On a beautiful weekend in May, at the University of Memphis Grounds, another installment of the Beale Street Music Festival is happening. BSMF kicks off the Memphis in May celebration every year and the lineup is worth seeing. The location seemed spacious, and the stages were easy to navigate. Entering the new location wasn’t bad. The line to get in was long but it was moving at a steady pace. Plenty of space for everyone to enjoy the festival in the right fashion.
Next up was Waka Flocka Flame. Coming from Atlanta, his catalog has older songs with very up-tempo beats that go along with high-energy lyrics. If you haven’t seen him perform live, then you’ll be in for a good sweat during his set. The majority of the crowd knew his old songs word for word and the energy was high throughout his set and it look like the set didn’t want to end. He’s known for shaking his dreadlocks to the heavy beats and of course, he had to do that.
Da Baby was scheduled to perform and this being his first time performing in Memphis, he made sure the crowd got the money’s worth and they did. He’s been in the media a lot for comments he made about the LGBTQ community and has gotten to fight other times with other artists. This time around he looked to perform with no mishaps and that’s what happened. He started with one his hits called “Suge” and when that song dropped, it wasn’t instant madness when it came on and the whole crowd was repeating the chorus. He also got up close to the crowd and got on top of the barricade and started to perform more songs of his set also. Overall it was pretty good to see him perform with nothing bad to say.
Closing out the Zyn stage was the very talented Sarah McLachlan. Selling over 40 million she’s no stranger to the stage and her fans did miss her performing. People waited to see her perform all day and it was a warm welcome. The set was very laid back and when she came on the stage it was a very good response from the crowd she asked “Are you ready for some live music?” The crowd responded yes we are. She went into her set and took the energy in was glued to her the entire set.
One of the legendary artists from the hometown was Three 6 Mafia. DJ Paul and Juicy J are known for their dark and grimy beats that go with those lyrics and have had a lot of commercial success. The group was the main act that everyone was waiting for to come out and perform. From their hits to Tear The Club up to Stay Fly and countless other songs, those songs stick with you and the hook is something that lures you in and you won’t forget how the songs go. Naming themselves the Kings Of Memphis, they live up to that name and still been relevant for over 20 years while still making is huge while going with new music as well.
Starting the 2nd day of the festival wasn’t bad, the weather was mainly cloudy and had a light sprinkle of rain but that didn’t stop people from making their way to the fairgrounds. Tonight has plenty of acts as well including Rival Sons, Megan Thee Stallion, Memphis’s own Project Pat, NLE Choppa, and Duke Deuce. Gates opened earlier this time today and I’m sure everyone wants to see the main act is Megan Thee Stallion perform on the Zyn stage. The first act I came across was recently signed by artist Duke Deuce who is from Memphis. Off the bat it was a lot of energy in his set and even in the rain, the fans were still feeding off his energy. Before he came out to the stage, he did play a song from Young Dolph (Memphis resident) to still keep his legacy alive after his passing. He ended his set with his known song “Crunk Aint Dead”. The song went viral on social media and a couple of Memphis rappers Juicy J and Project Pat.
Project Pat set was next and most of the crowd was a younger demographic, he was one of the rappers that help put Memphis on the map. Known for mainly his older songs that came out in the late 1990s and the early 2000s his music lives on through Memphis and in hip hop. Known for his grimy style of rap that has violence and horror, he never switched up his style and always stayed the same. The opening song was Cheese and Dope was one of those songs that has a catchy hook and keeps your head nodding constantly.
Another artist from Memphis who performed was NLE Choppa. His music resonates with the younger audience, and he still hasn’t hit his peak as an artist yet. He had the crowd engaged for the most part of his set. He didn’t perform his songs from top to bottom and sometimes he does that. Most of the songs he performed were off his new album called Me vs. Me which is out right now on all stream platforms. Most of the songs off his album are repetitive and still need to find his sound while he’s young. The performance side of this still has some show and prove and it’ll improve over time.
During the festival, it was a long delay due to the thunderstorm. Everyone had to evacuate the fairgrounds and seek shelter. The thunderstorms lasted for about an hour, and they got heavy throughout the night. Once the rain went away, fans were allowed to enter the fairgrounds. The only acts were left were The Smashing Pumpkins and Megan Thee Stallion to perform. The Smashing Pumpkins started on time and their set was amazing from the beginning to the end. Megan Thee Stallion fans had to wait for a while before she came out. It was a miscommunication between the staff and the guards that were at the event. Some of the guards were told that the people need to leave the festival grounds since she wasn’t performing. That changed at the last minute and some fans stayed and some left. When she came out to perform she was shocked at how many of her fans stayed around and she went straight into her set. She set off full of energy even though it was late when she came out. It was worth the wait.
A beautiful day in Memphis is set for the last day of the Beale Street Music Festival. With clear skies in the forecast, it’s set to close out with a bang. A theme that Memphis in May does every year is to focus on a country and have different events. This year’s focus was Ghana and for the music festival, a couple of artists from Ghana performed. One of the was Stonebwoy and his set with his live band was really good. The crowd was somewhat engaged in his set but some got into his music.
Next up was Shaggy. One of the most famous artists from Jamaica, he brought those Caribbean roots to BSMF. The crowd went crazy when he came onto the stage and the first song that performed was Mr. Boombastic. That song was one of his biggest hits when it came out in 1995. He had to stop the song and acknowledged the fantastic energy from the crowd. He took it in and thanked the crowd before he went back into his song. Everyone was dancing to his song and his performance was well put. The live-in background sounds great and his hype man also got involved with a few songs also. The crowd interaction was something I haven’t seen all weekend until he performed.
Moneybagg Yo was one of those artists that had huge success in Memphis and never forgot his roots. Even though a lot of the people in the crowd were waiting for Lil Wayne (who didn’t make it), Moneybagg Yo was worth the wait since he’s another artist from Memphis, and he had songs that a lot of the crowd knew. For most of his set, he performed songs off his new album named ‘ A Gangsta’s Pain’ which was great and the crowd knew. He went to perform his older songs and singles, typically some don’t know the lyrics or vibe of the song. This was not the case and the crowd knew it which made the festival even better. He also brought another known rapper from Memphis named Yo Gotti. Yo Gotti is deemed the new King of Memphis from his street rhymes to his flashy persona, he came out to perform some of his hits. They always show their love and appreciation when they come back to Memphis.