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Michigan State University Student Radio

Impact 89FM | WDBM-FM

Michigan State University Student Radio

Impact 89FM | WDBM-FM

Michigan State University Student Radio

Impact 89FM | WDBM-FM

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Concert Review | Lyrical Lemonade Summer Smash 2024

Festival+Grounds+for+Lyrical+Lemonade+Summer+Smash+2024
Angelo Savino
Festival Grounds for Lyrical Lemonade Summer Smash 2024

For those unfamiliar, the Lyrical Lemonade Summer Smash is an annual music festival co-created by Lyrical Lemonade and SPKRBX. What began as a small gathering of creatives and music enthusiasts has evolved into the world’s largest independent hip-hop festival, attracting over 120,000 attendees this year. Year after year, the festival pushes the boundaries, and this year was no exception.

This year’s festival will undoubtedly go down in history, not only for the festival itself but for the hip-hop industry as a whole. The return of Chief Keef to Chicago after over twelve years solidified its historical significance, but that was just one piece of the puzzle. The festival also featured the first collective performance of record label Cactus Jack, led by Travis Scott, and the beginning of a new era for Playboi Carti, among other notable moments.

 

The lineup boasted both familiar names to the festival like Playboi Carti, Ski Mask the Slump God, and Lucki, along with new additions such as Kodak Black, Big Sean, and That Mexican OT. The DJ lineup was also stacked with some of the best in the game, including F1lthy, DJ Scheme, Zack Bia, and Kerwin Frost, who all delivered equally iconic sets.

This year’s festival also incorporated several unique elements. The NFL, in collaboration with the festival, hosted an on-site flag football tournament with prizes like Bears season tickets and exclusive branded merchandise. In addition to the festival merchandise, streetwear vendors and brands, including local favorites Half Evil, were on-site selling their own pieces along with artist and/or festival collaborations. Another unique opportunity the festival presented was the 730 Printing Tour, which featured live screen printing where attendees could print a unique Chicago-exclusive design on garments, creating one-of-a-kind festival souvenirs.

 

This year’s Summer Smash Restaurant also included a completely revamped food lineup featuring dishes celebrating several artists at the festival, like “The Lazer Dim Burger,” “Kodak Black Buffalo Wings,” and “That Mexican OT Elote Corn Dog,” led by Chef Brian Fisher, a James Beard-nominated Michelin Star recipient. These plates could be accompanied by actual Lyrical Lemonade, with some cans being in collaboration with the performing artists.

Although the festival didn’t start with F1lthy’s set, it truly kicked off the vibe of the weekend. YouTube personalities BadlandsChugs and Airsoftfatty made an appearance during the set for a hilarious lightsaber battle and a water chugging competition. The energy they brought, paired with the beat of F1lthy-produced classics like “Stop Breathing,” let attendees know they were at the Summer Smash.

 

Friday ended with Cactus Jack making their debut performance as a collective, exceeding the incredibly high expectations set for the label. SoFaygo started the set with a bang, and the energy built up after each song until the very end. Sheck Wes followed with an unreleased track that struck a chord with the crowd. Don Toliver delivered an angelic performance, harmonizing over tracks from “Hardstone Psycho” while covering his discography. Travis Scott then joined Don Toliver for “CAN’T SAY,” bringing unparalleled rage. Travis continued with hits like “Antidote,” “Goosebumps,” and “SICKO MODE.” In line with the Utopia Tour, he performed “FIEN” back-to-back five times, with Sheck Wes returning on the final playthrough to rap his unreleased verse, a true gift to hear live. Travis wrapped up the night by stating that he’s nothing without the rest of Cactus Jack and brought them out to perform “Gang Gang,” a perfect way to end the night before Don closed with “TORE UP.”

Travis Scott performs at Lyrical Lemonade Summer Smash 2024. (Angelo Savino)

Saturday night was spotlighted by Playboi Carti’s remarkable performance, featuring the entirety of 00pium on stage with him in addition to DJ Swamp Izzo, who acted as his hype man while also hitting the queue on his adlibs. Carti kicked off his set with “H00DBYAIR,” as 00pium members started to fill the front of the stage and get the crowd amped up. Fans were eager to hear these new tracks live, as this was his first performance since their release, and it didn’t disappoint. His love for Chicago was unmatched, and it was shown throughout the entire performance as he brought his all to the show and made sure to make it known that he is the music.

Then the moment everyone was waiting for came around on Sunday. Although there were some other great moments throughout the day, Chief Keef’s return was the real highlight. The city had been in a drought, not seeing him perform there for what felt like ages due to restrictions. Some doubted the return when they saw it, but no doubt it was here. The moment it really hit me was when Lil Yachty concluded his set by asking the fans to make sure they show Chief Keef the respect and love he deserves, and that they did. As soon as he touched the stage, the crowd went crazier than I had seen it the entire weekend, despite it being the final hours. The city welcomed him home and it was a miracle to see Chief Keef Sosa performing live in Chicago. His set was immaculate, performing several hits with friends and family on stage, notably his daughter, G Herbo, and Tadoe among others. If there was one moment from this festival to remember, it was most definitely this one, and attendees will be boasting about being in attendance for years to come.

There were far too many highlights to cover them all, but these moments stood out as some of the most memorable of the weekend. Overall, the production and curation of the festival were impeccable, from the stellar artist lineup to the perfectly paired DJs and amenities throughout the festival. It welcomed all attendees to experience history and create lifelong memories, leaving everyone eagerly anticipating next year.

 

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