BUKU Music + Art Project nearly broke the Internet when they released the lineup earlier this year, and for good reason. Studded with iconic artists, each set promises to be one you won’t want to miss. I’ve been counting down the days ever since, listening to the entire lineup on repeat, from Louis the Child to GRiz to Ella Mai.
I’ve been dying to see Excision since the second day of SMF was cancelled, knowing we missed out on an undoubtedly incredible hour of absolute “G Shit”. As one of my top artists, I’m beyond excited for RL Grime to “Take It Away” and leave me shook to my “Core”. After that, my “Next Order” is to be front and center for Dog Blood because Skrillex and Boys Noize — need I say more? Not to mention, my 14-year-old self is freaking out at the thought of Lana Del Rey and A$AP Rocky “Ridin'” to the same festival.
The lineup is so stacked that it was hard to pick just a few of my favorites. I know I’ll be running around BUKU like a madman, trying to catch as many performances as I can. But besides the obvious headliners, here are five sets I won’t be missing a second of.
This week, everyone has been mourning the Okeechobee-sized holes in their hearts. Despite the sadness, I’ve been reliving my memories through last year’s sets, especially Liquid Stranger’s. He truly transported me out of the galaxy, and I can’t wait for him to catapult me out of the Milky Way once more. Polarity was a piece of art, serving both ethereal magic and hard-hitting bass. He took us drifting through the stars in “Saturn Cruiser” to fighting aliens in “Gunslinger Pt. II”. His recently released album, INFINITY, is nearly two hours of intricate soundscapes that only grows in intensity as the album progresses. He’ll be playing at the brand new Wharf stage, reimagined right next to the water for maximum wubs and lasers.
This man encompasses what an artist is, in all aspects and meanings. From his classic visuals to unique sound, G Jones flawlessly tells a narrative every time. As one of the stops on his Ineffable Truth tour, his trademark black and white aesthetic is sure to light up all of New Orleans. BUKU knew that the Float Den was made for him — set in an old manufacturing warehouse, his visuals will effortlessly combine with his music to resonate through every individual in that space. I’m so excited to experience his passion alongside others who have fallen in love with that mystic and indescribable sound. It also warms my heart that he makes an effort to make his sets a safe space for his fans, actively engaging and asking how he can help others feel more comfortable. This genuine care shines through his music, welcoming us into his arms and healing us.
To have the opportunity to see my Korean soul sister at one of my favorite festivals is the biggest blessing. Not only was she recently Grammy-nominated for Best Dance/Electronic Album for her unreal Lune Rouge, but she was also the first Asian-American to ever be nominated in this category. She’s overcome a lot, from her Moyamoya diagnosis to two brain surgeries that left her struggling with her speech and writing, but her talent and passion overcame all obstacles. Every time I listen to her music, I instantaneously feel comforted and at one with myself. I’m especially looking forward to hearing my favorite tracks from Lune Rouge and throwbacks from Midnight Menu, which was when I first fell in love with her. Her soothing melodies bring me peace like no other, spreading optimism and joy throughout my body.
If there’s one person who can throw down like no other, it’s Whipped Cream. I’ve only started listening to her a few weeks ago, but I haven’t been able to stop since. Each track is so beautifully unique while maintaining that subtle Whipped Cream vibe. “Bad For Me” weaves in soft, melodic lyricism only to slap you with heavy, high energy beats. That drop is utter release, and I WILL stop to head bang to it regardless of where I am (I’ve done it at Publix, and I’ll do it again). I can only imagine how freeing and spiritual it’ll feel hearing it at the Wharf, surrounded by the souls of others she’s snatched.
Doja Cat will always get me grooving. You may know her from “MOOO!” (yes, the Bitch I’m a Cow song), and the rest of her songs hold the same fun, vibrant energy. Her song “Tia Tamera” with fellow BUKU performer Rico Nasty encapsulates her bad ass self in an addicting beat and feisty lyrics. She seriously says whatever she wants and does it so well in her jaw dropping, neck breaking, fast-firing words. Don’t think she’s just limited to this style though — she shows her musical adaptibility by slowing it down in songs like “Wild Beach” and “Roll With Us”. Her set will no doubt showcase all her talents, taking us on a rollercoaster of feeling emotional to feeling like a bad bitch.