For this year’s Moefest musical acts, WHRW 90.5 FM decided to head in a direction that transcends the typical indie-rock and pop genres. Headliner Injury Reserve and opener OSHUN are the first hip-hop groups to perform at Moefest.
Jacob Levine, WHRW’s music director and a senior majoring in English, said he chose the two groups because the festival needed something different that would satisfy most music lovers.
“Moefest is usually straightforward indie — either guitars, bass, drums or synthesizers and some electric drums,” Levine said. “We think it’s time to do something different and it’s important to do something different. We went for more upbeat artists and just an overall more fun experience.”
Levine discovered opener OSHUN, a hip-hop and soul duo, from their YouTube music sessions called “Colors.”
“After seeing their performance, we thought they would be the perfect foil to a really upbeat and energetic live rap artist like Injury Reserve,” Levine said.
Natives of Washington D.C., Thandiwe and Niambi Sala formed OSHUN after meeting as undergraduate students at New York University, where they performed at various open mic nights and concerts and posted covers on YouTube and SoundCloud.
According to an interview with Complex, the duo said they coined their own genre called “Iya-Sol” — “Iya” meaning priestess in Yoruba and “Sol” meaning the literal soul, soul music or the sun.
“I think that we’re most closely related to R&B and hip-hop, but we also have a lot in common with gospel music,” Niambi said.
Injury Reserve is an Arizona hip-hop trio comprised of rappers Stepa J. Groggs, Ritchie With a T and their producer, Parker Corey. The three released their first album, “Live From the Dentist Office,” in 2015 and their second, “Floss,” in 2016, which featured Grammy-nominated rapper Vic Mensa. The albums were made in their producer’s grandfather’s dental office, thus determining the names of their tracks.
In 2018, the group went on their first headlining tour with JPEGMAFIA, who previously performed at Binghamton University for last semester’s Binghamton Underground Music Presents (BUMP) fall concert.
“They’re a really catchy, upbeat and cool rap group that puts on an incredibly energetic live show,” Levine said.
This year, WHRW chose the musical acts through their first-ever concerts committee, which includes the radio station’s music directors and three of Levine’s trusted friends and music enthusiasts.
“I picked three people I trust with their instincts on music and I know that what they bring to the table is not something I have and not something any of our department heads have,” Levine said. “You just can’t know everything music, there’s just so much to know and so much to think about.”
The newly formed committee chose from a long list of potential artists that was eventually boiled down to the two hip-hop groups.
Aside from musical performances, Moefest will also feature student group tables, lawn games, a vintage booth by Triple Cities Vintage and drug overdose training hosted by Truth Pharm, a local nonprofit organization that aims to raise awareness and reduce the stigma associated with substance use disorders.
With this being Moefest’s eighth year with WHRW, Levine said he hopes attendees are as excited about the change in genre as he is.
“I think whoever knows these artists will be extremely excited,” Levine said. “And whoever doesn’t will find out about these artists, listen to them, then also be extremely excited.”
Moefest will take place outside Classroom Wing on Saturday, April 27 from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m.