Doomtree at Lollapalooza 2012 | Photos and music review
Whew! Wow, you guys. I thought hip-hop was dead for a second. Actually, I thought I'd died and gone to hell like the evangelists at the gate outside had warned me. If one thing was right with this year's schedule, it was scheduling Doomtree directly after Chief Keef and straight across Columbus at the Red Bull Soundstage. The genre-bending hip-hop/punk/soul collective was nothing short of redemption after the noontime travesty at Perry's. The band showed reverence for the old school, like a smarter and hipper Jurassic 5. Its set ranged from sinister gangsta rap to punk to actually uplifting hip-hop.
The genre doesn't have to be monochromatic, monosyllabic, and peppered with gunshots, sirens and "Maybach Music" namedrops. Hip-hop need only be one thing: inventive. And "interesting" doesn't have to mean boring, either. While Keef had hands and heads bobbing for "I Don't Like," P.O.S had the whole field pogoing to his new banger "Get Down." Last time Method Man came to town, he complained that people don't jump in hip-hop anymore. A tip to Johnny Blaze: tour with better openers. Doomtree was one of few hip-hop acts at Lolla where you actually wanted to pay attention to the lyrics—mostly because no one else has come this close to intelligibility. Since the members of Doomtree are real lyricists, they don't need to hop around the stage like bunny rabbits.
Mike Mictlan stood stoic like the GZA while his bandmates took the lead. He's proud of these songs. Doomtree clearly spent some time on them. And when it came time to perform "Creep," he grabbed the mic and went buck wild. They know humility too. Didn't know rappers could do that. "This is a fucking honor," they said. Well, they're from Minnesota.
If you stood across the field near the Sony stage, the speakers doubled the sound and create a trippy reverb effect. As I got closer and could make out the lyrics, that disoriented feeling only grew. "No time for an angel on my shoulder / I gotta make room for the barrel of a twelve gauge." Just minutes ago at Perry's, that was sentiment was blurted as, "Bang bang!" Go figure.