Days before the Made in America festival was set to kick off, there was rumors that Beyonce was gong to make a surprise appearance during her husband Jay-Z’ day one closing set.
Queen Bey never hit the stage.
Instead, Jay-Z secured a larger guest: Moments after Hov performed his first song of the night, "Public Service Announcement," a pre-recorded video of President Barack Obama bigging up Jay-Z and urging folks to vote appeared on the screen.
What a way to kick off the two-day Budweiser Made in America festival, the first of many, hopefully.
The first day of the festival saw a wide spectrum of pop acts perform on three separate stages. Earlier in the day, rap acts like MMG (who got a lot of love because of hometown kid Meek Mill) and Jay Electronica dominated the hip-hop action. While the always quirky Janelle Monae and the rejuvenated D’Angelo put it down for the soul crowd.
Later on, it was indie pop bands like Miike Snow and Passion Pitt left their mark.
All throughout the day, if you looked closely at the backstages, you could see Jay-Z lurking around, enjoying most of the musical guest.
Jay was looking as a fan.
Or, maybe he was getting inspiration for his set.
Jay entered the stage at 9:00PM, while the “Made in America” played. From there he performed for an hour and a half straight, rarely even taking a break to catch his breath. He naturally dipped into his reliable like hits like “Izzo (H.O.V.A.)” and “Empire State of Mind,” but he also did some undervalued gems like " Murda Murda" and "Excuse Me Mss."
Being that we were in Philly, Jay decided to have a mini-State Property reunion. Freeway, Young Gunz — Young Chris & Neef Buck — and Memphis Bleek came out to help Hov on classics like “What We Do" and “You, Me Him and Her.” There were scant chants throughout the crowd for Beanie Sigel, who’s from Philly and who was Jay’s right-hand man in the rap game for years, but considering his latest legal snafu, there was zero chance he was going to show up.
At 10:30, the show came to an end.
However, if you’ve ever been to a Jay show, you know that he doesn’t leave without doing a couple of encores. This latest encore involved G.O.O.D Music, who had their own surprise set and who wrapped the night up, coming out to Chief Keef’s “I Don’t Like.”
All the major G.O.O.D Music components were there from Kanye, Pusha and Common to unofficial member 2 Chainz, who was at Rock the Bells in New Jersey earlier that day.
The night officially ended with Jay coming back out and then dong one last track — “Niggas in Paris,” only once this time.
The song ended and fireworks went off, completing an epic first day. Only in America.