Jay-Z's annual Philly music festival Made In America is this Labor Day Weekend (Saturday, 9/1 and Sunday, 9/2) on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway (where it will stay "for years to come"). There are tons of big acts to see, like Kendrick Lamar, Nicki Minaj, Post Malone, Meek Mill, Diplo, Zedd, Miguel, Janelle Monae and Pusha T, but if you're looking for something slightly more under the radar, we've put together a list of ten non-headliners to see. Many of them are playing the Skate Stage (which leans towards smaller rappers and punk bands).
Read on for our list, in no particular order, below. Who are you most excited to see at Made In America 2018?
SOB X RBE
Vallejo rap group SOB x RBE are having an incredibly prolific breakout year. They started the year off with a standout guest appearance on "Paramedic!" off Kendrick Lamar's Black Panther album, and then released their own awesome album Gangin, which has everything from '80s rap revival to modern-day auto-tune. Members have also since released solo work, and SOB x RBE are set to release Gangin's sequel/followup Gangin II "soon." Going by lead single "Vibes," they haven't ran out of steam one bit.
After making a name for themselves as one of the biggest modern bands in hardcore punk, Turnstile decided to drastically change it up for this year's astonishing TIME & SPACE. It's still got all the speed and fury of their earlier material, but they work in elements of psychdelia, R&B, melodic alternative rock, and more. It even has co-production on a song by (fellow Made In America performer) Diplo. You can pick out a lot of Turnstile's influences, but as a whole, TIME & SPACE is an album that truly feels like something new for hardcore and that's not easy to come by these days. Plus, their live show is even better.
Rapper/producer JPEGMAFIA's great new album Veteran has elements of abstract rap, hardcore rap, conscious rap, and other subgenres, but it's never quite any of those things. His delivery and lyrics are dripping with venom, and he's a highly energized live performer too. We recently caught him as a special guest with Denzel Curry (whose new album he's on) and playing his own set at Afropunk Brooklyn, and both times he wasted no time jumping off the stage and into the crowd.
Jay Rock was signed to Top Dawg Entertainment before his pal Kendrick was, but as the label and its artists grew, Jay started to take a bit of a backseat. Not because his music wasn't good enough though. When he finally put out 2015's 90059 and this year's even better Redemption, Jay Rock proved that he's still got a lot to say, and that he's still got the toughest flows of anyone on the label. Kendrick, TDE's ever-popular SZA, and other big names like Future, J Cole, and Jeremih pop up on Redemption, but it's Jay Rock's show, and one of the finest rap albums released this year so far. Catch him while these songs are still fresh.
Chance the Rapper is still the biggest rapper out of Chicago's current thriving hip hop scene, but in terms of talent, Saba gives him a run for his money. 2016's Bucket List was promising, but this year's Care For Me is on a whole other level. He's got gripping lyricism and jazzy production that rival Kendrick Lamar, and a real wisdom in his words that most artists don't achieve until much later in their careers. When he compares himself to both 2Pac and Jesus in the same song, it doesn't feel out of line.
There's a minor nu metal revival going on within the hardcore scene (in a good way), and Code Orange are at the forefront of it. The band's ripping 2017 album Forever got love from hardcore kids, critics, and even the Grammys, and they already followed it this year with a new EP, The Hurt Will Go On, which kept the momentum going (and which features Slipknot's Corey Taylor on a song). They're a crushing live act, and if you need some teeth-clenching, white-knuckling rock at this mostly-hip hop festival, you shouldn't miss this band.
Harlem rapper Sheck Wes signed to Kanye's G.O.O.D. Music earlier this year, and he's been unstoppable since. He appeared on stage with Drake in Toronto, he got the Fool's Gold Day Off crowd in his home city going crazy, and he wowed crowds as an opener on Playboi Carti's tour too. It's not hard to see why -- his songs speak for themselves, especially "Mo Bamba," which came out in the very beginning of the year and slowly but surely became one of 2018's most memorable songs.
Of the few rock bands on this festival, most of them tend to be highly energetic, but Petal provides some relief from that. Her great new album Magic Gone has some indie rock rippers on it, but it's mostly a softer, slower, singer/songwriter album, sort of in the Julien Baker vein. Her soaring voice and highly personal storytelling makes it impossible to turn away.
Houston rapper Maxo Kream still hasn't had much of a mainstream breakthrough, but this year's great Punken really deserves one. It came out in early 2018 and it remains one of the most enjoyable records of the year. Maxo's impressive flow just rolls off his tongue, his lyrics are enticing, and he's got hooks for days.
While Rocky and Ferg compete to be the biggest name in A$AP Mob, A$AP Twelvyy has been making a case for himself as the third-stringer. Last year's 12 is one of the hardest New York rap records in recent memory -- it showcases a few other greats of the city's current scene (Rocky, Ferg, Joey Bada$$, Flatbush Zombies), but Twelvyy is never outrapped by any of them. Sometimes, the best songs are the ones without any guests at all.
Made In America set times, livestream info, and a chance to win tickets HERE.