Ranking Every Artist I Saw at Camp Flog Gnaw

Photo Courtesy of Maxim Baker
Photo Courtesy of Maxim Baker

For those who don’t know Camp Flog Gnaw is a musical festival that Tyler, the Creator started in 2012 and it has been an annual staple of L.A. since. The festival has featured artists from just about every corner of the music industry like Death Grips, Lana Del Rey, Lauryn Hill and Clipse.

After a four year hiatus, due to covid, Camp Flog Gnaw came back with an all-star lineup. How did these artists’ performances rank against each other? Find out in this 100% objective ranking using the most unwavering metric ever: My opinion.

10. Lil Yachty

In dead last is Lil Yachty as his performance is the only one I genuinely didn’t like. I like Lil Yachty’s music and the actual setlist was fantastic. He played nothing but bangers for 40 minutes straight with hits like “Broccoli,” “iSpy” and “Flex Up.” The problem came from the crowd and Yachty’s inability to control it. I was with a friend of mine and during the 40 minute set he got pushed from about 500 feet away from the stage to right up against the barrier. Three days after the performance, my back still hurt from the amount of genuine physical abuse I had to endure during the mosh pits. There were maybe three moments that I genuinely enjoyed, one of which was when he played “Broccoli” and every single person in the audience knew every word. This moment was immediately undone though because once the song was over he brought out Offset which got me excited for half a second before I realized what that meant for the audience and sure enough I was almost immediately elbowed in the back of the head.

9. Mike G

Mike G’s performance wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great either. Mike had great energy throughout the show and was interacting with the audience in fun ways, but almost no one knew any of the words to his songs. It was also early in the day, so the hot California sun was directly above us which didn’t make people want to move around too much. He did close it out with “Forest Green,” which is easily his biggest song so everyone knew the words. If the whole performance had been on par with that song then it would be much higher on the list.

 

8. Kevin Abstract

Despite Kevin Abstract’s performance being good there were a couple things holding it back. His use of strobe lights that synced with his songs and fog machines that clouded the entire stage made it feel truly special. However, he only played new material. This wouldn’t be a huge problem, but his new stuff had come out just one week before Flog Gnaw and no one knew the words. It was pretty much the exact same problems as Mike G’s performance but with cool lights and fog effects.

 

7. Teezo Touchdown

I’m not the biggest fan of Teezo Touchdown’s music, but I love his personality and thankfully that translates perfectly into live performances. His energy was great and because of that I found myself nodding along even when he was playing songs that I dislike. He played a decent amount of songs from his new album as well as some hit singles. Though they aren’t all good songs, I will say that they all sounded better in a live setting. His stage presence was also amazing. It was just him and a mic. No props or backdrops and he was still able to capture my attention with the way he moved and acted. Teezo Touchdown is definitely an artist worth seeing live in the future.

6. RedVeil

RedVeil’s performance was incredible. Every performance before this was either bad (Yachty)  or decent (Mike G, Kevin & Teezo), everything from here on out was amazing. RedVeil’s set consisted of his most popular songs as well as new material and some deeper cuts. He touched on just about every part of his discography. His crowd control throughout was fantastic and the audience was super respectful. The mosh pits were a ton of fun and enough people knew RedVeil’s for the crowd to feed off each other’s energy. At the end of his set RedVeil displayed hundreds of names of children who have been murdered in Gaza on the screen behind him. The names scrolled by like movie credits on two-times speed for almost three full minutes. He then gave the audience a link to demand a ceasefire. It was easily the most powerful moment of the entire weekend.

5. SZA

SZA was the final show of the weekend and she didn’t disappoint. Her setlist touched on every part of her catalog from deeper cuts on her albums to singles and features. Her backup dancers, who gave it their all for the entire hour, were dressed in raincoats to pair with the ocean theme of the stage. SZA wasn’t just exciting to listen to, but she was exciting to watch. She would go from sitting on the dock set piece on stage to dancing with her backup dancers to interacting with the crowd throughout the entire show. My personal highlights were when she played “Drew Barrymore ” as that’s one of, if not my favorite SZA songs. Her vocals were on point for the entire show and in many ways she sounded even better then she does in the studio versions. Overall an absolutely incredible performance and the best possible way to end the weekend. 

 

Photo Courtesy of Maxim Baker
4. Earl Sweatshirt

Earl Sweatshirt is one of my favorite rappers ever. His insane wordplay and intricate rhyme schemes make him easily a top 10 rapper in my eyes so I was very excited to see him do some of my favorite rap songs ever. Earl had a pretty thorough set list despite the short run time of his set. The only clear absence of representation from his setlist were songs from his album, “I don’t like s***, I don’t go outside”.  this wasn’t completely unexpected as that might be his darkest album to date. He played some deeper cuts from “Doris” and “Some Rap Songs,” the majority of the songs in “Voir Dire” and a ton of unreleased tracks as well as one with production from BNYX. The high energy production of BNYX was not something I ever imagined Earl rapping over, but he killed it with ease. Earl also had multiple guest features like Domo Genesis, who  performed “20 Wave Caps” with Earl and Zelooperz who featured on “Vision.” Both guests had incredible stage presence and were very high energy. The audience for Earl’s show knew every single word which kept the energy up for the entire set, despite the majority of Earl’s music being slower than most other rappers. I had high expectations going in and he still somehow managed to exceed them. 

Photo Courtesy of Maxim Baker
3. AG Club

 I knew maybe three AG Club songs before the festival, so I was going into this set almost completely blind and was not disappointed in the slightest. If I had been more familiar with  their songs, they could’ve easily been my favorite performance of the weekend. They only had a 30 minute set, so there wasn’t a ton of time to work with, but they still killed it. They played nothing but bangers that kept the crowd moshing the entire time. There wasn’t a single moment of rest which made me very thankful for the shorter set. Any longer and it may have been too exhausting. The crowd was the best of the entire festival. The moshing was intense, but it never for a moment felt like it was too much or dangerous in any way. AG Club also has an incredibly dedicated fan base which meant that pretty much every person in the crowd knew every word. It was an absolutely incredible performance, and they are definitely a group I am excited to see again.

 

2. Tyler, The Creator

Tyler, The Creator is one of my favorite artists ever so this was easily one my most anticipated performances of the festival. When the performance started there was a massive sheet covering the stage. Lights were displayed showing a silhouette of Tyler operating on what seemed to be a crane of sorts in a junkyard. He threw cars around the stage and once he was satisfied he got out of the crane, walked over to the car in the center and climbed up it. The lights died out, and the beginning notes from “LEMONHEAD” slowly played. With every blow of the tuba the lights would flash showing Tyler in a new position. This continued until eventually the song just flooded in. The curtain dropped showing that it hadn’t exactly been a trick of the light and Tyler was actually standing on top of a car. Once “LEMONHEAD” finished he immediately went into “LUMBERJACK” and this is where I talk about the crowd. The crowd for Tyler’s show was fantastic. During “LUMBERJACK” I fell flat on my butt in the middle of the mosh pit. I didn’t have time to get scared because within half of a second I was grabbed by two random strangers and thrown back onto my feet. Tyler’s setlist is the same one he’s been performing for a couple years now, so it included all of his hits like EARFQUAKE” and “SEE YOU AGAIN” the latter of which featured an absolutely incredible alternative intro that had me transfixed for it’s entire runtime. Do yourself a favor and look it up on YoutTube. It would’ve easily been my favorite performance of the entire festival had it not been almost immediately topped by another performance not even an hour later.

 

1. Kendrick Lamar and Baby Keem

I was unable to catch Kendrick Lamar and Baby Keem on the Mr. Morale tour last year so The Hillbillies was easily my most anticipated set of the weekend and it didn’t disappoint in the slightest. The set began with Kendrick’s dad coming over the speakers and asking where his domino’s pizza was, a clear reference to the skits on “good kid, m.A.A.d city.” He then introduced the Hillbillies and as soon as he was done talking, “Family Ties” began to play and I have never heard louder screaming from the audience at a concert before. The 40,000 person crowd went bar for bar with Kendrick and Keem as dozens of mosh pits raged all over the festival grounds. Because Kendrick and Keem performed 40 minutes after Tyler, the two crowds were equally hype. The setlist was incredibly thorough as both artists touched on every part of their discography. They played all their hits including a couple deep cuts one of which was “A.D.H.D.” Despite this being one of the biggest songs from “Section.80” it still came as a huge surprise, as I didn’t expect Kendrick to play anything from that album. Certain songs had different renditions live like “Money Trees” which seemed to have Anna Wise’s vocals and live drums laced throughout the entire beat. Kendrick and Keem went back and forth, switching every three to four songs for almost 80 minutes. They closed out the set with their most recent collab: “The Hillbillies.” It was an absolutely perfect way to end, not only their set, but the day as a whole.

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About the Contributor
Jake Williams, Journalist
Jake Williams is a junior at Pioneer and Community High School and this is his first year on staff. When not at school Jake spends his time playing video games with his friends, building sets for PTG, coaching flag football at WideWorld Sports Center, and listening to an unhealthy amount of music. Jake is looking forward to talking about and reviewing music in his first year on the staff of The Communicator.

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