Big Gigantic, GRiZ, and Gramatik, a set I was also in the crowd for. “We were looking towards the Sunshine Stage wondering what we were seeing and hearing and the most powerful lasers I’ve ever seen shot across the park from the stage. We ran to the set.”

“My favorite memories are seeing STS9 in 2015 and Big Grizmatik. Both sets were just perfect.” adds Chase Baby.

“I’ve heard tales of Summer Camp for years and I’m happy to finally experience it!” Young Club shares. “It’s been so long since we’ve gotten to do what we all love!”.

“I’m looking forward to getting back out there to catch some live music, but most importantly, performing with my homies again.” says D Webb.  “It seems like forever since we’ve been able to rock a stage since COVID hit and we’re starting off strong at Summer Camp 2021!”

The last question I asked all four artists was “who they’re listening to right now” and all four had one name in common: “J. Cole”. His new album “The Off Season” dropped recently and I can confirm, it’s lit. Other artists these gents suggest includes Nas, Nipsey, Jay-Z, Bobby Tank, Jay Prince, Artifakts, Peekaboo, COPYCATT, Quinn XCII, Lupe Fiasco, Drake, Saba, Mother Nature (SCamp Fam!), and Migos. The ATL Trap love runs deep!

Looking for even more SCampy goodness and hip-hop? Check out our newest playlist above curated by Camp Counselor Robert and I featuring four hours of our favorite hip-hop tracks from 2021’s lineup! See you there in August!
XOXO – Camp Counselor Niki