Written by: Nina Lakhiani
2018 marks the sixth year of the notorious Texas hip-hop music festival JMBLYA. This festival catered right to the hearts of rap, trap and R&B lovers, making stops across all three major cities, which added Houston to the tour.
The Austin edition welcomed a venue upgrade from the Statesman’s parking lot to the spacious Circuit of the Americas lot A, which allowed for a second stage expansion. Nonetheless, it was still an incredibly crowded show considering the sold out festival marked the largest JMBLYA event to-date in terms of attendance across all cities with a whopping 80,000 attendees!
Additionally, in a continued effort to improve the overall experience for all attendees an expansion of water filling stations was well provided and easily accessible with no lines to worry about. Other upgrades included inflatable slides and water activities, which were much-needed in the scorching Texas heat
Main headliner, J. Cole closed out the fest each night, performing tracks from his recent record-breaking album, KOD. JMBLYA marked Cole’s only currently announced performance in Texas for 2018, and offered attendees the very first opportunity to hear songs from the new album performed live.
J. Cole was an absolute vibe. After a long day of hype, this was the perfect close for JMBLYA as he slowed things down for a groovy set. Don’t get me wrong, Cole still hit us with that dope energy and controlled the crowd’s momentum with a stellar stage performance. He opened with “KOD” and played anticipated tracks from his new record like “Kevin’s Heart,” “Motiv8,” “The Cut Off” and others before closing off with “1985”.
Although the last-minute cancellation for a pregnant Cardi B disappointed many fans eager for a first listen at her debut album Invasion of Privacy, Young Thug came in strong as an exciting substitute.
Those speakers hardly did him justice thought, with odd cracks making it nearly inaudible for some time. However, he whipped that crowd into a chaotic pit, challenging the attendees to mosh and rage in every direction.
Kevin Gates’ replacement could hardly compare to the performers set to headline. T.I. seemed almost irrelevant considering the last hit he produced came out around the time half the crowd was in elementary. No one seemed to be going hard to “Whatever You Like,” this was more of an intermission type of performance in preparation for the trap trio Migos. But T.I. still went up there and did his thing by playing all those throwback hits.
The Migos came through iced out per usual and gave a solid Migos performance. They opened up with “Deadz” which really got the crowd hyped up and steady throughout their entire set.
Migos played their top tracks of their Culture II album such as “Stir Fry,” “Walk It Talk It,” and “Narcos.” They also included hits off of Culture like “T-Shirt,” “Slippery,” and the notorious “Bad and Boujee.” Migos even threw out some OG tracks for their day ones like “Hannah Montana” and “Fight Night.”
Additional performances included Playboi Carti, Trippie Redd, Ski Mask The Slump God and Cozz in addition with special “Texas Takeover” Houston legends Bun B, Trae Tha Truth and DJ Mr. Rogers.
Check out the JMBLYA experience slideshow below!