From Tierra Whack to Young Thug, here are the best sets from Osheaga 2019.
Affectionately coined the Canadian Coachella by some festivalgoers, Osheaga brings some of the music industry's top talent to Montreal, Canada for an annual festival that always takes place at the beginning of August. This year, the event took place on the same dates as Lollapalooza and an unofficial competition between both festivals had many wondering who would come out with the edge. With a line-up spanning several genres to attract any type of music fan, even the most niche listeners could zero in on one genre and still remain entertained throughout the entire three-day weekend. With an abundance of stages and acts to check out, Osheaga 2019 was a massive success.
Taking place on a small island off the city of Montreal, the grounds were well-organized, lines moved quickly, security was present, and the music was incredible.
Image via Pierre Bourgault
This year, hip-hop was well-represented on each day of the weekend. Friday brought Denzel Curry, Gunna, Gucci Mane, $uicideboy$ and more to the table. Saturday was another stacked day with ScHoolboy Q, Logic, Young Thug, Bas, Saba and A Boogie wit da Hoodie composing the rap lineup. Sunday was the main draw though with superstar Childish Gambino closing out the fun with a stellar set, reminiscent of some of the greatest artists of all time.
The list below details our ranking of the Top Five sets from this weekend, including moments that had us grinning from ear to ear, moshing with the rowdy attendees, and waiting for that beat drop to arrive.
Honorable Mention: Koffee
Koffee is a 19-year-old reggae sensation from Jamaica and she's been creating waves for a minute at this point. The last twelve months have been incredible for her as she continues to earn recognition in North America. While many of the audience members around me admitted that they were only peeping Koffee's set as they waited for Tierra Whack to shut down the stage nearby, the young star's charisma, talent, and energy kept people from leaving early. She showed love to the legends that came before her and offered her own dancehall flavor to a festival that was lacking in that area. Especially considering Caribana was happening just six hours away in Toronto, Koffee was a much-needed addition to Osheaga and she likely gained hundreds of fans after her incredible performance.
Koffee at Osheaga - image via Tim Snow
5. Young Thug
A festival setting might be the best place to see Young Thug in action. The star has such an extensive catalog of hits at this point that he will keep you moving for his entire set. While he puts on a good show in smaller venues and in arenas, Thugger strives at festivals. Every time he heads into "Lifestyle," "Best Friend," and "With Them," crowds go wild. Even if you're not a fan of the Atlanta spitter, he's entertaining enough to captivate you and grab your imagination for a few minutes. At Osheaga, Thug performed on one of the secondary stages and while still attracting one of the largest crowds of the weekend - and everyone was loving it. Thug rang out the hits one after the other, while running the length of the stage, engaging with the massive audience, and stretching his vocals just as well as he does in the studio, in real life.
Young Thug at Osheaga - image via Tim Snow
Gunna surprisingly outperformed his mentor this weekend (!). While his discography is not as vast as his Slime Brother, Gunna has enough material to confidently keep people moving without getting bored. At a festival, you run the risk of losing audience members to competing stages. Performing on Friday afternoon, the YSL artist got the early birds out and ready to enjoy a day in the sun with good music. Personally, I was not expecting to enjoy Gunna's set as much as I did. However, much like Thug, he strived in the festival setting. Being tasked to provide hits on hits on hits, the rapper performed high-energy versions of his tracks "Oh Okay," "Sold Out Dates," "Drip Too Hard," and more. The crowd was feeling him, singing along to every word and even getting Young Gunna to crack a smile on several occasions.
Gunna at Osheaga - image via Pierre Bourgault
3. 070 Shake
What can we say about 070 Shake that you don't already know? The talented G.O.O.D. Music artist has been bubbling for years and thanks to her stunning contributions to Kanye West's ye album and his joint work with Kid Cudi, she became a fan favorite. Performing at one of the most intimate stage set-ups I've ever witnessed -- vines lined the ceiling and green lighting made you feel as though you were standing in a tropical rainforest -- Shake absolutely killed her performance. From the moment she set foot on stage, you could feel her passion in the air. She's not just somebody that picks up the microphone for fun. 070 Shake lives and breathes music. You can clearly see that when she's on stage. Her concert was well thought out, even running through several unreleased songs that she's planning to add to her upcoming album.
Praising the crowd for going so hard during her first few cuts, Shake likened the vibe of her performance to a game of ping-pong. She told festivalgoers that the energy they were giving her, she would bounce right back and that was apparent the entire way through. Shake jumped into the crowd and mobbed out with some of her diehard fans. Highlights included her solo rendition of "Ghost Town" and her new tracks "Nice To Have" and "Morrow."
070 Shake at Osheaga - image via Simon White
2. Childish Gambino
Donald Glover, known musically as Childish Gambino, was tasked with closing out the weekend and he did so masterfully with a long set on the main stage. If there is one thing that Osheaga attendees complained about this year, it was the lack of "star power" headlining each night. That wasn't an issue on Sunday though because Gambino came through and gave us all a straight-up experience that we'll never forget. Instead of just pedalling through his biggest hits, Gambino decided to make this fun for both himself and the crowd. Backstage, he placed a choir that sang his background vocals in a beautiful manner. Dancers creatively occupied parts of the site that traditionally were not used for performance. Lights were bright, fast, and eye-catching. Fireworks went off during one song, cracking at each kick drum. Glover didn't bring a concert to Montreal -- he brought a whole vibe.
People were packed when the actor/director/artist took the stage late on Sunday, showing off his falsetto vocals as he danced around shirtless, perhaps his new trademark. His crowd interaction was on point and everybody was feeling his artistry. At times, it felt like we were witnessing a legend in the making. If you haven't seen Childish Gambino live ever, do it. Saying that it's worth the price of admission isn't doing his work justice.
Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic/Getty Images
1. Tierra Whack
There is no way you left Tierra Whack's set this weekend without a giant smile on your face. The Philadelphia rapper and newly-minted XXL Freshman impressed everybody in the crowd with her charisma, passion, infectious energy and damn good music. For the past year, we've kept an eye on the rising female rapper and each move that she's made has been effective. From Whack World to Whack History Month, it feels like the unique artist can do nothing wrong. She's funny when she wants to be, she has a strong personality, and she makes music that can't be duplicated. Her performance at Osheaga was outstanding and had many crowning her as the winner of the weekend.
Although she wasn't on the main stage, Tierra Whack made sure that her energy was felt throughout the entire festival grounds. The young woman just exudes confidence. Everything that she does on stage has a purpose. She plays around with her DJ regularly, jokes with her personal photographer and singles out security guards to bounce around with the rest of the crowd. She even brought a superfan on stage who knew all the words to her songs, showing off some of his dance moves in a custom-made Whack hoodie. At the end of her set, Whack brought out the videographers that helped create her Whack World visuals, which were actually filmed in Montreal.
Much like with Childish Gambino, you NEED to see Tierra Whack in concert. She's a special talent and she absolutely deserves your attention.