This year's Soul'd Out Festival is in the details.
Sure, the 10th-anniversary lineup may not be as splashy as previous years' when Solange or Erykah Badu headlined, but that doesn't mean the festival is going to be sleepy. And in a way, a lineup that isn't defined by one big get is a fitting testament to what the citywide network of neo-soul, jazz and hip-hop shows has always been about. This year's schedule ranges from golden-age duo Eric B. & Rakim's first Portland show to a showcase of up-and-coming futuristic producers, and full of carefully curated bills headlined by underrated artists and rounded out by new support.
Here are the shows we're most excited to see.
According to her social media bios, Kadhja Bonet was born "in the backseat of a seafoam-green space Pinto" and "nursed on haterade." In reality, Bonet was raised by musician parents among seven kids, and studied violin before rebelling against her classical training. But Bonet's version of her early life is a good primer for her perplexing, intriguing, intergalactic, psychedelic soul sound. The self-taught, self-managed, self-proclaimed "grotesque narcissist" independently arranged, performed, produced and mixed her most recent album, Childqueen. Although the album has been compared to the likes of Billie Holiday and Minnie Riperton, Bonet does her own stunts. MOLLY MACGILBERT. Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison St. 8 pm Wednesday, April 17. $20. All ages.
Leikeli47 is one of the fiercest femmes in club rap. On her recently released Acrylic, the MC mixes hard-hitting house with an unapologetic focus on fashion. Her relentlessly danceable beats, clever rhymes and artful flows have gotten nods from everyone from Jay-Z to Diplo to Pussy Riot, and her luxurious "Girl Blunt" graced an episode of Insecure. A Leikeli47 set is worthwhile on its own, but this bill is stacked from top to bottom. Yung Baby Tate's music is a Lisa Frank-hued fantasy that takes a more laid-back but no less freaky approach to CupcakKe and Dai Burger's brand of sex-positive rap, while Jamesdavis features the vocally soaring sibling trio of Rey, Jess and Auston Reynolds who blend disco and electronic music. Local support Raquel Divar blends throwback rap with grime, trap and dubstep. ANDREW JANKOWSKI. Wonder Ballroom, 128 N Russell St. 9 pm Thursday, April 18. $20. All ages.
Eric B. & Rakim
It's a blessing to be able to see living legends and rap loyalty in their heyday, but it's also a blessing to see them decades later, still filled with the impassioned energy with which they entered the business. Eric B. & Rakim definitely fall into the latter. Three years ago, the golden-age hip-hop duo reunited in an era that prioritizes streaming stats and physical appearance more than what hip-hop is about at its roots—realness. Eric B. & Rakim are one of the most influential DJ and MC teams of all time, and the fact that they can still get down to brass tacks with the mainstream is something to appreciate. CERVANTÉ POPE. Roseland Theater, 8 NW 6th Ave. 8 pm Thursday, April 18, $38.50. 21+.
It's nice how Portland's music scene lately has more actively provided space for artists of color. This all-local lineup at Holocene is a perfect intimate setting for artists like emotionally profound lyricist Rasheed Jamal and the open book of R&B pop Kingsley. Through their own beat-laid avenues, both artists express their own experiences, sentiments and vulnerabilities. Even though there'll be much to bop to at this show, there will be just as much to ponder. CERVANTÉ POPE. Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison St. 8:30 pm Thursday, April 18. $8-$10. 21+.
Ringgo Ancheta, aka Mndsgn, was exposed to hip-hop after he left the electricity-free commune in New Jersey where he grew up and experienced the wider world in Philadelphia. That could explain why his sunny, gamer-influenced sound is almost alien. Frequent collaborator and fellow Klipmode collective member Devonwho is the soft rain to Mndsgn's sunshine, sprinkling trills over downtempo beats. Local supporters Omari Jazz and the High Kids leave the weather metaphor behind entirely and go straight to outer space. ANDREW JANKOWSKI. Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison St. 9 pm Friday, April 19. $15-$18. 21+.
Roy Ayers and Bobby Caldwell
If you've listened to Dr. Dre, Kendrick Lamar or A Tribe Called Quest, you've heard the funky, jazzy grooves of Roy Ayers. One of the most sampled artists in hip-hop history, Ayers is a vibraphone-playing composer and pioneer of acid jazz and jazz fusion whose reputation earned him the title "Godfather of Neo-Soul." Ayers recently released a reissue of his rare 1983 disco-tinged album, Silver Vibrations. At this show, he'll play with big-in-Japan smooth jazz crooner Bobby Caldwell, who has been sampled by Tupac and covered by Boyz II Men. MOLLY MACGILBERT. Roseland Theater, 8 NW 6th Ave. 8 pm Saturday, April 20. $35-$55. 21+.
SEE IT: Soul'd Out Festival runs through Sunday, April 21. See souldoutfestival.com for a full schedule.