Meadows Festival 2017: Nicki Minaj, A Tribe Called Quest & More Hip-Hop Stars Surprise, Gorillaz 'Feel Good' and Other Day 2 Highlights
With Day 1 of the Meadows Music & Arts Festival seeing hip-hop hitmakers Migos, Joey Bada$$ and 21 Savage all in the same day (not to mention an action-packed closing set from the one and only JAY-Z), the rest of the three-day fest had a very high bar set for them. But Saturday (Sept. 16) of the Queens, New York, musical extravaganza saw some special guests that certainly gave the Day 1 artists a run for their money, once again by the hip-hop stars of the weekend. Nicki Minaj, A Tribe Called Quest and Young Thug are just a few of the guest stars of Day 2, and that doesn't even include the stars that were scheduled to be on the bill -- clearly the first day of The Meadows wasn't where the action stopped.
Check out Billboard staffers' chronological recap of some of Day 2's highlights below.
1:32 p.m. Youngr played feel good inc to start off his early afternoon set, foreshadowing the events that would follow with The Gorillaz headlining set later. As it approached 2, he said "if only were 2 in morning," but the dancing he ignited with his experimental EDM (and hyped dancing of his own) made it almost feel like it was a late-night party, with heavy beats and good vibes -- the only out of place thing, of course, being the sun shining brightly overhead. -- Taylor Weatherby
2:38 p.m. Halfway through Toronto jazz quartet BadBadNotGood's set, drummer Alexander Sowinski tries to get the captivated afternoon crowd a little more physically active: "Don't be shy, don't be shy... What are we gonna do, are we gonna float? Are we gonna swim?... Let's move." It works on the rest of the band as well as the crowd -- within a couple songs, instrumentalist Leland Whitty drops his drumstick from boogieing too hard on the cowbell. -- Andrew Unterberger
2:53 p.m. "Usually I tell y'all to put your lighters up in the air and all that shit, but it's light outside, so you'd just burn your fingers," Flatbush Zombies' Meechy Darko told the main stage crowd toward the end of their set. "But we don't need lighters if you know the words to this song, Imma need you to scream that shit with us all right?" After a high-energy set consisting of mosh pits and heavy bass, Darko wanted to make sure they spread one message before leaving: "Open your fucking mind. Peace and love, and all that bullshit." -- T.W.
3:12 p.m. Big Boi spit his way through OutKast track "Rosa Parks" before going into "Kill Jill." If only Run The Jewels and Big Boi's sets were on the same day, he and Killer Mike could have had quite a moment. But Big Boi did have the assistance of Sleepy Brown during his entire performance, helping to keep the energy high at all times. After asking the crowd how they were doing, Big Boi quickly declared, "We didn't come here to talk, we're here to have a good time." He then rapped his way through OutKast hits "So Fresh, So Clean" and "Ms. Jackson," carrying on with one hard-hitting track after another. -- Lyndsey Havens
4:13 p.m. "Most of y'all never been to an LLCool J show, you're like 'He got Lip Sync Battle, what he know about hip hop?'" LL Cool J quipped early in his hour-long set. He used his 60 minutes to prove to his hometown crowd that he knows quite a bit about hip-hop by bringing out some of the genre's legendary acts. Starting out with Q-Tip and Jarobi White of A Tribe Called Quest -- and giving a shout-out to Phife Dawg ("he always represented Queens to the fullest," LL said) - the "Headsprung" rapper kept the surprises coming with D.M.C. (Darryl McDaniels) of Run D.M.C. for "It's Tricky." And LL didn't stop there, bringing out Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five before closing with his own hit "Rock the Bells." -- T.W.
4:34 p.m. "What is woke?" Erykah Badu questioned. "Woke has nothing to do with information. Woke is not joining the latest shit because that shit is cool." She then offered her own Badu-ist definition: "Woke is being aware of who you are at all times." No song proved that to be more true than the updated version of "Me" that Badu delivered, which included the new-and-improved lyrics: "Had three babies different dudes..this year I turned 46." The self-confident delivery embodied all that an Erykah Badu show is -- empowering, eye-opening and effortlessly mind-blowing. -- L.H.
5:08 p.m. "The only person that's fucking working right now is this venue," the guys of De La Soul declared as they began their funky bass-thumping set. "I don't care if you're listening to the Foo Fighters or some Amy Winehouse, De La Soul is on stage right now so put your phones down and let's have a good time." The crowd (for the most part) obliged, making for a memorable and dance-worthy hour. -- T.W.
5:20 p.m. DJ/producer/Fool's Gold head honcho A-Trak gets a huge reception dropping the first verse of XXXTENTACION'S viral breakthrough hit "Look at Me!," but a much bigger reception when he twists that song's nauseated synths into a pattern resembling the chant-along hook to The White Stripes' "Seven Nation Army" -- then drops the real thing for good measure. "If you came to see some real DJing, make some fucking noise," he says with earned self-congratulation a couple minutes later. -- A.U.
6:14 p.m. Big Gigantic used their sunset slot to play a mix of their own tunes and some crowd-pleasing hits like Macklemore & Ryan Lewis' "Can't Hold Us." While they involved plenty of entertaining visuals during their performance, one of the best images to fill the screen behind them was an animation of Biggie, crown and all, as they played "Spit Your Game." -- T.W.
6:43 p.m. Future brought out Yo Gotti for "Rake It Up," which would've been enough to please the ecstatic Meadows Stage crowd. But nope, the "Mask Off" rapper elevated his set to the next level by also welcoming Nicki Minaj to the stage to sing her part of the Gotti collab. "My baby, my friend forever, my love for life," Future said of Minaj as she gave one final hair flip before walking off. The guest appearances didn't end there, though, as moments later Future introduced his "blood brother" Young Thug for "Pick Up the Phone," "Lifestyle" and "About the Money." -- L.H.
7:55 p.m. "I don't know if things are more fucked up now, or if we just have more access," wonders frontman Tunde Adebimpe of TV on the Radio, before sharing some arguably comforting words of wisdom he's received: "Everything will be OK in the end -- and if it's not, it's not the end." The band then rips into an anthemic version of Seeds climax "Trouble," getting their best crowd response of the night for the song's similarly almost-reassuring chorus: "Oh, you keep telling yourself, 'Everything's gonna be okay'/ Oh, I keep telling myself, 'Don't worry, be happy.'" -- A.U.
8:29 p.m. Fifteen minutes into her twerk-filled performance, M.I.A. let her crowd know that they had some rather big shoes to fill during her 2016 single "Freedun": "I don't have Zayn here, so you're welcome to sing along." Perhaps the bigger issue than a missing Zayn, though, was the mic issues she seemed to be having, as M.I.A. began mic checking during the song and continued to fiddle with her earpiece throughout other songs. But despite the sound trouble, she danced her way through the show, climbing atop on the massive backdrop at one point and bringing up an audience member to join her later on. Keeping the energy high as she finished her set (30 minutes early), she closed things out with a bang by singing her hit "Paper Planes." -- T.W.
9:32 p.m. Gorillaz pack leader Damon Albarn bemoans that the "liberty bell" the band brought over from his own personal stash has (ironically?) experienced a crack, rendering it unable to produce the clarion call needed to properly announce the set's closer, "We Got the Power." No matter: Jehnny Beth of Savages, the last in an impressive series of guest stars brought about by Albarn & Co. for the second half of the group's set, more than makes up for its absence with her incendiary vocals, and stage presence, even climbing out into the audience for the final shout-along. And unlike JAY-Z's Day 1 headline set, the closer isn't really the closer: There's still Mos Def to come on "Stylo," and Del tha Funkee Homosapien for an appropriately apocalyptic "Clint Eastwood." -- A.U.