L.A. artist Blxst on his Coachella debut and where he's eating Weekend 2

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L.A. hip-hop artist Blxst performed on Coachella’s Outdoor Stage on Saturday, in an early evening set that overlapped with Sublime. But you’d never know it by looking at the crowd that swelled around the platform, gleefully shouting his lyrics back at him.

Earning a spot on Coachella’s annual lineup is a career-making achievement for any artist, but holds extra weight for those who hail from Southern California. When the festival debuted in 1999, headliners Beck, Rage Against the Machine and Jurassic 5 all boasted L.A. roots.

As Coachella grew — from one day to three days then back-to-back weekends — local artists were often the most anticipated acts, like the double-billing of Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre in 2012 that reincarnated Tupac as a hologram. This year, homegrown Angelenos Tyler, the Creator and Doja Cat are headliners, along with ska-punk band Sublime from Long Beach.

Outside of music, Coachella has grown into a veritable food festival in recent years, with L.A.’s best and brightest often tapped to participate. Last year, there was the intimate, multi-course dinner hosted by the Arts District’s Michelin-starred Camphor restaurant, and this year, local chefs Burt Bakman (Slab) and Karla Subero Pittol (Chainsaw) are cooking at Outstanding in the Field‘s 200-seat, family-style sunset supper.

For Blxst (pronounced Blast), who hails from South-Central, that legacy makes his 2024 Coachella debut all the more significant.

“This moment is huge,” he said, “Just to see the magnitude of artists that have played on these stages and the fact that I’m able to follow in their footsteps is reassuring that I’m representing my city in the right way.”

Blxst, whose real name is Matthew Burdette, started recording and producing music right out of high school, but broke out as a solo artist with his 2020 single “Chosen” featuring Ty Dolla $ign and Tyga. The song peaked at No. 51 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, becoming his first platinum hit. That, along with “Gang Slide,” which was featured in the opening credits of Issa Rae’s Max reality show “Sweet Life,” helped solidify his star with national audiences. The singer and rapper released his debut album “Before You Go” in spring 2022, with track appearances from artists like Rick Ross, Grandmaster Vic and Arin Ray. Shortly afterward, he appeared with singer Amanda Reifer on Kendrick Lamar’s song “Die Hard” from the Grammy winner’s “Mr. Morale and the Big Steppers” album.

Parked in the corner of the stage during Blxst’s performance is a shiny black low-rider — a call out to our region’s car culture. It’s also a reference to the cover art for Blxst’s new single “Rewind,” which features a grainy neon background that’s reminiscent of “Grand Theft Auto,” with a low rider parked in front of palm trees. The track with Colombian singer Feid ventures into reggaeton, a departure from Blxst’s L.A.-specific style that’s defined by vulnerable, real-life lyrics laid over bouncy beats that feel made for the sunshine.

“For me, it’s just a classic piece,” Blxst said. “Especially with my music, I wanna be timeless and when I think about low riders, they’re timeless. They’re embedded in L.A. history and culture, so it’s kind of like having an action figure that represents your lineage.”

You can’t talk about Southern California’s car-obsessed identity without discussing the meals we eat in traffic and on our car trunks and hoods. This is especially true for artists who spend much of their time in the recording studio or touring. Blxst revealed that the last meal he ate in his car was on the drive back from Coachella: a burrito from Loco Burrito in Moreno Valley.

Blxst grew up partially in the Inland Empire and can’t resist stopping at some of his favorite food spots when he’s in the area, like Baker’s Drive-Thru, which he holds in the same esteem as fellow California-born chain In-N-Out.

For most of the festival, Blxst was preparing for and recovering from his Saturday set (he was on vocal rest when we met on Sunday), but he managed to carve out a little time to explore. His favorite meal of the weekend were veggie dumplings from Mìlà in the VIP Rose Garden. “It was fire,” he confirmed.

For Weekend 2, Blxst is hoping to get his hands on Tijuana-style tacos from Tacos 1986. He tries to eat vegan most of the time, so will be opting for a filling of crispy mushrooms that are soaked in a salsa macha vinaigrette before getting seared and topped with diced onions, cilantro and a creamy scoop of guacamole.

As with other Coachella artists, Blxst plans to keep Weekend 2 audiences guessing with a revamped performance.

“My goal is to bring more L.A. moments,” said Blxst. “I don’t want to give away any surprises but definitely want to share the stage with some other people that I think are hot from the city.”

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