Day N Vegas brought thousands of music fans together at the Las Vegas Festival Grounds. The event began Friday, November 12, initiating three days of performances from a wide range of Hip-Hop, Pop, and R&B artists. Despite only a week passing since the tragic deaths and injuries attendees sustained at Travis Scott’s Astroworld Festival, as well as the lingering Covid-19 pandemic, eager festivalgoers were not deterred from a weekend in sin city. Artists and fans alike shared a reciprocal joy for the stage.
With three stages over three days, Day N Vegas presented a buffet of talent, as patrons enjoyed a seemingly endless lineup of performances to indulge. And like any other buffet, it was impossible to consume every option. Still, the abundance of choice made for a feast, no matter who was serving. On the ground, VIBE maneuvered through pizza lines, sweaty teenagers, and unidentified liquids puddled on the concrete to catch as many performances as possible.
Here are some of our favorite on-stage moments from Day N Vegas 2021.
Kendrick Lamar (Friday)
In August, Kendrick Lamar revealed his next album will be his last with the record label Top Dawg Entertainment, where he began his career and cemented his legendary status. While the announcement didn’t use the word “retirement,” a sense of finality still filled the air as fans anticipated Lamar’s performance. The Grammy award-winning rapper was billed to perform his entire discography at Day N Vegas, a special moment for day-one fans. He began with Section.80 favorites “Fu*k Your Ethnicity” and “HiiPower,” among others, and performed selections from Good Kid M.a.a.d City, To Pimp A Butterfly, and DAMN as well. He was also joined on-stage by his cousin, rapper Baby Keem for a performance of “Family Ties” and “Range Brothers” from Keem’s recent The Melodic Blue album. With long hair flowing from underneath a knitted white headpiece, which matched his all-white ensemble, Lamar delivered a powerful performance that articulated his evolution as an artist and increased anticipation for his final album with TDE.
Rico Nasty (Friday)
— Desteney ? (@MusicalPedos) November 13, 2021
Put some respect on Rico Nasty’s name. The Maryland rapper recently had the moxie to handle a booing crowd while she opened for Playboi Carti on his “King Vamp Tour.” During a stop in Portland the day after her successful Day N Vegas performance, a concertgoer launched a bottle onstage as Rico attempted to perform, resulting in her demanding security before entering the crowd herself. Although Carti himself has been mysteriously silent, other artists such as JT from City Girls, Metro Boomin, and Doja Cat have spoken out against the snobbish behavior from the Whole Lotta Red rapper’s fans, who Rico herself described as an “anti black a*s crowd,” made up of “weak a*s little boys.”
However, it was made clear that Rico Nasty hecklers had no place at Day N Vegas, where an audience of mostly women gathered to watch the “sugar trap” innovator perform. She celebrated the same defiant energy with a receptive crowd who shared her affection for rage and weed. Jumping up and down, her signature raspy-yells echoed from the Sammy Stage. She delivered lively performances of cult hits such as “Poppin,” “Ragin,” and “Key Lime OG.” She also teased her portion of the upcoming her “Money” collaboration with Flo Milli, which is slated for release on Thursday (Nov. 18).
Ari Lennox (Friday)
The warming stage-presence of Dreamville’s leading lady was felt even from the back of the crowd. Ari Lennox stood poised wearing a flowing white dress that showed just enough skin as she sang her neo-soul records. She managed to perform songs dating back to her debut EP Pho, even bringing out her labelmate Cozz for a performance of “Backseat.” Lennox then continued to share enticing versions of songs from her 2019 album Shea Butter Baby and her latest issued song “Pressure.” Her performance was tender yet forceful. Much like her music, the R&B purist sang vulnerably enough to radiate the depth of her lyrics, yet powerfully enough to rock the audience to its core.
Doja Cat (Saturday)
After 10 people, including two teenagers and a nine-year-old boy, died and dozens more were injured during this years Astroworld Festival presented to Houston by Travis Scott. The fatal festival resulted in Travis Scott, a scheduled headliner, not performing at Day N Vegas. Festival organizers replaced the Houston rapper with popstar Post Malone. However, the true third headliner was already billed to perform. Thousands camped out to watch Doja Cat take center stage. With a bright pink wig, the quirky pop star smiled from ear to ear as she looked out to one of the biggest crowds of the weekend. The 26-year-old sang and rapped fan favorites without missing a beat, including renditions of “Get Into It (Yuh),” “Ain’t Sh*t,” “Kiss Me More” and more. Throughout her set, she joked with onlookers and toyed with her audio-enhancing mic used for specific tracks. Watching Doja Cat perform, it was clear to see she had just as much fun on stage as her fans who adamantly chanted, “We love you, Doja” from all sides of the crowd.
Victoria Monet (Saturday)
Wearing a sheer, sparkling outfit, Victoria Monet proved not only is she a force in the booth as a vocalist and behind the scenes as a songwriter, but she’s also a powerhouse performer on stage and perhaps deserves a bigger spotlight. Flocking to the Dean Tent, the smallest stage at Day N Vegas, Victoria Monet stans packed the area prepared to be hypnotized by the sultry starlet. As one of R&B’s most refreshing voices, Monet delivered a dazzling set, performing many of her songs for the first time as she released JAGUAR during the height of the coronavirus pandemic. She seductively sang “A** Like That” proclaiming “R&B is not dead” as she transitioned into “Touch Me.” The performance included full choreography and featured two backup dancers and a live band.
Tyler, the Creator (Sunday)
Benny The Butcher, Westside Gunn, Conway the Machine, and Armani Caesar declared they were at Day N Vegas to bring “real Hip-Hop” to the stage, and the Buffalo MCs did not disappoint. Together, they proved the allure of Griselda’s movement extends beyond elaborate lyrics and a collectively fly disposition, as fans were also captivated by the camaraderie shared between each artist. All members of the clique shined on their own and as a unit with undeniable chemistry. If Benny was rapping a verse, Armani and Conway hyped the crowd while Westside Gunn delivered well-timed adlibs. No background vocals were used as the traditional hip-hop performers spit their autobiographical rhymes and promised new music to come.