Last weekend, the Day N’ Night festival completely took over Anaheim, California. The 3-day event, put on by Revolt TV, boasted a line-up of stars and up and comers that has been rivaled only by Rolling Loud and Coachella. Everybody was there, and when I say everybody—I mean EVERYBODY. To give you an idea, here are some of the artists who were in attendance: Matt Ox, SiR, SZA, Smino, Chance The Rapper, Lil’ Pump — & Peep, Travis Scott, J.I.D., Lil’ Uzi Vert, Playboi Carti, Kendrick Lamar, Dom Kennedy, YG and many, many more. To be honest, that wasn’t even half of the line-up, and that’s not even mentioning the army of non-performing artists and celebs that were there to watch as fans. Names like Christina Milian – who looked, FLAWLESS – Karruche, Larry Sanders – more on that later – and Nipsey Hussle were on hand to enjoy the festivities of the exciting weekend, which all culminated with a closing performance by the greatest rapper alive. But the talk of the town, was who had the best set, and that honor did not belong to Mr. Lamar. Check out our recap, below.
From the absolute jump, my Day N’ Night trip didn’t go as planned. My flight was delayed on Friday, flying into LAX, which left me landing at 7 PM in LA. Now, the festival was in Anaheim, and Travis went on at 9. If anybody knows a thing about California traffic, they know I had no chance at making that set on time. Just want to send a special middle finger to Spirit Airlines who made me miss, what I heard, was a legendary set.
Day 2 started off on a high note, though. As soon as we made it into the venue, I could faintly hear the melodies from one of my favorite songs of 2017, “Lauder,” by recent Dreamville signee, J.I.D. The Atlanta native quickly proved and confirmed to me why he was one of my favorite new artists period, effortlessly hitting bar after bar and sounding exactly as he did on wax, a feat that not many rappers can boast. While his set was early in the day, the fans still showed up and showed out, chanting out word for word the lyrics to J.I.D.’s biggest song to date, “Never.” Don’t be surprised if the Spillage Village rep is headlining this festival a few years from now, there were many similarities between his execution and Kendrick’s. Kendrick just had the bigger platform. More on that later.
After running to catch one of the must see sets in J.I.D., we now had a bit of time to explore the venue before Rich Chigga – yes, we had to see Rich Chigga – went on. Taking place in front of Angel Stadium, the set up for the festival, logistically, was a lot better than I had imagined. The beautiful California palm trees illuminated by the stadium lights and the spotlights from the festival made for a breathtaking – not to sound like an old white woman – scene that enhanced the experience ten-fold. Even the media room was flawless, providing the perfect view of the field inside the stadium. I’ll say this, baseball might be the most boring sport to watch but no sport has a prettier setting.
Next up to bat were Rich Chigga and Playboi Carti, two artists cut from a similar
Soundcloud cloth but in two different points of their careers. While Carti highlighted the undisputed fact that he’s up next after Uzi, Chigga more or less seemed like he had something to prove, and he proved it. The man who was formerly known as an internet joke, isn’t so funny anymore–as he performed a string of tracks that I am admittedly unfamiliar with, but had be bouncing!
After Carti and Chigga lit up the main stage, it was time for SZA to slow it down a little bit. While I’m not the biggest fan of her new album, I was definitely among the minority. The sea of drunk college kids peppered in with High School students passionately sang the words right along to tracks like, “Drew Barrymore,” “Love Galore” and even, “Child’s Play” which I reeeeeeeeeeeeally wanted Chance to come out for.
No luck. In fact, my only gripe about the festival is the fact that despite all of these big names – who often collaborate – there weren’t many on-stage guest appearances. Truthfully, the only ones I can recall are Nispey coming out during Dom’s set to do, “Checc Me Out,” and Uzi, who brought out internet sensation Matt Ox to essentially….. be his back up dancer, though he did it in a big brotherly way. In the midst of a scorching set, the best I’ve seen from Vert, that included tracks like, “Dark Queen”, “Xo Tour Life” and my personal new favorite, “Feelings Mutual”; Uzi took the time to introduce Matt Ox and publicly co-sign him all while Ox was standing on the DJ Booth doing his best to recreate the dance moves that have made him so popular on the web. Though Ox was definitely a highlight, Uzi’s set was really illuminated by three things:
- Lil’ Uzi Vert is without a doubt going all in with the demonic rock star thing. This is not a joke. He really thinks he’s Janis Joplin reincarnated, and he might be.
- Uzi is on the cusp of becoming the biggest artist in the world. Not just rapper, but artist. His stage presence is phenomenal.
- Rappers really are the best A&R’s and that’s no longer a question.
After Uzi, it was time to see one of the artists that I’ve been trying to see live all year, Smino. Now, I won’t lie; I really didn’t expect for Smino to live up to my standards of how I wanted to hear him perform, despite reports from colleagues that he was amazing live. That’s no slight to him, though. If anything, it’s a compliment to his recorded music. On ‘Blkswn‘, Smino’s delivery with his bars was impeccable, perfect even. He never missed a beat, & the way he harmonized with the melodies and instruments throughout each song, I just didn’t think it could translate. Boy!! I was WRONG! Without a doubt, Smino delivered a top-five performance of the weekend that left the crowd – and even other artists like SZA – buzzing the rest of the festival. His live band hit every single note right along with him and Smino delivered a vocal performance for the books. To say he surprised the crowd with his singing ability would be an understatement. In fact, had one particular artist not showed up with a particular band, Smino might’ve had the honor of being the most in sync with his crew.
To close out Day 2, I made sure that I was front and center in VIP for Lil’ Pump on the Day Stage. This was going to be the moment that I either warmed up to Pump, or denounced him for good. Live performances are always what either makes or breaks an artist to me and I wanted nothing more than to have any semblance of hope of me being a Pump fan shattered into a trillion pieces.
With the way the crowd reacted to his set, despite an awful vocal performance, I have to give respect to the 17-year-old known as The Trapper of the Century. The set was essentially a big fuck you to fellow performer Russ, who was loudly denouncing Xanax and Codeine – two huge parts of Pump’s brand for better or worse – to anybody who would listen. As for the set in total? There were no songs that I wanted to go home and hear again, and I can’t tell you one word he said other than, “Lil’ Pump” and “Eskeddit,” but at 22-years-old, I just have to come the conclusion that he’s not speaking to me and just enjoy it for it was, a good ass time.
With Pump and the X-Men – get it? Like Xans? *laughs in solitude listening to “What They Want”* — getting rowdy on the Day Stage, everybody over the age of 17 was looking to grab the best spot that they could for the main draw of the night, and maybe the festival in total, Chance The Rapper. Now, I can write a whole piece – I plan too — on why Chance had the best performance of the whole festival and how I saw flashes of Prince during his set. I could also write a whole piece on how his supporting band, The Social Experiment, stole the whole festival with their surprise appearance. But instead of dragging you through the disappointment of not witnessing a moment in Hip-Hop, I’ll sum up Chance Jackson’s set with a quote from my photographer for the weekend Kiari Cook – who also moonlights as buzzing west coast artist, Kiari the Stone,
“Chance took niggas to church tonight.”
After seeing heavily demonic sets from Carti and Uzi that included upside down crosses, devil horns and plenty of anarchy, it was as if Chance came out and cleansed everybody of our sins. I won’t front, I was the first person to shit on ‘Coloring Book’ due to its ability at times to feel like it’s forcing religion on you, but I ate my words in full this weekend. What was previously a skippable song damn near every time on my phone, “Blessings” almost brought me to tears. His words of encouragement between every song felt like a much needed sermon and it never once felt phony or forced. His gracious appreciation for his band, who put a halt in their tour to be in attendance, just sealed the fact that Chance is one of the best people that Hip-Hop has to offer….. unless you happen to own a record label. During, “No Problems,” Chance continued his tour of fuck you’s to the record labels and made memes of each these historic companies — Summer Jam style — citing a roar of cheers from VIP, which was full of young artists just soaking up game from the young legend. It was without a doubt, not only the highlight of Saturday, but of the whole festival.
Check out our recap of Day 3, here, which includes commentary from the last day of the festival.