Las Vegas- What I love most in the world is having all my favorite types of music and artists all at the same place and at the same time. This past weekend, Day N Vegas was definitely worth freezing my whole body over just for this incredible lineup of artists and their performances. It’s truly an amazing experience to be amongst other people who love the same music as you who genuinely just want to have a great time and share a lot of memories with you for three fun-filled days.
Day N Vegas is honestly one of the best festivals I have ever been to. Hands down, I am really shocked that this festival was so fun and was so accommodating to both the audience and to its staff. I personally love that a festival can give so much back to the people that pay top dollar for an experience that will cater to their wants and needs, and I believe Day N Vegas delivered. The festival had a stellar lineup. The experience included from recent upcoming artists such as Lil Tecca, Doja Cat, and NLE Choppa, to older rap pioneers like Jay Rock, Kendrick Lamar, and Future. Every day was a stack of trap and rap music that was mixed in so well that, at no surprise, really created this consistent chill energy throughout the entire weekend.
The festival grounds provided a huge area for everyone to walk around in and made it easy for everyone to access the three stages provided to them. Food flooded the outskirts of the area and in the middle you can find small booths that serve alcohol and have a small area of decorations and tables so you can sit and enjoy the aroma of bass and snares throughout the festival. All attendees were extremely genuine, and this came as a surprise to me. I was so startled by the fact that everyone at this festival was actually very kind to one another. I’ve been to countless concerts, shows, and concerts and let me tell you, the people at Day N Vegas were actually there for the music and to have a great time. I like to people watch (is that weird?) and what I observed was just people of all ages interacting with one another and just enjoying certain artists together. It was an incredible moment to see everyone from all ethnicities and ages really coming together to just have a really good time.
Day 1 kicked off with an exciting trap lineup and I couldn’t wait to see the artist perform. It’s mainly the more underrated and upcoming artists that were performing and honestly, the first day did not disappoint. All the artists were well known for having a start on Soundcloud and making a bigger name for themselves.
To the right of the entrance was the festival’s biggest stage, “Jackpot”, and the same suits it. Off to start the day was Canadian trap artist Nav, who is infamously known as a producer who is signed to XO and Republic Records. Nav brings a new sense of fashion and luxury when it comes to trap music, and everyone can interpret his message very well. Songs such as “Minute” and “Tap” were instant fan favorites. His repetitive melodies and beats are seared into everyone’s mind and that’s the reason why Nav stays relevant throughout the years. Nav seemed to be enjoying himself by the way he looked into the crowd and by the way he presented himself actually having fun with the crowd.
Following up from Nav, at the “Hunnid” stage in the middle of the festival, was no one else but the man, myth, and legend himself, Xavier Wulf. Now I have been a fan of Xavier Wulf for some time now (since 2013 to be exact) and this was my second time actually seeing him perform. See the things about Xavier Wulf is that he is not afraid to have a rage-pumping fun time. Xavier is very aware of what his fans want and he just simply gives the crowd what they want, and that is the right mindset for any true artist. Around the middle of the set, Xavier brought out his longtime friend Eddy Baker, and together, they really gave the crowd what they wanted. As Xavier took control of the stage, Eddy engaged with the audience close to the photo pit. The fans were loving it, and as a photographer being 2 feet away from all the actions, it was extremely difficult to keep my excitement. I recommend anyone who listens to trap music to give Xavier Wulf a listen and to see for themselves why he was one of the top performances at that festival.
If we want to talk about the word legendary, I think a picture of J.Cole would come up. See, J.Cole is definitely one of the biggest names in the hip-hop industry, and for reason. He manages to capture a wide audience with his clever use of words, aesthetic and funny enough, his jokes. People love J.Cole because he presents himself just like everyone else, and he is extremely humble. No wonder J.Cole was the headliner for Friday night. Personally, I loved his album “For Your Eyez Only”, but I digress. J.Cole’s entrance was very impressive, starting off with a crowd-pleasing video of him wanting to run for President while passing out signs that read “Falloff 2020”. Again, his humor is loved by his fans. The opening song, “Middle Child”, started the long chilly night, but it wasn’t so chilly anymore. Fans started to go absolutely bonkers and going word for word with all his songs. Luckily, for all his fans, he brought out the entire Dreamville Team, only to perform even more songs with them. The East Coast-based record label was obviously getting a ton of love in the West coast. The hour-long set felt short to everyone as everyone was having such an extraordinary time. It was so fun to finally see J.Cole and his whole team take over the stage for the night.
Saturday’s lineup was the day that everyone got more bang for their buck. From starters such as ThouxanBanFauni, to Lil Baby, then to infamous trap sensation Young Nudy, I was kind of at a lost of words. I couldn’t wait to get started, and the first person I started off with, was ThouxanBanFauni.
Atlanta based rapper ThouxanBanFauni is one of the most underrated trap artists in the game at the moment. Aside from rising to fame alongside Playboi Carti and UnoTheActivist, he shows a great deal of character in his music, showing why he deserves to be one of the top youngest trap artists. I didn’t really know what to expect from such a young artist in the game, but he brought out the energy that everyone needed. From the moment he stepped out on stage, Fauni was like a kid in a candy store; he just could not stop running around! He bounced from stage right to stage left, and then eventually, into the crowd. The level of insanity Fauni creates for his shows is superb that even when I was done in the photo pit, I just stayed in the back looking at the entire performance for a bit. Got to say, I’d love to see Fauni again and knowing the constant energy he brings, I’d see him without my camera.
Following up on the roster was a newly famous Lil Tecca under Republic Records. Surprisingly enough, this was Lil Tecca’s first time in Las Vegas and the fans welcomed him with big warm arms. With fans screaming “we love you Tecca!” it’s no wonder why he is currently in the spotlight of hot new rappers. Everyone knows who Lil Tecca is. Even my Spotify demands that I listen to Lil Tecca on a daily basis. His popular songs like “Ransom” and “Did it Again” really make fans go crazy. Looking like a high-schooler, Tecca’s look is very unique and presents himself as a very prominent but humble artist. Gathering fast fame through the song “Ransom”, it’s easy to tell why Lil Tecca was demanded to be at this festival. I thought his set was great as I watched from the photo pit and I couldn’t believe that a young kid at such a young age born out of Queens made it to the West coast to perform his greatest hits.
It was definitely no surprise that Lil Baby was running a bit late. I mean the traffic in Vegas mid-day is no joke and you could probably get to the venue faster on foot than in a car. I had no idea what I was really about to experience as security let myself and the other photographers into the photo pit. As I stood there, camera ready to take some photos, a fan screamed out “the GOAT is here! that’s okay, I’ll wait for the GOAT!” (GOAT being an acronym for great of all time), and I was about to see why in a couple of minutes. As the Dj played the first song, “Yes Indeed” featuring Drake, four performers rushed on stage and started dancing to announce that Lil Baby has arrived. When his verse came up on the song, Lil Baby came out of the stage and just worked that stage like there was no tomorrow. Regular rappers would just stay in one position, but not Lil Baby. Lil Baby and his performers let the audience know that this was a show full of vigor and taste. I believed that this wasn’t even a set, this was an experience. I mean he had probably had what could have been the biggest crowd out of all days. I mean you can see that people love Lil Baby, and fortunate enough, Lil Baby loves his fans back. The Jackpot stage was exactly what you would get the most out of at a trap and hip hop festival and that is a memory that I will cherish forever.
Next up, back at the Hunnid Stage, was Young Nudy. Now Young Nudy has worked with several artist including Lil Uzi, Pierre Bourne, and the infamous 21 Savage. But Young Nudy has recently gained more fame when a leaked song of his came out on the internet that had featured Playboi Carti. Although he didn’t play the song at his set, it was still a set I was excited for. Young Nudy is pretty much what you see is what you get. His music is straight to the point. His songs kept the whole crowd vibing to his clever hooks. Nudy performed back to back hits almost with no break in between. His fan base, listening to related rappers such as Chief Keef and Fredo Santana, is very wild. Your legacy shows a lot when the crowd is going crazy when the performer isn’t even on stage. I believe that Young Nudy has very die-hard fans, and that shows a lot of how great Young Nudy speaks to the people.
If I had to describe Playboi Carti’s set with one word, I would turn my head to whoever it is I’m talking to and say the word… “moshpits”. You have absolutely not lived if you have never seen the infamous and rare appearing Playboi Carti perform in your lifetime. Not only did his presence just send shockwaves throughout the festival, but he also brought out Sheck Wes to the Roll The Dice stage. Being a fan of both artists, I just thought that I could die happy after this set. What people love most about Carti is his evolution of linguistics. Instead of having a heavy rap voice that many rappers have, he changed the trap game by using a more “baby mumble” voice across a spread of regular rap beats and still manages to just make his songs go viral each and every time. Fans still waiting for the new and delayed “Whole Lotta Red” album still got to hear an unreleased song called “Kid Cudi” live and the whole stage just shook from excitement. Fans knew every single song that played, including the unreleased track from his soon to come album. It’s no wonder why people need and want more Carti songs. That set was probably the most insane set I have ever experienced so far and I am glad that I was there to experience it.
Right after Carti, back at the Jackpot stage, was everyone’s versatile and creative trap artist, Trippie Redd. Trippie Redd is a genius when it comes to emotional trap music. His use of stretching out words to really make the listener feel what he’s feeling is so unique and distinct that it just makes you want to join in on every single song that he performs. I absolutely love the song “Wish” and standing from the photo pit, I could see that everyone else around me did too. Trippies melodies are what make everyone get hooked unto every single word in every song. Being very close friends to the long XXXTentacion, Trippie Redd played the infamous collaboration between the two, “Fuck Love”. As everyone had their arms crossed, in the shape of an X, the song just had the whole crowd singing in a harmonic synchronization and it was absolutely beautiful. There something about this emotional rapper that can make a whole crowd jump all over the place to the next minute, have them crying in one big circle. Trippie Redd makes your goosebumps have goosebumps and I loved every single second of the experience that he gave me.
Following up on an emotional rollercoaster, was 21 Savage. 21 Savage is an artist who I have been dying to see, and I mean absolutely dying. Ever since his famous album Savage Mode, produced by Metro Boomin, went viral 21 Savage has been the artist on the top of my “must-see before I die” list. Before the performance, a video premiere on the screen showing 21 Savage’s early gang life in Atlanta, showing some friends who have passed away and talking about how he doesn’t want fame, he only wants money. Ironically, he has both to this day, and there is no surprise there. 21 Savage continued on with big hits such as “No Heart”, “A Lot”, and “Bank Account”. His chill “slaughter-gang” rap flow is what keeps his songs stuck in people’s heads. His music is very potent and makes him stand out amongst others. In the midst of crowd surfing and pushpits, you could see the look on people’s faces realizing that everyone here for 21 Savage was a true fan. You can tell these people waited hours just to see this exact performance, and hey, I don’t blame them. I just hope next time I’m able to go to a 21 Savage concert without my expensive photography gear.
Everyone knows who the Migos are, and if you don’t, you probably live under a rock. The Migos headline pretty much every single trap festival because their songs are so catchy and everyone loves to scream out “Migo!” for no reason. I absolutely love it. I love every song the Migo has to offer. Migos know how to start a performance by having an opening video as an appetizer while having fire and a lit show as the main entree. As soon as they came out to the stage, everyone was jumping in sync and I swear there was a man-made earthquake in the middle of Las Vegas. Wow. Just wow. I never have seen so many people dance and jump at the same time. Being so close to Migos is actually so superb that I just wanted to go into the crowd and enjoy the set myself. I’ve seen Migos at other festivals around California and they never disappoint. Songs like “Get The Bag” and “Slippery” worked the crowd to a sweat. It’s such a show to see the three throw infamous ad-libs back and forth to each other. It honestly felt more like a huge backyard party knowing that at that moment all the focus was on the Jackpot stage. The Migos absolutely killed their set and I’m still itching to see them again.
To conclude the day was supposed to be Travis Scott, but since he could not make it, it was instead replaced by Future and Metro Boomin. Everyone knows who this amazing duo is. Metro Boomin played some tracks for about twenty minutes while Future got ready to come out. It was a bit slow-paced until Future came out, but It was definitely worth the wait. Although it wasn’t the most hyped-up performance of the weekend, it was still very entertaining to watch two top dawgs performing just a couple of feet away from each other. Future had a couple of new albums come out recently but mainly played much older hits like “F**k Up Some Commas” and “Thought it Was A Drought”. These songs have to be the most loved songs by Future and seemed that his new and old fans both loved the music that he performed. It was a good vibe to fade into the night and to end day 2 of Day N Vegas.
You have to start the day off right with Flatbush Zombies. I mean these guys are just the definition of rappers who have created a wave of grunge drug rap. The rap trio from Brooklyn has always stayed in their own lane and that’s why Flatbush Zombies remain relevant to this day. I can see a certain trend that west coast just loves when the east coast come out to perform for us. It’s such a different vibe to experience hip hop that sounds so crisp even with that dark raspy voice they all trademarked. There is no other rap trio that has such an influence like the Zombies do. They managed to get a huge crowd going in the beginning of that day and it was very impressive to see so many people knowing so many songs off the top of their head.
Everyone knows who Ski Mask the Slump God is, and if you don’t, then let me tell you about him. Ski Mask is extremely eccentric about his music and appearance. Never underestimate him being alone on a stage because his performance was astounding. As he came out, bass just trembled the whole entire festival grounds. The crowd was a sea of people on other people’s shoulders and kids just crowd surfing. You could see the excitement on everyone’s face as if they were ready to have an experience like no other. As Ski Mask came out, with the help of DJ Scheme, the crowd let out a roar as I have never heard before. Ski Mask continued to play popular songs like “Take A Step Back”, “Baby Wipe” and “Catch Me Outside” and had the whole crowd moving non-stop. I love Ski’s fast technical rap that he approaches songs with because it creates a sense of out of the box creativeness and it’s a huge fresh air when listening him. No wonder why everyone loves Ski Mask the Slump God. Overall, just an amazing set that absolutely needed to be there.
I have been a huge fan of Hoodrich Pablo Juan ever since he dropped the Designer Drugz 3 album back in 2017. Day N Vegas did an amazing job at having a lineup that really articulates the aesthetic of trap music and having the newly 1017 Eskimo records signed artist Hoodrich Pablo Juan on it was just the icing on the cake. Hoodrich has this really nice trap vibe where it’s very chill and mellow, but it makes you feel good about yourself. Hoodrich Pablo’s set felt more like a house party, and I think that is how he probably wanted the crowd to experience his set. The music, in my opinion, is what is suppose to make you feel like you’re at a party with friends and you’re just having a good time being there. After the first song, he brought out JB Blockboy, which also fit the criteria of just rappers wanting to have a really fun performance. Both artists have just a unique sense of music that keeps everyone wanting to have more fun. This was the definition of Atlanta-based trap and I wish other festivals could have an authentic lineup just like Day N Vegas.
Remember when I talked about old rap pioneers? Well here is probably one of the most amazing hip-hop artists that I have seen so far. T.D.E’s earliest member Jay Rock rocked the Jackpot stage as night approached (no pun intended). Jay Rock is such an underrated rapper and I was excited to see his perform. His rhymes and flows really bring me back to my younger days when I would listen to Fashawn or Nas. He is a very concrete hip hop artist and that is what people love about him. Jay Rock makes people just smile by playing classics like “Hood Gone Love It” and “Vice City”. His music is genuinely just really good and he has a nice swagger when he performs as well. Being so close to the man I have always appreciated since I was young has made me realize that I need to go see an artist like Jay Rock more often. It makes you realize that there is so much good hip-hop music and that festivals like these really bring the best out. Jay Rock was splendid to watch and I would love to see him if he ever goes on tour someday.
Now having back to back T.D.E. members is a real treat. Schoolboy Q was up next and I didn’t really know what to expect. As I stood in the photo pit with a cold and stoic face on with my hands gripped to my camera, I had no initial thought of what was going to happen. As Schoolboy Q came out on stage, the crowd roared as if they were about to go to war. I was extremely happy to hear older popular songs he made like “Collad Greens” and “Man of the Year”. Even jokingly saying he had such a short time to perform any songs, he played as many songs as he could. See, Schoolboy Q likes to have a lot of fun on stage by joking around and clowning on people in the audience, which I think is a very funny trait to have as a performer. He delivered a fire performance. At one point I was afraid that the photo pit gates behind me were going to tumble down and people were going to spew in and charge the stage. People were just getting on top of each other, inching their way little by little to get closer to Schoolboy. The crowd was intense which just made the performance even better. He only performed for about half-an-hour, but I just wished he had a longer set because the crowd and I were just having so much fun listening to him joke around and perform.
I have been waiting several years to finally get to see Lil Tracy play at some sort of festival and it finally happened. Without dismissing absolutely brilliant rappers, I thought Lil Tracy was the best set I have attended that whole weekend. I couldn’t have asked for a better set. Lil Tracy, long-time friend of Lil Peep (rest in peace), has been an artist that’s been on my radar for many years. Lil Tracy is what you would call an emo trap artist, producing songs based around heartbreak and emotional problems surrounding women and money. Representing GothBoi Clique, Lil Tracy was able to gather an enormous crowd at the Hunnid stage. Being so close to one of my favorite trap artist was just a one in a lifetime experience. Lil Tracy has such a loyal fan base and an unpredictable show. He performed extremely popular songs like “Beautiful Nightmare”, “White Wine”, and “Cobain”. I just felt like Lil Tracy music just warms my heart. It’s a huge relief to know that there is an artist out there that makes music for people who are more down in the dumps than usual. But just because Lil Tracy makes emotional music, doesn’t mean his fans don’t turn up to his music. Everyone knew every single verse, ad-lib, and chorus to all the songs he performed. This was the set I was waiting for the whole weekend and probably my life, and you know what, I think I can die happy now because I absolutely feel much more fulfilled after seeing that set.
With that we end the most incredible three day weekend at the Day N Vegas 2019 festival at the Las Vegas Fairgrounds. If you ever realized you are a lifelong sufferer of FOMO (fear of missing out), then all I can say is that you really missed out on a great weekend. I can’t begin to say how much I enjoyed being around thousands of raving hip hop fans just like myself listening to music that we all enjoy on a daily basis. Being so up-close and personal to these performers really brings out the best in you and just lets you really be yourself. All I can say is, is that Day N Vegas was truly a remarkable experience and it has me looking back at all the artists I saw, reminding me that this was probably the best hip hop festival I have ever been to.