Afropunk Fest: Lesser-known acts to check out

The seeds of Brooklyn’s annual Afropunk festival were planted in 2003 with a documentary highlighting young African-Americans who identified with the largely white indie rock, punk and hard core scenes. The festival launched two years later and has since grown to include any artist pushing the boundaries of traditional musical genres.

Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings and Ice-T’s Body Count headline this year. But there are also many lesser-known acts worth seeing.


Meshell Ndegeocello

Ndegeocello is known for her incredible bass playing, thought-provoking lyrics and ability to do it all, performing funk, hip-hop, reggae, rock and jazz. Perhaps that’s why she has been tapped to play on albums by everyone from Madonna to John Mellencamp to The Rolling Stones.


Unlocking the Truth

A trio of Brooklyn middle schoolers, Unlocking the Truth was discovered playing its heavy metal songs in Times Square. About to enter eighth grade, they just signed a deal with Sony that could be worth more $1.7 million.


Shabazz Palaces

Led by former Digable Planets member Ishmael “Butterfly” Butler, Shabazz Palaces is one of the most experimental groups in hip-hop, using unusual song structures and space-age sound effects to create something uniquely its own.


Cold Specks

Cold Specks is a Canadian singer-songwriter who goes by the name Al Spx and describes her music as “doom soul.” Her voice has been compared to Mahalia Jackson and often sounds like it came from an unearthed 78 r.p.m. record, while her music has touches of the elegant indie rock that The National rode to success.


The Internet

The Internet is affiliated with the controversial rap collective Odd Future, but like fellow Odd Future member Frank Ocean, this band mainly uses hip-hop to add texture to its ’80s-influenced neo-soul.


If you go: Afropunk Fest runs on Saturday and Sunday at Commodore Barry Park, Fort Greene, Brooklyn, FREE