(17 hours, driving through 4 states to get to the 5th one, all for this one event)
Bright (not really) and early, myself and Devon (good friend and fellow concert goer), were on our way to Shakopee, Minnesota where we would be attending the 5th Annual ‘Soundset’ Music Festival presented by Rhymesayers. How this event came about, I was on twitter a couple of months ago and since I follow a few hip hop sites, I think it was Hip Hop DX that announced that Lupe Fiasco, Ghostface Killah & Raekwon were headlining the festival. I read the rest of the line-up and I saw that rappers that I listen to a lot were going to be there, including a few of my favourites already: Chuuwee, Kendrick Lamar, and Big K.R.I.T. When I saw that it was only in Minnesota, I got to thinking if I should go. It’s funny because, the night before, my “Aunt” Simone had a discussion with me saying that I needed more travel experience, more “Remember-The-Time-When’s,” so I would be able to share stories and at least make my life a little more interesting. Well, this was the first step in making that happen.
Myself and Devon were already preparing on going to the ScHoolboy Q concert at the beginning of the month, but another opportunity to see Kendrick Lamar, and even meet up with our fellow follower Chuuwee? How could one resist? She asked me if I wanted to go before I even got the chance to, and that right there tells you that it was meant to happen because she was the first person I thought of. Amazing.
So, let’s fast forward to the day of; clothes packed, passports, tickets (LORD, THE TICKETS), electronics (cameras, chargers, batteries), toiletries, and most importantly – FOOD! Tim Horton’s is a Godsend, and indeed it did send us on our way towards our 16-hour drive. Yes – 16 hours. It would be quite the trek, but it wouldn’t be an adventure without some challenges.
Global. Positioning. System. Also known as GPS, also known as a driver’s best friend or worst enemy. On the eventful Friday, it didn’t want to be our best friend – at all. The way that it was initially taking us had us going NORTH, rather than SOUTH (A heeediat ting dat – translation: “that’s really idiotic”)!
Thankfully, with printed out directions serving as backups, we were on our way in the right direction. This province is large, and you don’t really realize it until you actually drive across it. We drove through Hamilton & London before eventually coming to a stop in a small town outside of Sarnia called Strathroy. Nice small little town, friendly people, but we weren’t there long enough for chit-chat – just a Timmies run before we crossed the border.
A lot if this road trip was road and grass and water. Not a lot of interesting landmarks to capture, but that’s expected. So, waiting to cross the border and get interrogated by the infamous United States Border Control, we were berated with questions like: “Where are you coming from?” “How do you know each other?” “Where are you going?” “What’s your occupations?” Like, I get that they have to ask, but god damn son, come offi di people dem cyar (Translation – “leave our car and let us leave”).
Ahhh hello Michigan. The journey across the states began with this state. When we stopped for our first gas filler-upper, we drew to some…interesting details to our directions – we needed to cross a ferry. At first, me and Devon were like “Oh shit, we’re gonna take a ferry on some boss shit,” or so we thought. The problem was…we didn’t know how much it cost for 2 people with a vehicle. Good thing that I bought a travel charger at the gas station because I had to do some research, although she had already proceeded to text her best friend (Seher – who makes some bomb ass brownies by the way) to help us out with our little predicament. So, it cost about $165 for both of us, and we were CLEARLY not about that life, so, again, me being assertive and buying a charger because my phone battery was on 5%, I sacrificed roaming charges to find new directions which didn’t involve spending 3 hours on a boat (it would have been a nice nap tho). So, you know Lake Michigan, right? There’s a shape to it. It looks like…okay you look at it then get back at me, but I digress, we had to go ALLLL THE WAYYYY AROUUUUND THE LAKE! Mind you, it’s called a Great Lake for a reason – that shit isn’t small, AT ALL! It borders 4 states (Michigan, Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin), which we would have to pass through in order to get to Minnesota. So, with the power of YOLO in full effect and Tim Horton’s as our source of energy, we ventured off.
I felt bad for Devon because she had to do all of the driving (I’ve been loafting SO HARD on my damn license – such a shame), but she’s a total sweetheart regardless. She provided hospitality the night before and food for the trip; SHE EVEN BOUGHT ME A LARGE PACK OF SKITTLES BRUH! AHHHHH SHEEEEIT!!! I love her, for real.
The CDs that were burnt by me started going into rotation when I heard Nicki Minaj’s ‘Starships’ (Sorry Tina, if you’re reading this), which was strangely catchy, but I had to pop in the CDs. I made 8, which featured music from some of the performers I would be seeing at Soundset (Chuuwee, Kendrick Lamar, Big K.R.I.T, Action Bronson, Raekwon & Ghostface…crap, I forgot Danny Brown). Up until now, I don’t even know if we got through all of them, because when we were passing through Illinois (ya, nothing interesting happened in Michigan & Indiana aside from a lot of farm animals and some traffic), we were listening to Power 92 in Chicago, and that lead us up until Wisconsin.
Passing through Chicago was pretty hectic because we essentially hit the midday rush, but we were able to snag some pictures of the skyline including the ever popular Sears Tower (although it goes by a different name now), and the famous Comiskey Park where the Chicago White Sox play. Those were cool to see, and the radio was providing a decent soundtrack through the city.
Getting through Michigan, Indiana & Illinois wasn’t that bad, but the real test came with Wisconsin. We had to drive across THE-ENTIRE-STATE! Over 200 miles. MILES! We got to about Madison when we decided to get a gas break and get some snacks. If you refer to the map, you can see that we weren’t even halfway across (Lord, help us). Something random happened; we stopped at a gas station in Madison, did the stretch/bathroom combination, I bought a pack of skittles (expected), and Devon filled up gas and went to get some coffee. Now, I’m a patient man, but I sensed that something was up when she was taking longer than usual. I walked in, and she was all smiles and giggles (I was confused). She asks me “Guess where he’s from?” (‘he’ being the convenience store clerk) I said “Minnesota?” (Shot in the dark) The man said he’s from SCARBOROUGH….now….listen…THAT! IS RANDOM! His dad owns the store & he goes to school in Wisconsin, and has been there for the past few years, but he used to live by Pacific Mall (shout out to P-Mall). His name’s Jay, so shout out to him for the Toronto connection (SCARBOROUGH ALWAYS WINS), but it was time for us to venture on our bottom half of the trip. There was a lot of radio playing, a lot of fidgeting trying to prevent our muscles from sleeping, and a bunch of roadkill – I’m talking FULL OUT deer, raccoons, rabbits & squirrels laid out on the shoulders of the highway. It was crazy. I’ve never seen so many dead animals in my life. I’ve also never seen so many cows & horses in my life (there were also Buffalo…THAT was random). Devon knows the ways of the farmland, so she educated my young, city-slicker self to learn more about that life (which includes a love of the smell of horse manure). I think we drove across Wisconsin for like 3-4 hours, because it was lonnnnng and tiresome, but when I started seeing signs for St. Pauls, there was a collective sigh between Devon & I. It was a long trek that was almost at its end.
Driving in Minnesota was confusing because of the amount of construction on the highways., but once we got on our right path, the objective was to find a hotel (well, find the park where Soundset is happening), and it took some more Google Mapping, but when we got to the Super 8, Devon put her charm to work, and TA-DA! A hotel…thank goodness, because we were some restless individuals. Sleep drew near, and as we hit the comfy & clean beds, we rest up as much anticipation for Soundset builds. STAY TUNED!
Follow us on Instagram & Twitter for more Soundset tweets and pictures. There will be many. Don’t miss out.
That’s My Word & It STiXX