With the romantic glow of the technicolor carnival lights washing over the Dodger Stadium lots on Sunday (Nov. 11), Camp Flog Gnaw became a hot spot for random and shocking surprises on Day 2.
The second day saw a heavier turnout with all sorts of ragers in attendance for Brockhampton, YG and H.E.R. But most likely because of Sunday’s headliner, who was represented on the lineup as “???.”
Trace Billboard’s movements for the second round of CFG -- complete with the mystery performer reveal -- below.
4:20 PM:Willow Smith took the energy higher at the Flog stage with a special guest appearance from her own brother, Jaden Smith. “This is awesome!” Willow beamed after. She then dove into the soulful reggae-funk gem “Overthinking It” as she sang, “We got so much love to give.” Jaden later returned for “Summertime in Paris,” proving that the sibling connection on-stage is as easy as Sunday evening.
4:36 PM: While Saturday came and went seemingly glitch-free, sound struggles eventually found their way to IDK. His DJ announced “technical difficulties” followed by 15 minutes of troubleshooting before the Maryland rapper hit the stage. The early evening crowd moshed on demand, even throwing a garbage container in the air during “42 Hundred Chices.” IDK also started a wave for the pensive number “Alone,” which prescribed to: “Ditch all the hate your heart controls / That's just the basic part I know.”
5:24 PM: Against a backdrop of clouds and blue skies, FKA Twigs emerged as an ethereal songstress from a celestial world on the Camp stage. The singer wore fancy ensembles -- which included a Victorian-esque romper with a feathery headpiece among others -- while curating a trippy soundscape of theatrical opera and alt-R&B. Accompanied by interpretive dancers, Twigs incorporated elaborate choreography, even utilizing props such as a sword and pole, into her sweet, seductive set. Emotional renditions of “Pendulum” and “Home With You” left witnesses in a trance as FKA Twigs’ super power seemed to be never breaking character.
6:15 PM: Goldlink became a mosh pit magnet on the Flog stage. Stocked with y gyrations and bouncy jams, his set overflowed with Diaspora highlights including “No Lie,” “Joke Ting” and “Maniac.” As a makeshift full moon shone brightly on his stage, he then two-stepped into the dancefloor-ready gem “U Say” with a special appearance from Flog Gnaw’s camp leader, Tyler, The Creator. “Make some noise for the gay poet a.k.a. Goldlink,” offered Tyler, prompting Goldlink to shake what his momma gave him in tight leather pants.
6:45 PM: In similar fashion from last weekend’s Day N Vegas, the six-piece boy band Brockhampton wore matching orange jumpsuits on a fancy stage that included the nose of a golden plane appearing to crash into a living room. As each member traded mic time for cuts like “St. Percy” and “Zipper,” the entire Sunday night audience seemed to migrate to the Camp stage for the group, as those trying to exit the scene -- including this writer -- could not find a clear-cut way out and was instead carried by the hordes of fans pushing up against each other from wall to wall. The introvert’s anthem “Bleach” offered a slightly calmer soundtrack to the chaos as fans belted out, “Who got the feelin’?”
7:45 PM: In case no one received the memo, H.E.R. is a national treasure. For the opener “Carried Away,” the Grammy-nominated songstress -- who was rocking a bedazzled Prince shirt and royal purple Converses -- switched from an acoustic guitar to a bass guitar to the piano while holding it down with her killer live band. Never one to shy away from the feels, she proceeded to float on heart-tuggers like “Feel a Way” and the Bryson Tiller-assisted “Could’ve Been,” squeezing in the swaggy, money-loving “Racks.” She then hit her sweet spot of old-school-flavored R&B with love notes like “Free” and the Daniel Caesar duet “Best Part” with an interpolation of Lauryn Hill and D’Angelo’s “Nothing Even Matters.”
8:22 PM: When it comes to West Coast rap, YG is one of the proudest reps of the left side. From his breakout smash “Toot It and Boot It” to the Gang Gang anthem “BPT,” his clout in California is high because of his raw raps. It should then come as no surprise that Los Angeles was spitting every word with Bompton’s own to songs like “Suu Whoop,” “In The Dark” and “IDGAF.”
The performance wouldn’t be the same without the raunch and realness that are embedded in YG’s brand, as women lifted their shirts to reveal their assets for the big screens (he apologized to the kids and parents in attendance after) and a sea of middle fingers were raised for the anti-Donald Trump anthem “FDT” -- an acronym for “F--k Donald Trump.” In his gangsta political agenda, YG brought up two white members of the audience (three if you count the skater bro he kicked off his stage), both to flip off the president before the diverse crowd. The woman -- blonde and laced in a black shirt, jeans and knee-length black boots that had YG singing “these boots are made for walkin’ -- turned out to be adult film star, Stormy Daniels, who was recently embroiled in a scandal with the US president. When asked about having with Trump, Daniels’ response was, “No, I just laid there.”
More tender moments came in the form of YG paying tribute to Nipsey Hussle, raising a shot of liquor in the air and later saying “I’m drunk,” then putting the spotlight on Hispanics with a live performance of “Go Loko” alongside collaborator Tyga, producer DJ Mustard and a mariachi band. Sadly, there was no sign of his beau, singer Kehlani, though YG brought out L.A.’s own Shoreline Mafia for another dose of California love.
10:04 PM: The wild predictions were coming in hot from the crowd, who began to entertain all sorts of scenarios for the night’s final performance, from JAY-Z and Beyoncé to Drake, A$AP Rocky and Frank Ocean. It was evident from the “we want Frank” chants that Ocean was the fan favorite. Attendees weren’t completely wrong in their guesswork, though.
Tyler, The Creator returned to the Camp stage with news of some friends coming through, first bringing out Pretty Flacko in a post-Sweden debacle appearance for “Jodye” and “Praise The Lord.” Next up on the special guestlist was Lil Uzi Vert, who ripped through “Money Longer” and “Sanguine Paradise.”
With a devious smile, Tyler brought out what would be the night’s last secret act: Drake. The ominous chords of “Started From The Bottom” began to play as the crowd expressed both excitement and disappointment.
'Twas a weird finale given the star power on-stage. Despite Drake’s super successful track record, it’s hard to please a crowd whose heart was set on another performer. Pulling out hit after hit, The Boy ran through “Both,” “Trophies,” “HYFR,” “I’m Upset,” “Going Bad” and “Gyalchester” among others. He paused to give praise to Tyler for putting together his own eight-year-old festival franchise. “It’s really f--kin’ hard to do,” said Drake, who also throws his own annual event with OVO Fest. “I’m proud of you, Tyler.”
He then warmed up his vocals for two unexpected numbers, both of which were personally requested by Tyler: the Views cut “Feel No Ways” and the Nothing Was The Same entry “Wu-Tang Forever.” Drake then asked if the Flog Gnaw campers wanted more, which received resounding boos and incessant “we want Frank” chants. Though the last two song choices were a departure from his upbeat bangers, the restless response from the crowd was clear.
After telling the Flog Gnawees “It’s been love,” he dashed from the stage about 15 minutes ahead of schedule. The main stage was left in suspense, only to realize it was the end, as Tyler himself had slipped through the emergency exit and into an Escalade with his entourage to leave.
For a two-day extravaganza of talent, the last performance left many scratching their heads or wanting more. While it’s a shame that a global icon of Drake’s stature could be boo’d (especially after keeping a low profile this year) by attendees who tried to will another act into existence, the incident was proof that in an era where expectations can often negate reality, everyone -- including Drake -- deserves a chance to try and win the doubters over.