In 2012, Hip-Hop legend and business mogul Jay-Z brought the Made In America music festival to Philadelphia, Pa., and every year since, the colossal musical extravaganza has brought us some of the biggest names across genres and has headlined artists who define the current culture.
This month on Sept. 4 and 5 (aka Labor Day Weekend), the festival will be celebrating its 10th year with an exciting lineup of artists like Megan Thee Stallion, Doja Cat, Moneybagg Yo, Griselda, Roddy Ricch and, of course, the show’s headliners Justin Bieber and Lil Baby.
So, in honor of 2021 being set to cap off a decade of breathtaking performances and cultural celebration, we have compiled 7 of the best Made In America moments that have taken place from the time of its inaugural to its last show in 2019.
Let’s start with the inaugural event.
7. Jay-Z performs “99 Problems” with Pearl Jam
The iconic rock band from Seattle performed what has been hailed as one of the best sets of the festival in its first year in 2012, but an undeniable highlight of Pearl Jam’s time on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway stage came when they were joined by HOV himself to bless the world with a live band rendition of his 2003 smash hit “99 Problems.”
6. Cardi B climbs to the top
We all know that “Bodak Yellow” sensation Cardi B is a wild child who proves time and time again that she’s a lot of things, but a punk ain’t one of them. In 2019, Cardi headlined MIA’s opening night on the Rocky Stage, but her set wasn’t for the faint of heart. While performing her song “Press,” the Bronx rapper scaled the stage scaffolding while barefoot and with a mic in her hand rhyming without missing a beat…or a step, thankfully. Security was certainly nervous and her doctor was probably clearing their schedule while watching the performance, but she left the stage uninjured that night and the fans loved every second of it.
5. Lizzo and Dababy…you know which moment we mean
Cardi B’s Catwoman moment wasn’t the only particularly amusing moment that happened in 2019. Rapper Da Baby and pop superstar Lizzo made waves and headlines after their twerk-tastic moment when they were performing the remix to “Truth Hurts” and it turned into a Juvie-inspired “Back That Thang Up” moment the duo appeared to thoroughly enjoy—as did we all.
4. Rihanna on top of the world.
Pop icon Rihanna took things to new heights both figuratively and literally in 2016 when she performed cuts from her new album at the time Anti (the festival was a stop on her Anti world tour) and, for part of the set, she towered over the crowd of tens of thousands on a stage that floated over the audience.
3. Meek Mills returns home to “Millidelphia”
No countdown of MIA’s best moments can be complete without the inclusion of one of Philadelphia’s own sons, Meek Mill. In 2018, the “1942 Flows” rapper graced the MIA stage in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art after having spent five months in state prison for parole violations.
“This looks like my coming home party,” he said as he peered over a crowd of thousands, and that’s just what that show was—his homecoming.
2. Beyoncé…just Beyoncé.
Honestly, it was hard to narrow down which MIA performance from Queen Bey would make this list. But when all the dust settled, it was her 2015 performance that stood out the most. Maybe it was the flawless choreography or the roaring crowd that never seemed to lose energy throughout her hour-plus-long performance. Maybe it was the stage she performed on, which proved to be as transformative as her catalog is it would fade to Black between songs before lighting up with a fresh setting. Or maybe…maybe it was just Beyoncé.
1. Jay-Z headlines with a star-studded cast
Bringing things full circle back to MIA’s inaugural event which featured its creator as a headliner, Jay-Z didn’t just bring the proverbial house down on his own, he invited a guest list of ROC Nation alumni like Memphis Bleek, Young Gunz, Pusha T, Big Sean and, of course, Kanye West.
So, now that we’ve counted down some of our favorite moments in MIA history, it’s time to get ready for the 2021 edition. One can only wonder what new classic moments await.