Meadows 2017: JAY-Z Breathes Life Into The Last Days Of Summer On Day 1
The legendary artist allowed us into his world for the second annual festival.
Day 1 of the Meadows Music and Arts Festival proved festival season can stretch into the forefront of fall.
Created by the folks behind the Governors’ Ball Music Festival, day one of the second annual event brought together an impeccable mix of indie rock, hip-hop, synth pop and R&B in the extremely large parking lot of Queens’ Citi Field. Acts like Blood Orange, Migos, Lizzo and Run the Jewels enticed the crowd as the sun bounced off the promo shades on their faces.
As festival lovers poured into the area, it was clear most folks were ready to see Mr. Sean Carter. But before we get to the that, here are a few other memorable moments from Day 1.
Marian Hill Honors Whitney Houston, Joey Bada$$ Commands Crowd With Militant Set
The world may know Jeremy Lloyd and Samantha Gongo from their massive hit “Down,” but the eclectic creatives took a portion of the set on the American Eagle stage to perform a cover of “I Wanna Dance With Somebody.” The pace was slow but soothing as fans grooved from side to side; much like the inflatable tube guys behind them.
Joey Bada$$ would end up on the same stage hours later to perform early jams and cuts from his recent album, All-American Bada$$. Opening with "Rockabye Baby," the Brooklyn native was anything but coy as he encouraged the crowd to denounced the "cheeto-in-chief."
His militant look also gave a boost to his already-revolutionary set. With hip-hop creating the soundtrack to today’s social activism, it’s safe to say Joey is a fine pick for a general.
That Lit Part: VICELAND’s Desus & Mero balanced out the music revolution with the network’s party bus. The Bodega Boys (with the help of viral sensation Pio La Ditingancia/I No F**king Baby) were adjacent to the Meadows Stage, giving fans the perfect balance of turn up and comic relief. Vitamin Water and Cafe Bustelo also had fun photo shoots set up along with beverages and everyone’s favorite thing–free sh*t.
21 Savage Doesn’t Let NYC Traffic Get The Best Of Him, Migos Gives Us An Update On Culture 2
As one of the Shea Stage’s hip-hop acts, 21 Savage did fans a solid after arriving late to his set. Before jumping into “All The Smoke,” the Atlanta-based rapper shared the same sentiments us New Yorkers have about the city’s traffic. “On three I need y'all to say, ‘F**k New York traffic'” he said.
Next up was Migos on the festival’s main stage. Jumping from modern throwbacks like “Fight Night” to Culture cuts like “Slippery,” the Atlanta trio almost made us forget we were dancing on very hot concrete. The group also gave us another hint on the status of Culture 2, meaning it can come any day now.
That Wack Part: Overlaps became the festival’s biggest downer, as Marian Hill performed at the same time as 21 Savage and Joey Bada$$ fell over into alternative queen’s Tegan and Sara’s set. If you were quick to every one of these sets, then salute to you in running across the parking lot. Also, the “I need to get to my friend” line still exists as a means of pushing to the front. It’s no longer a slick move, but folks are still using it to their advantage.
Migos’ warranted plenty of rap mosh pits, along with the opportunity for wyipo to utter out “ni**a” while no one was watching. Heads up, people have been watching.
Killer Mike Enjoys Meadows From The Stage & The Crowd
Killer Mike and EL-P of Run The Jewels arrived early for their set on the main stage, allowing them to school festival kids on lyrical rap. Unlike other acts, the guys stuck around to watch other acts–from the crowd.
That Crazy Part(s): After enjoying the impromptu gig at Governor’s Ball, Redman returned as a golf cart driver, escorting artists to and from their stages. The legendary rapper enjoyed the job free of charge, telling VIBE he was happy to take part on the staff side of festival life. He also shared one of his favorite JAY-Z tracks with us.
Gangsta Boo was a pleasant surprise to hip-hop heads during Run The Jewels’ set as was Lion Babe’s Jillian Hervey who was seen chilling in the artist lounge. Other pleasant surprises included Gym Class Heroes frontman Travie McCoy, who took photos with fans.
JAY-Z Closes With Tributes, Classics and “Blue’s Freestyle”
Last but certainly not least was Mr. Carter, who dived into every nook and cranny of his discography. Opening with “Run this Town,” the Tidal head honcho came with hit after hit with day one fans from Brooklyn, London and Czech Republic reciting every word around me.
Keeping up his new tradition created at Made In America, JAY brought out Damian Marley for “Bam,” paid tribute to the late Chester French for “Encore/Numb” and even let the crowd jam out to “Blue’s Freestyle.”
“That was the hook, you can’t cut off the hook,” he said to Young Guru in regards to his daughter’s “Boom Shakalaka” line.
That Legendary Part: For “Story of O.J.,” JAY dedicated the political track to Colin Kaepernick, and the late Dick Gregory, for standing (or kneeling) for justice. While it was bittersweet for JAY to perform “Ni**as In Paris” without Kanye West, you could still feel the brotherly love in the air.
Check out a live stream of Day 2 of the Meadows Music and Art festival here.