By Phinesse Scott
August 27, 2018
Since its inception in 2012, the Made in America music festival (founded by hip-hop mogul Jay-Z) will once again take center stage on the Ben Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The two-day music event, named after a track from Jay-Z and Kanye’s 2011 album Watch the Throne was documented in the 2013 short film aptly titled Made in America by filmmaker Ron Howard. Jay-Z talks about how the idea of Made in America is much bigger than just a concert; it’s his attempt to show that no matter who you are, we all have the same struggle in pursuit of the American Dream.
This concept is fitting for a festival that takes place on Labor Day weekend in the City of Brotherly love, as Philadelphia is a city with a storied American history. When it was first announced by Jay-Z and Michael Nutter (former Mayor of Philadelphia), both agreed the festival would benefit the United Way. The event has had a $102.8 million economic impact on the city and has raised $2.9 million for the United Way of Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey according to an open letter written by Hov. Even with all the positive energy and the economic impact of the event, complaints from local Philadelphia residents regarding the festival’s location caused a quick public dispute between Made in America and the Mayor’s office in June. But after a private meeting between Roc Nation and Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney, it looks like the festival will remain in the heart of the city.
This will be the seventh consecutive year Jay-Z and Made in America will be showcasing an impressive lineup of music. Big headliners this year include Nicki Minaj, Kendrick Lamar, Post Malone, Meek Mill and Diplo, just to name a few.
Here’s who we’re excited to see at Made in America 2018:
Best known for his breakout single “Prblms,” Atlanta artist 6lack recently teased fans with a Instagram photo hinting at a new album titled East Atlanta Love Letter. The unique sound of 6lack is a blend of rap and R&B which is clear in his debut album titled, FREE 6LACK. With recent releases “Switch” and “OTW,” 6lack is sure to be a highly danceable and entertaining set.
Canadian singer-songwriter Daniel Caesar got his big break from his two EP’s titled Praise Break and Pilgrim’s Paradise. His 2016 single “Get You” (featuring Kali Uchis) went platinum and he’s currently off his worldwide tour Freudian, which is also the title of his debut album. The raw and soulful style of Freudian is full of love ballads and includes the mega-hit “Best Part” featuring up-and-comer H.E.R., harmonizing together to talk about the best parts of love. You’ll likely be swaying to the sweet sounds of Caesar at MIA.
Pennsylvania native Lil Skies, no longer can be called a Soundcloud rapper as his lyrical abilities have exceeded the “mumble rap” tag given to many young up-and-coming rappers. With the release of his 2017 debut mixtape Life of a Dark Rose, Skies is here to make his name in the hip-hop world. “Red Rose,” “Nowadays” and “Lust” are three singles from the project that have enticing melodies and bars to accompany. Skies makes feel good trap music, and has an explosive stage presence which is definitely going to get the crowd hype.
Another familiar name to the MIA lineup this year is Janelle Monae, who played the inaugural fest in 2012. She released her third studio album Dirty Computer on April 27, debuting at No. 1 on Billboard’s Top R&B Albums chart in May. Her 45-minute sci-fi themed “emotion picture” accompanying the album depicts Monae as a “dirty computer” who doesn’t conform to change, exemplifying her immense talent as an actor, singer-songwriter and model.
Grammy-nominated R&B crooner Miguel, who recently ended his War & Leisure tour in April announced in June that he’ll be back on the road for his Ascension tour starting late August. Noted for his soulful love songs, Miguel stepped out of the box with his War & Leisure album released in December. Party-themed tracks like “Sky Walker” featuring rapper Travis Scott, and “Caramelo Duo” featuring Kali Uchis have up-tempo beats but neither lack his signature groovy R&B style.
TDE veteran and Watts, California street rapper Jay Rock has made a triumphant return in 2018 with his album Redemption. Opening the BET Awards with his summer anthem “Win,” it has indeed been a year of redemption for Jay Rock with a feature on the Black Panther: The Album soundtrack and a nationwide headlining tour. He’s sure to bring his signature west side wave to the masses in Philly this weekend.
Hard-hitting punchline rapper Pusha T released his long-awaited third studio album titled Daytona in May. Executive produced by Kanye West, the album was both speaker-knocking and content heavy. The aggressive lyricist ended his Drake rap beef with his freestyle “Story of Adidon,” when he publicly exposed him for having a secret love child. 2018 has been a standout year for Pusha T as he once again shows how much of a wordsmith he really is.
The Compton, California native and recent Pulitzer Prize winner for his fourth studio album Damn, has attendees anxious after the announcement on August 13 that he’ll be performing a “very special set.” Kendrick, who recently finished his TDE Championship Tour isn’t a stranger to the Made in America stage, as he has blessed Philly with a performance in 2013. With the February release of the Black Panther album, fans may not be sure what to expect, but he is bound to steal the show.
Check out the full lineup for Made in America Festival September 1 + 2 in Philadelphia, PA.