Couleur Café might not be Belgium’s biggest festival, but it sure is the coolest. The Brussels-based festival comprises many musical genres such as hip hop, world music, soul, reggae, dancehall and more but it provides a lot more than just music. Those of you who want to experience India’s Holi Festival on a smaller scale can go all out during the Holi Couleur Party and Couleur Café is also known to be a mecca for exotic food lovers, flea market fanatics and street art aficionados. This year hip hop legend Busta Rhymes, local hip hop group Stikstof and reggae revelation Tarrus Riley will bring the noise among others. To make life easier for you we put together a list of six artists you simply can’t miss out on.
FRI 03.07 | Danceclub | 23:00 – 23:45
Pink Oculus is the alter ego of Amsterdam-based singer-songwriter Esperanza Denswill. Her blend of smooth hip hop, funky beats, and quick- tongued rap make her one of the most unique emerging artists out there. Her debut single Sweat premiered in late 2013 and she has been buzzing ever since. In 2014 she performed at Eurosonic Noorderslag, was the support act at Belgian superstar Stromae’s concert in Holland, jammed with Joss Stone during North Sea Jazz and now she will bless Couleur Café with an exhilarating performance.
FRI 03.07 | Move | 00:15 – 01:15
Hiatus Kaiyote is most definitely one of our favorite acts right now and we’re not the only ones who feel that way. The Australian neo-soul quartet, formed in 2011, has been championed by fellow artists, including Pharrell and Prince, ever since the release of their 2012 debut album Tawk Tomahawk. After three years of absence, Hiatus Kaiyote released their impressive follow-up album Choose Your Weapon in May. If you’re in the mood for some soul from Down Under, this is a performance you simply can’t miss out on.
SAT 04.07 | Move | 21:00 – 22:00
In 2014 Californian rapper and producer G-Eazy popped up out of nowhere to successfully release his debut album These Things Happen which topped the Billboard Rap Albums chart. His laidback beats and samples have a nostalgic aesthetic and a hip hop meets Johnny Cash intensity. The dapper rapper garnered much of his fame while touring with Lil Wayne and 2 Chainz and is known to be a great and wildy energetic performer.
SUN 05.07 | Move | 19:15 – 20:15
Oddisee is the stage name of Amir Mohamed el Khalifa, son of a Sudanese father and an African-American mother. He’s one of the key figures in underground hip hop and dropped off his tenth solo album dubbed The Good Fight earlier this year. Oddisee is best known and respected for his reflective and intelligent hip hop in the vein of Rakim, De La Soul and A Tribe Called Quest.
SUN 05.07 | Univers | 20:30 – 21:30
New York native Joey Bada$$ is a young emcee who’s very reminiscent of 90’s hiphop as growing up in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn (the birthplace of Biggie and Nas) influenced him heavily. With enough mainstream appeal to make lyrics cool again, Joey Bada$$ has definitely become a force to be reckoned with. On January 20 which also happens to be his birthday he released his debut album B4.DA.$$. The album received rave reviews from respected sites like Pitchfork & Hypetrak and is a brilliant prelude to what promises to be a great musical career. If you love 90’s-esque boom bap rap, this young, refreshing rapper is a must-see.
SUN 05.07 | Danceclub | 23:30 – 01:00
Brussels’s very own Lefto is closing out the festival on Sunday night and we’re convinced that nobody could execute this task better than him. This international tastemaker and Brownswood Recordings affiliate is much more than a DJ. He also curates his own stage at the Dour Festival and his own nights in Ghent. Famed for his gloriously eclectic DJ sets, he switches effortlessly between genres. Last year he got elected Best Belgian DJ at the Red Bull Elektropedia Awards. That being said, get ready for a refined set keeping you on the dancefloor all night and wishing Couleur Café would never end.