This Is America: 9 Moments You Missed From Billboard’s Hot 100 Festival
“F**k, we’re 30!” is what lingered from the minds of adults at Billboard’s Hot 100 Festival. Over the weekend (Aug. 18-19) between the clouds and the beach crept kids ready to jam out to some of the biggest names in music like Future, French Montana and Halsey. The presence of YouTube stars like Tana Mongeau and SoundCloud kiddos like Lil Xan provided a large age and culture gap between the attendees but it didn’t stop the turn-up.
The festival’s short lifespan has garnered huge acts like Nicki Minaj, Justin Bieber, Big Sean and Demi Lovato, but this year’s lineup catered to a healthy heap of buzzworthy artists like Justine Skye, Daya, Liiv and London Richards. As attendees got to experience a lost art form in festival culture by checking out new acts, mainstays like Rae Sremmurd, DJ Snake and Rich The Kid provided moshpits and dance breaks.
While the wide age gap warranted cringe during certain sets (ie: girls dancing to the “dancing like a stripper” line from Rae Sremm’s “Come Get Her”), the festival managed to be one heck of a moment.
Here’s what you missed below.
9. Sremm Life Over Everything
The wild boys of the festival were Swae Lee and Slim Jxmmi, collectively known as Rae Sremmurd. With energy as buoyant as their chart-topping hits, the duo put on one of the most lively shows of the weekend. Their set was a workout for many reasons. As the crowd danced to “No Type,” “Black Beatles” and “No Flex Zone,” others worked out their biceps by tossing their phones on stage. The guys were happy to take selfies and accurately toss phones back to their rightful owners.
There was little time to rest, as the performers glided through over a dozen Billboard Hot 100 hits, including “Guatemala,” the solo push from Swae Lee’s Swaecation, Vol. 1. The selfie inception continued but fit perfectly into the rowdy set.
8. Halsey’s Rain Dance
As a headliner for Day 1 of the festival, Halsey was a star who twinkled the brightest. With a new hairstyle, the Jersey singer-songwriter took it back to her dynamic debut BADLANDS, where she pulled out favorites like “Castle,” “Colors” and the blissful “Hold Me Down.” Her pixie-undercut paired with air-brushed thigh-high boots and corset oozed with ’90s style, reminding fans why she’s not only the coolest, but one of the most stylish pop stars out. With no backing track (because, vocals) the singer belted through tender tracks like “Eyes Closed” before bringing the rain down with an intense performance of “Lie” and “Don’t Play.”
Her set ended with one more outfit change and a gentle chat with her day ones. Before “Closer” blew up radio with the Chainsmokers in 2016, a blue-haired Halsey took to the Sun Stage in 2015’s Hot 100 Festival, a memory she looked back on with a smile on her face. After performing a stripped down version of “Closer,” the singer brought it full circle to her latest album, hopeless fountain kingdom with her latest hit, “Bad At Love.”
7. MadeinTYO Makes A Special Appearance
Atlanta’s MadeinTYO has fans everywhere, including one in Bella Thorne. The former Disney star brought out the musician during her set on Day 2 to perform his respected jam, “Skakeboard P.” The rapper also showed love to other Billboard festival performers like Rich The Kid and Dreamville’s J.I.D.
6. Rich The Kid Keeps The Crowd Hydrated
What’s worse than teenagers? Dehydrated ones. Rich The Kid made sure his fans were enriched with H2O during his lively set. Commanding the crowd from the jump, the “New Freezer” rapper was almost too big for the Sun Stage. “Talk To Me” and the Jay Critch-assisted “Did It Again” were more than enough to cause hip-hop mosh pits and screams of joy from the crowd. The part-time skateboarder also dropped “Plug Walk” before parting ways with the overzealous crowd.
5. R&B-Adjacent Acts Provide Soul
As R&B continues to seep through popular music, Justine Skye and other R&B adjacent allies like Taylor Bennett, THEY., J.I.D. and London Richards kept their sets filled with love, peace and falsettos. With cuts from his latest EP Be Yourself, Taylor Bennett was a “superhero” to us all with his joyful set.
Roc Nation’s purple unicorn Justine Skye demanded good vibes only as she performed gems from her debut album, Ultraviolet. Meanwhile, J.I.D.’s rhymes from The Never Story riled up the crowd with his hits like “Never” and “EdEddnEddy.” After greeting fans, the Dreamville solider performed a new track from his upcoming project, Dicaprio2.
4. Bhad Bhabie Is Pelted With Light-Up Bracelets
From Dr. Phil to the Billboard charts, 15-year-old Bhad Bhabie brought out curious teens for her set on Day 2. They were also pretty well-versed in the art of trolling in real life. As the teen screamed occasionally through songs like “Gucci Flip Flops” and “Trust Me,” teens tossed light-up bracelets on stage. It might’ve been for the look, but the viral star was beyond annoyed while finishing her set. It also appeared that some were just curious to see what the hype is about when it comes to the viral star. She continued to give the kids a show with a twerk dance session with Bella Thorne. This is America, we guess.
3. DJ Snake’s “This Is America” Mix Is What Childish Gambino Was Talking About
Actually, this is America. DJ Snake’s set flipped plenty of songs on their head including Childish Gambino’s defiant, “This Is America.” The original bares a tone unmasked as it fits the plight of living, breathing black men. Hearing it with a dance mix is as gullible teens dance along felt a little off.
2. French Montana Keeps The Party Going
French Montana deserves full arenas. His Day 2 set might’ve been slept on (Rich The Kid performed at the same time) but it didn’t stop him nor DJ Duffey from entertaining the crowd. The Bronx bredren’s set was a mix of his biggest hits like “Shot Caller,” “Off The Rip” and his features from “All The Way Up,” “No Limit (Remix)” and the fiery, “Hot N***a (Remix).” “Ain’t Worried About Nothin” and “Stay Scheming” reminded us all of the Billboard cover star’s talents but his tribute to the late Chinx with “Whiskey Eyes” was one to remember.
1. Future Rules The Trap And Long Island Tween Dreams
Future exudes a cool guy style all his own. As the official headliner for Day 2, the Atlanta veteran made sure all fans were served. The ladies and fellow cool kids were able to enjoy his laid back style while the yute were able to mimic his talented dancers. “Bugatti” and “F**k Up Some Commas” took us back to a gritty Future Hendrixx but things came back around with “Jumpman” and “Used To This.”
Instead of blending his standout features together, the trap rap titan spread them out brilliantly, etching his verse from “Move That Dope” between “Thought It Was A Drought” and “B***h Back.” Like the crowd, his dancers thrived during “Real Sisters” and DS2 gem “Trap N***as.” His crossover hits were also shown love like the The Weeknd-assisted “Low Life” and his much-needed feature on “King’s Dead” from the Black Panther soundtrack. If there were any doubts about Future’s ability to pull in any crowd, they were quickly shattered in Wantagh.