Moogfest 2017 hits Durham, North Carolina on May 18-21. While it’s a varied festival with music, workshops, panels, and film screenings, concerts remain an undeniable highlight. With its massive array of artists performing in a smattering of venues, it’s a daunting task finalizing that awesome interactive schedule. Check out my Moogfest 2017 best picks for music:

Talib Kweli

You can’t talk hip hop without discussing the veteran rapper and social activist. Not only is Kweli an underground hip hop legend, but he’s ingrained in social activism. Particularly, Kweli weighs in on racism and police brutality. Among his many accolades, Talib collaborated with Mos Def for the hip hop duo Black Star. One of my favorite Kweli lines is still when he drops “Dude get a Clue like Col. Mustard in the study with a candlestick” on “In the Mood.”

Omar Souleyman

Syrian-born musician Omar Souleyman is one of the most prolific artists around. Reportedly, Souleyman’s catalog boasts over 500 releases. However, many of these are recordings from weddings and given to the married couple. Still, dude surpasses Tupac level in album releases. Hey, Omar Souleyman: Live at [Insert married couple name] Wedding counts. His music features a traditional Arabic vibe with an electronic sentiment. It’s neat seeing Souleyman on the festival circuit, especially after his humble beginnings as a wedding singer. And a wedding singer of higher caliber than other famous (or infamous) wedding singers.


“Stranger Things” alone justified my entire Netflix subscription for the past year. Heck, it justified my Netflix subscription since I signed up. The massively popular Netflix original series ushered in a retro aesthetic that channeled the likes of “The Goonies,” “The X-Files,” and “Twin Peaks.” Contributing largely to its old school sentiments, the soundtrack channeled a John Carpenter musicality. Composed by Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein, the “Stranger Things” soundtrack is a tour de force that’s essential to the “Stranger Things” experience. S U R V I V E, which features Dixon and Stein, is slated to play Moogfest 2017. There’s a “Stranger Things” live scoring as well as S U R V I V E performance. Both of these slots rank as  one of Moogfest 2017 best picks for music.

Zola Jesus

The multi-talented Zola Jesus beautifully mixes genres. Present in Jesus’ material are elements of electronic, classical, goth, and industrial sounds. She’s been quoted as stating that the likes of Tina Turner, 70s and 80s film scores, Philip K. Dick, and Diamanda Galas influenced her sound. Her fifth studio album, TAIGA finds some of her best work. Plus, Zola Jesus’s remixed track “Night” from John Carpenter’s Lost Themes Remixed arrived as one of my favorite tracks from the remix LP. Because of her captivating vocals and unique mixing of genres, Zola Jesus is absolutely a Moogfest 2017 best pick.

DJ Premier

DJ Premier is a legendary hip hop producer. The list of Premier collaborators includes heavyweights such as Big L, Canibus, Dr. Dre, KRS-One, Lord FInese, Mos Def, Nas, Snoop Dogg, Immortal Technique, and Vinnie Paz. In addition to compilation albums like DJ Premier Presents – Get Used to Us, DJ Premier dropped Kolexxxion with rapper Bumpy Knuckles and PRhyme with Royce da 5’9″. DJ Premier’s set at Moogfest 2o17 promises to be one of the festival’s finest.


Singer and producer Yasmine Dubois is better known as her stage name Lafawndah. While she’s pretty new on the music scene, Lafawndah is a force to be reckoned with. Her many influences include Missy Elliot, Middle Eastern music, Nina Simone, and Grace Jones. Her self-titled EP dropped in 2015, and was followed by the Tan EP which garnered universal critical acclaim. Between her vocal and instrumental talents, Lafawndah ranks as one of my top Moogfest 2017 best picks.

Tasha the Amazon

Be forewarned: listening to Tasha the Amazon puts you in danger of melted headphones. If you haven’t heard Tasha the Amazon, she’s a force on the mic and talented producer. Tasha spits fire with unique lyrics. Moreover, she’s known for matching her spectacular lyricism with equal gusto onstage. This is bound to be one of the best Moogfest 2017 concerts for its energy.

Your turn: which Moogfest 2017 best picks do you recommend? Comment below or hit me up on Twitter @mitchellclong and @Cup_of_Moe