This year, all the cooligans headed to the heart of downtown Durham, NC to attend the third annual Art of Cool Festival.  Bursting with art, music, and culture, the AOC Fest focused on the concept of “Innovate Your Cool” and artistic expression.  Historically, the Bull City is known for mingling music with the arts. AOC celebrates Black American music, while highlighting the local jazz of Durham with venues, performances and bands. The 2016 fest presented artists such as Kamasi Washington, Anderson .Paak, 9th Wonder, Thundercat, and Moonchild. West coast jazz, hip-hop, pop, future soul, new wave, punk and afro/brazilian were just some of the genres to explore.

A key event at the Art Of Cool Festival was an open panel discussion with producer, Terrace Martin and rapper, Rapsody,who talked about the creative process of working on Kendrick Lamar’s Grammy-winning album To Pimp A Butterfly. Their personal life experiences played a major role in the lyrical content and musical elements that influenced this album. Kendrick Lamars’s unapologetically Black “To Pimp A Butterfly” performance was astute at the Grammy’s this January. There’s a weight musicians hold when their artistry allows them to utilize such a major platform. His creative talent has been eye opening and sparked conversation, to say the least. Overall, this experimental hip-hop and jazz fusion project was meant to inspire and speak to all demographics, from Compton, to Middle America, all the way to Africa.

“Black as brown hazelnut, cinnamon, black tea. And it’s all beautiful to me.  Call your brothers magnificent, call all the sisters Queens” – Rapsody

A highlight performance at the Art of Cool Festival was the trip hop band, The Internet. They closed out the fest with recognizable tracks from their latest album Ego Death. Many may know them from the hip hop collective Odd Future (OFWGKTA), formed by rapper Tyler The Creator. The Internet consists of vocalist Syd tha Kyd, drummer Chris A. Smith, two keyboard players Matt Martians and KiNTaRo, and two guitarists Patrick Paige II and Steve Lacy. They’re a hip hop band with an R&B and electronica twist. Melodic songs such as “Get Away,” “Just Sayin’” and “Under Control” are produced by the band members themselves.  Their charming performance was full of psychedelic soul and left you feeling extraterrestrial.

I hope you “Find Your Cool” my friends!

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– Submitted by Civonne Ray, Music Design