Last week, The Fader and vitaminwater celebrated the fifth anniversary of their award-winning #uncapped music series. This year, the annual event spanned five consecutive nights in New York City, and featured performances from a very diverse collection of artists. #uncapped usually showcases a good blend of well-known names in addition to rising talent, and this year didn’t disappoint. The first few nights of #uncapped provided folks with great intimate performances. From the Tuesday kickoff show featuring  Matt & Kim and Sevyn Streeter, to Alessia Cara and Passion Pit turning up on a Wednesday, to Q-Tip (subbing in for an injured Fetty Wap) DJing and JoJo singing up a storm on Thursday.  After getting word on the amazing turnout for the first few #uncapped nights, I was pretty stoked to check out the Friday event.

The weather was treacherous last Thursday evening, as #uncapped attendees huddled underneath umbrellas to hide from the rain. Luckily, the event organizers sympathized for the guests and were able to process everyone quickly inside the venue. The space itself looked more like an art gallery than a concert hall, with white walls illuminated by faint purple, blue, and read hues, but I appreciated the intimacy. Philly’s DJ Diamond Kuts got folks charged up as they sipped their vodka infused vitaminwater drinks, dropping the most current ratchet anthems.

Thundercat was the first to grace the #uncapped stage. I’ve never actually heard of Thundercat before that night, and man, he made me a fan. The LA-bred singer/ musician/ producer donned a seasonally appropriate luxe fur hat/cape while shredding away on this guitar. His soul, funk, and psychedelic sounds brought the vibes to #uncapped. Everything made so much sense when I learned that he was a major influence on Kendrick Lamar’s funkadelic sound on To Pimp a Butterfly (he’s also part of Flying Lotus’s Brainfeeder label). That’s why I like going to shows like these; I always end up finding out about talented artists that flew below my radar. For being a pretty sturdy individual, Thundercat had a pretty mellow voice. He shredded his way through beloved songs like “Lotus and the Jondy” and delved into newer material like “Lone Wolf and Cub” and the colossal “Them Changes”. Make sure you check out Thundercat’s newest project The Beyond / Where the Giants Roam.

The main reason why I attended Thursday’s #uncapped event was Kehlani. The Oakland bred singer has been generating an enormous amount of hype since dropping her You Should Be Here mixtape back in April. I browsed the project through a couple times, but I honestly wasn’t initially sold. However, everyone from the Bay is repping Kehlani hard, so I felt that I was missing something. #uncapped would be Kehlani’s chance to win my approval, and man, she did. Kehlani can sing exceptionally well, and her heartfelt and honest songs have helped her build a passionate fan base. Every song she performed was supported by her fans who seemed to know every lyric. Even her DJ seemed to be just as, bouncing around the background while singing on the top her lungs like she was in the car. Kehlani is pretty versatile, as she performed routines with her backup dancers to a few songs. She also has a lot of personality, constantly engaging with the crowd and really making the fans feel invited. During her set, Kehlani did a number of songs from You Should Be Her, including “You Should Be Here” , “The Way”, and “Jealous”.

Overall, The Fader and vitaminwater hosted an amazing #uncapped night that made me fans of two new artists. The following night Saturday, was the closing event for #uncapped and featured Towkio, Willow Smith, and Chance the Rapper. The first two acts were really underwhelming and people didn’t really seem to feel them that much. Chance killed it though as it seemed that everyone there on Saturday was there just for him. Backed by his bad, Social Experiment, Chance performed a slew of tracks from Surf and Acid Rap, accompanied by some jazz brass.


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Rex Pham

Originally from the Bay Area, who then moved to Los Angeles, then out to New York City. NYU Stern MBA c/o 2014. Inspired by the grind of NYC to create something that has value. Lover of all things digital, culture, and brand strategy.

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