Made in America returned to Philadelphia on Saturday, with the Jay-Z-hosted festival bringing 35,000 hip-hop fans to Ben Franklin Parkway for the first of two days of rappers and R&B stars who have spoken out in what’s become an end of summer rite of passage.
Tyler, the Creator, the Los Angeles rapper-producer who played the festival’s very first release in 2012, when he was the enfant terrible frontman of the controversial (and wildly talented) collective Odd Future, closed the premiere. festival day 2022 as the headliner. He hit the Rocky stage in shorts, a puffer jacket and his Ushanka hat with the explosive “Corso,” from last year’s Grammy-winning album “Call Me If You Get Lost.”
His growth as both a conceptualist and a rapper was evident throughout the set, both in his creative visual presentation and in the emotional intensity of songs like “Come On, Let’s Go”. Musically, his new songs can be thunderous and frantic or display a light and breezy touch, as the lyrics move from frivolous to seriously deadly.
His main supporting acts were two Philadelphians: Jazmine Sullivan, who opened her set with a bang with her 2008 hit “Bust Your Windows,” and Lil Uzi Vert who delivered a high-energy set with pyrotechnics after announcing, “J hope you I’m ready to rage cause I’m ready to lose my mind.
The festival drew large crowds throughout the day to the fenced site extending from the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, particularly in front of the festival’s two main Rocky and Liberty stages.
Rappers Pusha-T and JID and indie electronic artist Toro Y Moi performed as marijuana smoke wafted through the air among a diverse crowd of mostly high school and college-aged fans, many of whom wore a version red, white and blue Made in America uniform.
Despite the afternoon heat, many fans also accessorized white Russian Ushanka hats with flaps, mimicking the look Tyler, the designer wears on the cover of his award-winning “Call Me If You Get Lost” album. a Grammy.
A much larger crowd is expected on Sunday, when global superstar Bad Bunny headlines, and an international cast of artists are set to perform, including Nigerian pop star Burna Boy and Persian R&B singer -Swedish Snoh Aalegra.
» READ MORE: Everything you need to know about Made in America Festival 2022
Day one kicked off with a set from singer-songwriter Dixson, who addressed a party-ready crowd by announcing, “You may not know me, but you know my music.
Dixson, who lives in Los Angeles and was born Darius Scott, has written for Chance the Rapper, Justin Bieber and Beyoncé, with whom he co-wrote “Be Alive,” the Oscar-nominated song from the Williams sisters’ tennis movie. King Richardas well as two songs from his new album, Renaissance.
But singing along to a backing track and playing acoustic guitar, Dixson’s short, sweet and enjoyable set, which ended with his risque new single ‘Cherry Sorbet’, suggested he had a bright future ahead. the microphone as well as behind the scenes.
Made in America has grown from a true multi-genre festival with lots of rock and EDM to an almost entirely hip-hop and R&B gathering. But with big-name numbers drawing crowds, there’s still room for experimentation and variation.
» READ MORE: See inside Bad Bunny’s sold-out El Último Tour del Mundo in Philadelphia
For example, on a Saturday afternoon, Toro Y Moi, the San Francisco Bay Area indie electronic band fronted by Chazwick Bundrick, now known as Chaz Bear. The biggest crowd of the day so far gathered on the north side of the festival on the Liberty Stage, where Bundrick teamed up with a guitarist and two other programmers, creating engaging psychedelic disco soundscapes that got the ball rolling. the public appeased.
“All the music is in Philadelphia this weekend,” Bear said, as he launched into songs that sought to balance exploration of the mind with the more practical concerns of his 2022 album. , mahal. “Woo woo woo,” he sang. “It’s just another world to grab and hold.”
Zah Sosaa, the rising Philadelphia rapper who blew up a gathering crowd, was performing on the Freedom Stage after Dixson.
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“Of all the new rappers in North Philly, he’s one of the most interesting,” said Brady Ettinger, 31, of Fishtown, leaning against a tree to get relief from the sun beating down on the tarmac of Ben Franklin Parkway.
Ettinger was taking a break from working at the Philadelphia School District booth in Made in America’s Cause Village, where Headcount, Black Voters Matter and Meet Milo Reform’s criminal justice group also had booths.
“All music festivals are big, messy, chaotic events,” Ettinger said. “But bookings for this one this year are pretty strong.”
Ettinger, who holds a Thursday night residency at the LMNO Listening Room in Kensington as DJ Sylo, cited Bad Bunny’s Sunday closing punch (“It’s the greatest act in the world”) and Nigerian pop star Burna Boy, whose song “Last Last” is “one of the songs of the summer”.
At the school district booth, Frank Machos, the city’s executive director of arts and creative learning, on a pair of turntables, guided those interested in learning how to DJ. “We’re showing people some of the music technology equipment that we have in some of our new programs,” he said, while accepting donations for the Philadelphia School District Fund.
Ettinger said he had been to MIA three or four times before and had very fond memories of seeing Run-DMC in 2012. This year, he said the escalation of gun violence in the town and the panic that caused the evacuation of the boardwalk on July 4th. “was in the back of my mind” as he considered attending the festival this year, but “not enough to keep me from coming”.
“The only thing that worries me is if something happened and all these kids freaked out because they wouldn’t know what to do,” Ettinger said, pointing to the mostly high school and college-aged festival-goers who rushed in. in short shorts. and Sixers jerseys.
However, the event passed off without incident.
It wouldn’t look like true Made in America without Pusha-T. It seems the Virginia rapper who rose to fame with his brother No Malice in the hip-hop duo Clipse, plays the annual Labor Day weekend festival in Philadelphia, though that’s actually just his fourth MIA.
On Saturday, Pusha ordered the Rocky Stage at 6 a.m., just as the sun began to set west of the art museum’s west steps. Dressed in black shorts and yellow Hawaiian shorts with a silver medallion around his neck, Pusha delivered no-nonsense precisely stated fundamentals tailored to fans who are tired of mumbling rappers.
Made in America landed the hot rapper of the minute in JID, the Atlanta-born Destin Choice Route MC, who performed his thing at 5 a.m. on the increasingly crowded Liberty Stage. Working with just a DJ as he worked the moving crowd in black slacks and a white sleeveless t-shirt, the rapid-fire rhymer kept it simple and informative, pulling from his hot new album, The Eternal Story.
This collection, which was released on August 26, is a clear candidate for hip-hop album of the year and brings him a large following and ensures that he is no longer known as an underrated rapper.
On the Liberty Stage, JID lifted the crowd while demonstrating a variety of intricate flows of rapid fire and stuttering mic steps, and revealed himself to be a student of history, dropping samples of A Tribe Called Quest classics. , Helen Merrill and Aretha Franklin played before starting.
Jazmine Sullivan, who grew up at Strawberry Mansion, not far from the stage she performed on, followed her ‘Bust Your Windows’ focusing on Heaux Tales, with a tour de force performance that sounded terrific as the September evening was getting cooler. She made every rising voice or expert performer swoop or lean in a trill to hit an emotional sweet spot.
At the start of her set, she thanked her local fans profusely and said the city “just gave me the backstage of the Liberty Bell.” It probably wasn’t the Liberty Bell, but whatever the honor, it deserved it.
At the end of the evening, Tyler, the creator, received kudos for his directing. Early on, he introduced himself, “My name is Tyler and I run ideas for a living.” Sitting on the edge of the stage, he rapped, “Philly Philly, where I’m from,” quoting a 1999 duet between Eve and Beanie Sigel which he said was his first show in Philadelphia.
“The art and music that comes from your city is magical,” he said.