By Shaheem Reid
Coldplay encouraged love and unity, while Tory Lanez wanted to distance himself from the pack —especially and specifically from his fellow Canadian competition. Travis Scott literally went out on a limb to prove he belongs with the Big Dawgs, RZA introduced a new partner, Chance The Rapper prophesied blessings and miracles and serenaded his famous auntie! DJ Khaled continued his successful anti "They" campaign, Jay Z was actually proudly wearing a throwback jersey (reference "What More Can I Say") and this was all on the unofficial world holiday of Beyonce's birthday. What an eventful finale of the Made In America festival at Philadelphia's Benjamin Franklin Parkway.
The action kicked off early around 2:30 p.m. at the Liberty stage, one of five stages that housed talent over the weekend and the second biggest stage of the festival overall. 24-year-old Tory Lanez got his Jay Electronica on, performing mostly in the crowd, being held up by the people and body surfing, as he delved into his catalog including his mega hit "Say It." At the very end of his set, a shirtless Lanez got on the stage and professed, "Ain't nobody in Canada better than me. Ain't nobody in Canada never gonna be better than me n-gga. F-ck out of here." Lanez of course has been involved in a feud with Drake.
About three hours later on that same stage, Travis Scott had a statement to make as well, "I ain't no opener." The acclaimed artist seemed a bit perturbed he was relegated to the smaller stage instead of the Rocky stage where the headliners were. Scott definitely didn't dial it in, as he gave one of the best performances of the entire weekend. He certainly had some of the most consistent high energy of any performer.
"I came to this muthaf-cka to rage and mosh only," he declared. "If you ain't come to mosh, you just came to stand around and see if this muthaf-cka was gonna be lit, get the f-ck out."
At one point, towards the end of his packed-out set, he scaled up a tree (a few fans had been watching his set from that pitch as well) and began rapping "Only the Trill" while standing on a branch. He then went into "Antidote."
On the Rocky stage, RZA unveiled his new project, a new supergroup with Paul Banks, the lead of the group Interpol. "Banks and Steelz, y'all are witnessing the beginning of some ill shit," RZA told the crowd. The duo played instruments and performed selections from their new LP Anything But Words.
As the festival continued, DJ Khaled took to the stage, combining being his own hype man, DJing, and curating talent to perform. After playing some of his own hits, mixed in with classics by DMX, Tupac, Notorious B.I.G., and Jay Z, the lovable mogul brought out Freeway for "Rock the Mic" and "What We Do," then Free's State Property brethren the Young Gunz for "Can't Stop, Won't Stop."
Speaking of unstoppable, Chance The Rapper certainly has that indestructible Bruce Leroy glow around him right him. He's selling out shows, making high-profile, lauded television performances, curating his own festivals, and is one of the most acclaimed MCs right now by fans and peers. Hell, he's so beloved Beyoncé stopped on the red carpet at the VMAs to interrupt one of his interviews and show him love.
On Sunday night, not only were Jay Z and Beyoncé standing in the crowd being delighted by Chance, but so was a smiling former President Bill Clinton.
"Hi, my name is Chance The Rapper," he said on the Rocky stage. "I'm from Chicago, Illinois. I'm here to play some songs off my mixtape Acid Rap."
And while records like "Pusha Man" and "Sunday Candy," had the crowd singing, a simple ditty he made up for Beyoncé was a definite showstopper. He told the crowd that him and birthday girl Bey were so close he calls her his "auntie" or his "TT," and he wanted to do something special for her day. He sang.
"Happy birthday auntie, auntie it's your birthday," he crooned. "...God made you this way. He gave me the gift of an amazing auntie... Happy Birthday Yonce, Yonce it's your birthday."
Around an hour later, MIA Festival closers Coldplay came on. The mega stars started their set with Charlie Chaplin's iconic "The Great Dictator" speech, then came out to their optimistic "Head Full of Dreams." The flurry of smashes continued with Yellow" and "Nobody Said It Was Easy."
During "Everglow," the spectators, as they would several times throughout the night, held up their glow-in-the-dark watch-like bracelets that were given to them upon entrance into the park. The song ended with video of Muhammed Ali doing an interview talking about peace, a theme that was conveyed throughout Coldplay's set. "We need someone in the world to celebrate peace. So if I die and there is a heaven, I want to see it," Ali said.
Of course "Viva La Vida" was one of the most roared-for songs of their set with the lead singer once again lying on the floor, this time after the record was over. When Coldplay's stage time was seemingly over, they left, but returned for an encore of "Sky Full of Stars" and "Up and Up." On the latter Martin told everyone, "Let's be one big band," asking for unity in society.
At the real ending of their set, the band stood center stage and bowed. Martin held two flags. One was embroidered with the word "love" in the same font of Philadelphia's City of Brotherly Love logo. The other was the American flag. Martin laid the love flag down on the stage first, then laid the American flag on top of it. He got on his knees and kissed both before exiting.