Made in America 2016 Day 1 Highlights: Rihanna, Lil Wayne, Jay Electronica & More
Crowds poured into the fifth annual Made in America Festival at Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia ready for whatever. Budweiser-sipping music fans draped in mostly red, white and blue garb strolled from one stage to the next consuming the sounds of today’s hottest (and rising) stars. Everyone from DJ Mustard and Jamie xx to Rihanna and Bryson Tiller hit the multi-stage, genre-spanning event, better known as Jay Z’s musical brainchild, to close out summer’s unofficial end on a note higher than Lil Wayne.
Read below for some of the first day’s highlights.
Lil Uzi Vert Takes the Main Stage in His Hometown
Lil Uzi Vert is having a helluva year. Since inking a record deal with DJ Drama’s Generation Now label and Atlantic Records, the Philly-born MC has been releasing back-to-back bangers perfect for live shows. Where most newbies to the fest would be banished to the Tidal Stage or Liberty Stage, Uzi was front and center on the Rocky Stage for his energetic performance of “Do What I Want,” “Canada Goose,” “P’s & Q’s” and more. Post-performance, he stuck around to kick it in the crowd for the whole day, even catching Rihanna’s set at the end of the night with pink-haired girlfriend Brittany.
SZA Brings Out ScHoolboy Q for “THat Part”
TDE’s first lady SZA took to the Rocky Stage donning a long, red T-shirt that read ‘F--k Donald” and a tiny American flag as she ran through “Sobriety,” “Babylon” and her cover of PartyNextDoor’s “Come and See Me.” Though the relatively new artist slayed the main stage for her second MIA appearance (she performed at the festival in 2014 in Los Angeles), she shared the moment with ScHoolboy Q, who turned the crowd way up for the Kanye-assisted cut.
Jay Electronica Tells Crowd to Rush (and Collapse) the Stage
The Roc Nation artist’s set went from lit to way too turnt in a matter of seconds. During his last-minute set on the Liberty Stage (the time slot was originally set for Philly’s own Eve), the New Orleans-born rapper urged fans to rush the stage. Crowds were already cramming closer to see Jay Electronica as he powered through cuts like "Abracadabra" and "Exhibit A (Transformations),” so Electronica’s call to “collapse” the stage only made matters worse. According to Philly.com, the police cleared the stage without incident. However, fans can thank Lil Uzi Vert for the adrenaline rush. Reportedly, Jay Elect only incited the mini riot in an attempt to draw attention back to the stage after the crowd turned to Lil Uzi Vert who was walking by.
Ferg Brings Out Marty Baller
"Tell Jay Z to put me on the main stage next year," A$AP Ferg told the large crowd, some of which had climbed light poles just to get a closer look at the Trap Lord. No doubt the Harlem MC delivered for his first-ever MIA appearance and also decided to share his shine with his right hand Marty Baller, who took the stage to perform “Flex” and new release, “Bag First.”
Lil Wayne and 2 Chainz Bring Out Freeway
It’s not Made in America without at least one no-one-saw-this-coming surprise guest from Philly. Though most fans were waiting for Lil Wayne to spit more retirement talk after his latest Twitter rant, he and his ColleGrove cohort 2 Chainz stuck to the music and welcomed rapper Freeway to the stage for classic hit, “What We Do.” (Spoiler: Everyone in the crowd knew the words.)
Prior to saluting one of the hardest MCs from the area, the deep-south duo ran through cuts from their individual and joint discographies, respectively. The crowd went bonkers over “Duffle Bag Boy,” F---in’ Problems,” “Loyal” and “Bandz a Make Her Dance.” Honestly speaking, these two certainly could’ve held down headlining duties for day 1.
Rihanna Tells MIA Crowd to Vote
“I’m not actually made in America, which also means I can’t vote,” Rihanna told the crowd midway through her set, taking a moment to get political. “If you have a cell phone in your hand, you don’t have an excuse not to be registered. Hillary didn’t pay me to say that I promise.”
Only a week after receiving the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award at the 2016 MTV Video Music Awards, she stormed MIA with her Anti World Tour. The pop star commanded the stage for close to two hours, including performances of her earlier hits (“Umbrella,” “Live Your Life” and “Rude Boy”) to her most recent gems (“Consideration,” “Needed Me” and “Work”). Fans were hopeful for Drake, SZA or some other surprise guest, but Rih shined brightly all by herself.