Born out of the Bronx in New York during the 1970s, Hip-Hop has now become a musical genre that is known all over the world. One might say that Hip-Hop is one of the greatest things to come out of America. Reason stands that this amazing movement and its music will be celebrated throughout the country, even half a century later.
Here is the list of the ten best Hip-Hop festivals across the country where attendees can enjoy the newest and hottest music and artists in the scene.
SXSW: South By Southwest in Austin, Texas
The largest music festival of its kind worldwide, and a well-known institution for over 30 years, SXSW is much more than just a place to hear your favorite music. At this massive Texas convention, guests are able to enjoy everything from film, interactive media, individual music festivals, and conferences. SXSW is one of the world’s premier creative hubs and takes every effort to introduce up and coming artists and creators to the event’s attendees. This festival which splits its runtime over the course of two weeks, has as many as 2,000 musical acts, hundreds of guest speakers at the panels, and a large selection of films and shorts they put on for the enjoyment of guests. At SXSW you’re not likely to get through a large number of the artists and view their performances, but the ones that you are fortunate enough to witness over the 8 days it runs will probably leave you amazed. SXSW is a festival that the most ardent of festivals goers should attend at least once. You’ll be sure to be amazed by everything they put on if they do. Start preparing for the 2021 SXSW (planned for March) now.
Rolling Loud Festival in Miami, Florida
Much newer than SXSW, Rolling Loud has been in the festival industry since 2015. However, this relatively new festival quickly staked its position as the biggest Hip-Hop festival in the world while also cementing its crown as the Rap mecca. If you’re worried about traveling far for festivals, it likely will not be the case for Rolling Loud. This event is an annually held traveling festival with stops in Miami, New York City, Los Angeles, and San Francisco which run over Friday into Sunday at each place. Rolling Loud always features a stacked roster of Hip-Hop acts which in the past included J. Cole, Future, Lil Wayne, Migos, Wiz Khalifa, and Cardi B. The 2021 lineup has already been announced and is the same as the cancelled 2020 one with Post Malone, A$AP Rocky, Travis Scott, Roddy Ricch, Young Thug, Megan Thee Stallion, DaBaby, and Doja Cat. It is meant to take place over February 12-14. With half a year to get ready, start planning your trip to attend Rolling Loud now!
JMBLYA in Texas
Another touring festival with locations in Houston, Dallas, and Austin in Texas as well as Rogers in Arkansas, JMBLYA has been building a loyal following in its home state of Texas since it began in 2013. This high energy show of JMBLYA brings a top-notch lineup of hip-hop across the central states of the US every May in the most pumped up and intense music festival that only runs the course of one day. The JMBLYA experience is witnessing the hottest young acts from hip hop’s new golden age and a curated selection of some of the biggest names in the game, that are comparable to alumni like Chance the Rapper, Cashmere Cat, Denzel Curry, Travis Scott, Vic Mensa, Kaytranada and A$AP Ferg, with a crowd full of hardcore fans ready to let loose. Next year’s JMBLYA is one music festival that you can’t skip.
The Roots Picnic in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
The Roots Picnic is an annual music festival created and hosted by Hip-Hop group, The Roots. The manager of The Roots, Shawn Gee is a co-founder as well as the executive producer of the festival. This festival has run since 2008 and is probably your favorite rapper’s most liked festival. With a gleefully celebratory air, the hometown heroes The Roots get to play music with their famously talented friends, who just happen to be some of the biggest artists in the Hip-Hop scene. With The Roots as headliners, and the backing band every year for artists like Future, Migos, Usher, Janelle Monae, and Snoop Dogg for example, attendees of the festival are able to enjoy some of the most unique and creative collaborations in Hip-Hop with some of the biggest names in the industry. The 2021 festival is set to premiere on June 5, so don’t miss your chance to see this legendary band perform the entire evening and well into the night.
Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival in Brooklyn, New York
Brooklyn and Hip-Hop have been intertwined since the beginning of the genre’s movement and the New York borough is inextricably linked with Hip-Hop culture. As such, New York often finds itself as the location for the genre’s biggest and baddest festivals that explore not only the music but the history and culture of Hip-Hop as well. BHF brings more to the table than just music—past installments of the weeklong series included conversations with prominent hip-hop personalities like Rakim, a film festival and a “Juice Hip-Hop” exhibition. It has also brought headliners DMX and The Lox, along with performances from DJ Rob Swift, EarthGang, Mister Cee and Oshun. The event has always strived to celebrate the culture’s artistic influence and ability to be a vehicle for social change since it began in 2005. It had been on hiatus for 2019, and then unable to go through in 2020 due to covid, but we’re sure that they’ll be back in 2021 with a killer roster of Hip-Hop artists and personalities, so be on the lookout.
FYF Fest in Los Angeles, California
With a name that is redundant unless you call it by its shortened form FYF Fest, F*ck Yeah Fest Fest in Los Angeles has showcased some of the most progressive acts and talents across a variety of genres, the festival is a haven for artistry from 2004-2017. FYF Fest’s lineup is uncompromising and more focused on the music, delving deep into Hip-Hop and featuring amazing artists that you might not find at other multi-genre affairs over the course of its 3-day long festival. Though this festival is not as famous or big as Coachella or EDC, it is not less impressive and has had performances from stars like Kanye West, Kendrick Lamar, Frank Ocean, and Janet Jackson in the past. It’s unclear if FYF Fest is gone forever as there haven’t been events for 2018 and 2019 but we are eagerly hoping for its return and for it to once again assert its position as one of the best west coast Hip-Hop festivals.
Made in America in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Founded by Jay-Z, and produced by Live Nation, Made in America Festival is an annual music festival featuring several stages that continuously host live music from a wide range of genres including Hip-Hop, rock, Pop, R&B, and EDM. The event used to be held simultaneously in Los Angeles and Philadelphia, but now just takes place in the latter. This event could be considered to be a more upscale and professional version of The Roots Picnic which also takes place in the same city. Celebrating music and culture that is fundamentally American in its roots, Made in America is meant to bring people together who can find joy in like-mindedness and the emotions that music creates. The festival has gotten more and more impressive each year and often has themed sections of entertainment like Rocky Stage, Liberty Stage, and Freedom Tent (which features primarily EDM) for live music. It also has become known for showcasing artists who end up blowing up in popularity quite soon afterwards. If you’re the type of person who always wants to be ahead of the curve and discover new artists and music before they become too mainstream this is the festival for you. Of course, Jay-Z’s festival also features big artists like himself and his wife Beyonce on occasion as well as famous colleagues like Nicki Minaj, Kendrick Lamar, the Weeknd, etc. Get ahead of 2021, by preparing for Made in America today!
Day N Vegas in Las Vegas, Nevada
Born out of the short-lived Day N Night Festival in California, Day N Vegas burst onto the scene in 2019 with perhaps the strongest Hip-Hop lineup anywhere on the planet, with over 100 artists that included the likes of J. Cole, Future, Migos, 21 Savage, 6LACK, Kendrick Lamar, Tyler, The Creator, Brockhampton and others. It seemed pretty much every hip hop artist making waves was passing through for three days in November. Pairing that with the fact that this festival was in “The Party Never Stops” Las Vegas, it quickly found fame as one of the world’s best music festivals of 2019. There are tentative plans to still hold Day N Vegas over November 2020, but it looks like it might get cancelled. One thing is for sure, when Day N Vegas is finally able to come to life again, it will be out of this world in terms of music and entertainment.
The Meadows Music & Arts Festival in Queens, New York
The Meadows Music & Arts Festival, in Queens, made its debut in 2016 with Kanye West, J.Cole, Kygo, and Chance the Rapper headlining and will always be remembered as the event where Kanye stopped his set early after finding out his wife Kim Kardashian had been robbed in Paris and left. Outside of that misfortune, The Meadows Music & Arts Festival did relatively well its first year with such impressive headliners as well as 42 other artists and four stages in total (Linden Blvd., Queens Blvd., Shea, and The Meadows). The following year, Jay-Z, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Gorillaz headlined the event. The event seems to be on a hiatus for now, but their company Founders Entertainment, which also produces the Governors Ball Music Festival, most likely has future plans to have other fun and energetic music festivals for the festival-going crowd in New York.
Camp Flog Gnaw Carnival in Los Angeles, California
Camp Flog Gnaw Carnival, formerly known as OFWGKTA Carnival or Odd Future carnival, is a music festival and carnival curated by Tyler, The Creator which has been held annually since its creation in 2012. The carnival’s name is an anagram of “Wolf Gang” and it features a variety of carnival games, rides, food vendors, and combines it with the hype and artistry of a music festival, hosting a myriad of notable artists. Prior to 2016, the festival had only been held for one day. It is always held on a weekend. Growing bigger and bigger each year, the festival has moved from a quirky boutique to a full on, heavy hitting extravaganza. Whatever Tyler, The Creator, produces is always a spectacle and this extraordinary music festival is no different. It is unclear yet whether or not the next Camp Flog Gnaw Carnival will be in 2020 or 2021, but it is not going to disappear from the music scene anytime soon.