The first installment of JAY-Z's Made in America festival was a winner. The lineup spanned genres: hip-hop, neo-soul, punk rock, etcetera etcetera. And when it came to hip-hoppers in particular, artists from every generation and sub-genre were well represented: Run DMC's Ol' Skool flavor alongside G.O.O.D. Music Group's new school aesthetics; Odd Future's dystopian anthems alongside Drake's R&B-flavored raps. Jay-Z even managed to get the President of the United States to make a cameo.
The two-day festival went down on Sept 1 - Sept 2 at the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia, PA. The sun smiled on the first day, while it rained in portions on the second. The entire thing has been captured in a documentary by Ron Howard and Brian Grazer. We'll get a closer look at the festivities and, hopefully, some backstage stuff whenever it drops. For now, here's a rundown of the festival's best moments.
5. Jay Electronica Showcase
Jay Electronica was one of several Roc Nation artists on the bill (Rita Ora and Melanie Fiona also performed at the Philly festival). He was on point for most of the set, even if his breath control was lagging a bit. The highlights were "Eternal Sunshine" and the set close "Exhibit C
," which he kicked a cappella and in the crowd. Jay dropping that Five Percent knowledge while two white girls crowdsurfed gleefully. Surreal.
4. G.O.O.D. Music Showcase
Made In America wasn't complete without an appearance from Jay's favorite collaborator, Kanye West
. And what's a Ye set these days without his G.O.O.D. Music posse flanking him? Pusha T, Big Sean, 2 Chainz and Common, all showed up to showcase new songs off their upcoming compilation, Cruel Summer
. "Mercy," "New God Flow," and more. Then Kanye took over and performed solo stuff from his enviable catalog. Fittingly, Yeezy and Hov reunited on stage and closed Day 1 with Watch the Throne
anthem "N---as in Paris."
3. Run DMC Reunion
The surviving members of Run DMC
, Darryl "D.M.C." McDaniels and Joseph "Run" Simmons, graced the stage together for the first time in 13 years at Made in America: Day 2. Imagine the special feeling coursing through the veins of all those new school rap fans when they finally got to see Run DMC. Imagine experiencing all those 80s hits you've been watching on YouTube, seeing it live, hearing these guys kick it like it was '88 all over again: "My Adidas," "It's Tricky," and of course, "Walk This Way" (sans Aerosmith). Even Jay-Z, who deserves credit for honoring these guys, was seen moving and grooving to the Ol' Skool hits he came up on. Beautiful.
2. Jay-Z's Set"Allow me to re-introduce myself," Jay-Z declared at the start of his set, decked out in all black, Brooklyn Nets hat, smirking, sneering at the crowd, thousands of fans roaring in ecstasy. No introduction necessary. This is Hov's house. He kicked the door open with a stellar solo set, setting the table, serving up a whirlwind of hits before inviting guests to join his historic shindig.
1. President Obama's PSAJay-Z's first guest at Made in America was President Obama. Right after "PSA," the president beamed in via video to drop a PSA of his own. In the pre-recorded message, Obama offered suport for Jay-Z's festival, echoed the vision of "Made in America," and urged the young concertgoers to go and register to vote. How do you top that?