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The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival

The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, popularly known as a Coachella, is a music festival that allows various artists from different genres to perform their music to a large crowd of people. Coachella takes place in Indio, California, every year. Coachella has grown over the years since its start in 1999 and has expanded the genres present. One of the most spectacular performances was Kanye’s performance in 2006 at the main stage (Perkel 1:00:46). His performance came at a time when society associated hip-hop with violence, and most venues did not want to lease spaces for hip-hop artists. The performance opened the ground for hip-hop performance for Coachella, which mostly had electronic music. It also opened up the acceptance of hip-hop music by other ethnicities because it changed the perception of the music and its association with violence. The audience at Coachella was mainly whites, and on that day, Kanye rapped his song Forever during the performance, which got considerable acceptance, as he got huge applause from the crowd (Perkel 1:01:07). Rap and rhyming words are key elements of hip-hop music and distinguish it from other genres. There is no hip-hop music without rapping. Some sources indicate that Kanye attracted the largest crowd at the 2006 Coachella festival, even after being half an hour late for his performance. During the 2006 Coachella festival, technology had grown. There was disc jockeying with improved equipment compared to the previous turntables that were not as efficient to handle a massive crowd like Coachella’s. Disc jockeying is another central element of the hip-hop culture. People used the original disc jockeying form to loop drum breaks using turntables to make the break last for a long time. The innovators of cutting, needle drops, scratching, and backspins provided rappers with a foundation to build on. Kanye’s performance was one of the most legendary and meaningful performances in hip-hop history. Since that time, Kanye has performed during several other Coachella festivals.

Another outstanding performance at the Coachella festival was from Jay-Z in 2010 on the main stage. That was not Jay-Z’s first performance at Coachella, he had performed in 2009 after the Beastie Boys canceled, and he had to fill in (Perkel 1:04:30). He rapped No Sleep Till Brooklyn by the Beastie Boys during that year. The festival producers had not first considered Jay-Z for the Coachella because they needed a lay back hip-hop artists like Kanye to develop the acceptance of hip-hop by the audience. The audience was ready for Jay-Z’s music, and the crowd had become more accepting of hip-hop music. In 2010, he appeared on the main stage and performed he rapped to his song Public Service Announcement. The producers allowed him to return because they realized that the crowd was ready for his music and large-scale hip-hop music in general. The popularity of hip-hop music had increased from Kanye and Beastie Boys’ previous performances at the Coachella (Perkel 1:05: 43). As stated earlier, rapping is the key element of hip-hop music because, without rap, one cannot categorize a song as hip-hop. Other elements of hip-hop have changed over time, such as break dancing. Today, it is not common to see breakdance in a performance or a hip-hop music video compared to the early days. Disc jockeying in hip-hop has also changed, but rap and rhyming are the elements that have remained constant, as noted in the two performances that are the highlighter of hip-hop music at the Coachella festival. The Coachella festival grew the music careers of Kanye and Jay-Z. They also opened up the path for other hip-hop artists, such as Tupac, to perform at the Coachella festival. The audience at the Coachella festival also changed after some time as people of color started showing up for the events. Kanye and Jay-Z’s performances are the two performances that struck me because they opened the hip-hop culture to the Coachella festival and the world and have made hip-hop what it is today.

Work Cited

Perkel, Chris. “Coachella: 20 Years in the Desert.” 2020.


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