Budweiser’s Made In America Festival was one big blur. Between the #BeyHive and #FutureHive swarming Philadelphia’s Benjamin Franklin Parkway and the dust storms clogging up concertgoers’ nostrils, the Jay Z-curated lineup catered to ear cravings of all flavors. Besides the obvious turn-ups that were Bey and Fewtch’s sets, there were acts who served the bass like DJ gawds Bassnectar; hip-hop Stan favorites, J. Cole and Big Sean; and rock stars, Lolawolf and Mayaeni.
Cheers to the performers who kept the weekend lit. Here were the high notes at MIA Fest below.
DAY 1 – Saturday, Sept. 5
1. Mayaeni is a black girl who rocks. Word to Beverly Bond. The D-town native made her presence known on the Skate Stage with her head-thrashing sound and a special rendition of A$AP Rocky’s “L$D.” The Roc Nation signee was also accompanied by her sleek guitar and electrifying band.
2. Vic Mensa is a modern-day Roc star. The Chicago spitter who received Jay Z’s blessing (Vic signed to the Roc Nation roster in April) probably made Hov proud by crowdsurfing his way through his biggest hits in 45 minutes. From covering Chance The Rapper’s “Coca Butter Kisses” and Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” Vic also lit up the Rocky stage with “Down On My Luck,” “Holy, Holy” and “U Mad.”
3. Nick Jonas isn’t the teenybopper thirst trap that the JoBros were before. He’s actually grown, and can be sexy if ex-boy bandees are your thing. Between swigs of D’Usse (salute Jay) and H2O, Nick serenaded to the predominantly female crowd with his self-titled sophomore effort. Sprinkling in covers of The Weeknd’s “Can’t Feel My Face,” Bell Biv DeVoe’s “Poison” and Outkast’s “Roses” (he described the Andre 3000 and Big Boi cut as “a tasteful way of saying ‘F*ck you’ to someone you don’t really like”), the leather jacket-clad Jonas sang his heart out for opener “Chains,” the Sage Gemini-assisted “Good Thing” and “Jealous.”
4. Earl Sweatshirt sweated through his early afternoon set at the Liberty Stage. While the crowd was lukewarm despite the blazing 90-degree weather, Earl urged the crowd to scream during his finale “DNA”: “B*tch n*gga, we the train/ If you see ’em wave, ain’t no b*tch in my DNA.” Good times.
5. Bassnectar closed out Day 1 with a special performance of “Bigger Than Hip Hop” with Dead Prez, which made for a very welcome rap and EDM concoction.
6. Beyoncé restructured past sets into a girl power party. Her salute to Ronda Rousey’s #DNB speech and ratchet interpolations of Lil Ronny’s “Circle,” and Future’s “F*ck Up Some Commas” and “Where Ya At,” were infinite flame emojis.