The annual Made In America festival has thrived as one of the summer’s highest-anticipated for six years now.
Created by hip-hop’s VIP rap and business mogul Jay-Z, the two-day celebration masters the art of meshing a plethora of music artists, vibes, sounds and fan bases from every corner of the nation. Made In America has lived up to its justified proliferation since 2012, employing every genre imaginable, from EDM to R&B and hip-hop to pop and rock sounds.
But how do organizers manage to embrace so much talent in one music festival, you ask? Easy: the original Rocky, Liberty and Freedom stages, all three fittingly named after some of the United States’s most notable terminology. That is, up until the TIDAL Rising Stage made its third arrival for the festival’s seventh go-round this year.
With the rapid emergence of millennial artists evading any and all genre boundaries, organizers of Made In America knew it had to clear a new space for music’s freshest fan-heavy talents. And they weren’t going to merely toss some SoundCloud artists with a few celebrity co-signs and 1,000 views on stage for a brownie point with the younger generation. TIDAL carefully handpicked the most influential, sound-explosive, crowd-inducing acts to grace the stage this year. From Dreamville’s leading lady Ari Lennox to British singer-songwriter Jorja Smith all the way to St. Louis’s R&B and soul flagbearer Smino, the TIDAL Rising Stage brimmed with the industry’s most sought-after talent.
BET.com couldn't resist trekking to Philly to witness it for ourselves.
And after catching up with Ari, Jorja and Smino on their TIDAL Rising Stage debuts and the forecast of their own respective rises in the industry, we’re glad we did.
On TIDAL Rising Stage’s fans and crowdgoers:
“Outside of my show in D.C., this has been the most lit crowd that I’ve ever experienced — all year. People knew the words, people were supportive and happy. I caught myself almost stumbling on some words and when I looked out into the crowd, I caught it right back because somebody knew it. So, I’m like, ‘Yo, this is what I’m talking about!’ It’s like a family. I really felt like [fans] had my back.” – Ari Lennox
“I had a lot more fans in the crowd than I thought I would. I played in Philly before — and I actually sold Philly out during my first time here on tour. I didn’t think MIA would have fans of my music here. Motherf**kers was in the rain and just jammin’ with me, so it was cool.” – Smino
“A lot of fun. There were so many people in the crowd — I didn’t expect that. They were listening. The sound wasn’t right at the beginning. Whenever something like that happens, I’m just like, ‘Oh my God, this is going to be crap.’ But I think everyone enjoyed it and they said it was good. I was also at AfroPunk, and it was similar. Everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves and having a good time.” – Jorja Smith
On other festivals that are made in America:
"Coachella — hell yeah. And I want to play Camp Flog Gnaw with Tyler the Creator. I hella wanna play that s**t.” – Smino
“Made in America and Coachella have always been dream festivals of mine. This feels good on a whole other level because I know how much Made In America has supported Dreamville throughout the years, so this feels way better than any other festival I’ve ever done. The love here is crazy.”— Ari Lennox
On other artists performing at Made In America:
"I’m actually not too familiar with most of the artists playing [on the TIDAL Rising Stage]. I do want to see Jay-Z. I’m on tour, so I’ll have to hit my next stop after this and won’t be able to catch it. I low-key do want to see Cardi B, too, though. I love Cardi B. Everybody loves Cardi B.” – Smino
“Stormzy’s here, too! He’s sick! He’s like a big brother — he’s sick. I was sad I missed J. Cole. I love him. I was in my hotel room and I thought I could hear his voice. But I definitely wish I could have made his performance.” – Jorja Smith
“J.I.D. for sure. He kills the stage every time for me. His energy is inspiring to me. Lyrically, as a rapper, he is phenomenal and on point. He inspires — writing-wise, hustle-wise, stage performance-wise. I’m excited to see him. Him and Earthgang are basically the same thing, and they’re next up out of Atlanta. They’re incredible. And, of course, Cole.” – Ari Lennox
On where they will rise to in the next few years after performing on the TIDAL Rising Stage:
“By 25, hopefully, I’ll be smarter. I want to have touched more people with music. I want my fan base to be larger and five years older. Hopefully, some bigger stages as well.” – Jorja Smith
“Cole is my biggest inspiration right now. He will never do anything against his beliefs and he stays true to himself and fan base. They are filled with beautiful, genuine-ass people. That’s what I want. A fan-base as amazing as his? I’d love that. I also want to talk about different things in my music — who I am and my childhood. I hope I can attract more genuine people who have also been through my experiences and relate. And I can help them get through it, too. I want to be as successful and life-changing as Cole.” – Ari Lennox
“I want a nice amount of Grammys. A couple of BET Awards. I’m going to have went sky-diving. I’m scared as f**k of heights, which is why I’m going. I’m like damn near petrified. I hate being on ledges. I always think about falling when I’m hella high in the air, that’s why I’m like, “F**k it. I’ma just go jump out of a plane. I also want to go platinum a few times. I still think that’s important. And I want to f**k up the radio —I ain’t never did that. And I want my own strain of weed.
I want to work with Andre 3000. And I want to work with Beyoncé hella bad. I don’t know if she’s still into working with young n****s. And I want to work with Frank Ocean. Daniel Caesar is someone I’m really looking into working with. I got a nice list of people though. I love Solange, by the way.” – Smino