20 artists you didn’t realize are playing Made In America this weekend

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Saba | photo by Tom Vin | via NPR Music

It’s less than 24 hours till the official kickoff of the seventh annual Made In America festival, and while we’re extremely excited to see headliners Janelle Monae, Kendrick Lamar, Nicki Minaj and Meek Mill over the next couple days, we’re equally excited for the reliably vibrant festival undercard. We dug into the lineup to see what surprises it contained; many of the artists in this list were new to us, many we know and love and had no idea they were in the mix. Read on, and see you on the Parkway this weekend! 

Armani White (Saturday, 1:15 p.m., Skate Stage)

A few years back, Armani White went from being a bedroom producer and MC to being an in-demand talent, thanks to the Soundcloud success of his single “Young Adults.” He’s spent the time since bouncing between coats, shooting videos and recording in L.A. while still returning home to the city that got him his start. He’s doing that this weekend at Made in America, opening the festival with a 1:15 Saturday set on the Skate Stage, which is sure to showcase hot new singles like the playful “Public School” and the vibrant freestyle “Casablanco.” – John Vettese

Odie (Saturday, 1:45 p.m., TIDAL Stage)

From Toronto to the Bay area, Odie’s musical style can be described as a fusion of traditional hip-hop with accents of his Nigerian sonic lineage. In his debut project Analogue, he stirs up a variety of genres such as Afrobeat, R’n’B, pop and hip-hop into a perfect harmony. Odie’s voice is similar to Kid Cudi’s calm, lowered quality rapping and Frank Ocean’s soulful vocals, which you can hear in his song “Story.” The diversity of sounds flourish alongside his unique vocals and just makes you want to groove. – Shannon Vo

Orion Sun (Saturday, 2 p.m., Skate Stage)

If you caught her Key Studio Session yesterday, you know that we’re particularly hype on Orion Sun at the moment. The bedroom producer turned band leader creates beats, grooves, melodies, and atmospheres that are at once comfortably familiar and yet unlike anything we’ve heard out of the scene in forever. Her lyrics are vulnerable and relatable, but they’re also clever and quoteable, and her joy at doing what she loves is contagious and pure. In short, do not miss this rising star when she and her incredible band hit the Skate Stage on Saturday, or you’ll be kicking yourself later. – J.V>

Louis Futon (Saturday, 2:15 p.m., Freedom Stage)

Producer Tyler Minford, aka Louis Futon, has created a strong foundation within the electronic music scene in the past two years. His tracks have earned over six million streams online, including his well-known single, “Wasted On You.” Not only did Louis Futon make a name for himself in the electronic community, he has also made his way into the hip-hop and R&B scene, remixing songs by Goldlink, G-Eazy, Gallant, and more. Louis Futon’s work is diverse and draws the attention of crowds from all different corners of the musical spectrum. – S.V.

Jessie Reyez (Saturday, 3 p.m., Rocky Stage)

Colombian-Canadian Jessie Reyez broke our hearts in 2017 with her aggressively emotional tear-jerking single “Figures.” Her music is more than just a catchy tune. It means something. The 26-year-old incorporates elements of diverse genres from hip-hop to reggae to Latin music. She has been featured on multiple tracks like Calvin Harris’ “Hard to Love” and A Boogie Wit da Hoodie’s “Pretending.” Her soulful, raspy voice is so distinctive and can not be mistaken for anyone else. Trust me. – S.V.

Elohim (Saturday, 4:15 p.m., Freedom Stage)

L.A electric-pop artist Elohim is a mystery to the world, and that’s how she wants it. She takes anonymity to a new level with most of her information kept on the down low. The rising synth-pop artist’s name translates to “God” in Hebrew and that’s pretty awesome. Over the years, she has been all over the place, performing at multiple festivals including Cali’s Coachella, and she just released her self-titled debut album Elohim this year. Her music is an experience when listening to it. Her lyrical work opens up about some tough topics like anxiety and depression, while dreamy synths, electronic beats, and stray away from the traditional sounds of pop music. – S.V.

Saba (Saturday, 4:15 p.m., Skate Stage)

De facto leader of Chicago’s Pivot Gang crew of MCs, Saba went from a well-recieved debut mixtape, to a high-profile feature on Chance The Rapper’s “Angels,” to releasing two incredibly profound records back to back. 2016’s Bucket List Project was a meditative album based around a simple question: what do you want to do with your life? But while he was touring that project, his cousin John Walt was killed in a stabbing in Chicago’s River West neighborhood in February of last year. Devastated, Saba poured all of his emotions surrounding the loss into this year’s Care For Me, a ten-track project that’s a raw and honest look at the grieving process through immersive beats and rhythms. Sounds heavy, but as we saw at a Philly appearance not long after Walt’s death, Saba has the rare ability to turn the lowest lows into something uplifting once he hits the stage. – J.V

TOKiMONSTA (Saturday, 5:15 p.m., Freedom Stage)

L.A. producer Jennifer Lee, known as TOKiMONSTA, is back and doing so much better. In 2015, she was diagnosed with an extremely rare cancer called Moyamoya, which resulted in two brain surgeries and several complications. Lee produces kinetic, psychedelic hip-hop beats that tell sonic tales. Her beats are molded from delicate drums, light piano, and a lot synth. TOKiMONSTA has created a handful of bold and bright collaborations with many people including Anderson .Paak and Missy Elliot. Her music has depth and uses different aspects of hip-hop, R&B, experimental electronic, classical, K-pop. – S.V.

Davido (Saturday, 5:30 p.m., TIDAL Stage)

Nigerian singer, songwriter and record producer David Adedeji Adeleke, better known by his stage name Davido, brings a different flair to the stage than many popular artists in the music industry. His music is a fusion of tropical R&B, Afrobeat, and Hip Hop. DaVido has worked with many artists including the North Philly King, Meek Mill in his 2015 track “Fans Mi.” DaVido is bringing Nigerian music to the states and showing Americans how to shake their hips and get saucy. – S.V.

White Reaper (Saturday, 6 p.m., Skate Stage)

Louisville’s White Reaper is your perfect example of your classic garage rock band. Listening to the foursome takes you back to the glory days of Aerosmith, Steely Dan, and The Allman Brothers Band. From their crunch guitar riffs, hard-hitting drums, and frontman Tony Espositos’s rugged voice, these guys bring back that rocker spirit and prove to the world that rock n’ roll is not dead. – S.V.

Buzzy Lee (Sunday, 1 p.m., Tidal Stage)

Former member of indie-folk act Wardell, Sasha Spielberg has been thriving in her solo career, going by the alias Buzzy Lee. The project came to existence as a way for Sasha to explore her inner self and express her vulnerabilities. Her lyrics have meaning behind them. In her single “Coolhand”, she talks about the topic of self-worth and how it is affected due to social media. Not to mention, her simplistic vocals are dreamy and mesmerizing. – S.V.

Mir Fontaine (Sunday, 1:15 p.m., Skate Stage)

This Camden MC caught our attention a year ago with the single “Frank Ocean” where he ruminates on chasing success over an eerie yet energetic backing. That track came from a project that shares its name with his hometown, Camden, and he’s come out with a bunch of loosies in the time since, including the Kodie Shane-featuring “New Friends.” In it, Mir reference’s Lil Uzi Vert’s “XO Tour Life,” but in a self-reflective way that wonders what happens when your friends really are dead. – J.V

Saweetie (Sunday, 1:45 p.m., TIDAL Stage)

Born Diamonte Harper, Bay Area rapper Saweetie started stirring up some trouble after the music video release of her breakout song “ICY GIRL.” The song exploded, turning into everyone’s to-go pick-me-up or just a reminder that you are in fact a “bad bitch.” Similar to Cardi B’s rise to fame, Saweetie started off her days posting freestyling videos online. Fast forward to present day, and now she is bringing her music to the TIDAL stage. – S.V.

Zahsossa (Sunday, 2 p.m., Skate Stage)

Zahsosaa is part of the new class of Philly spitters. The young rapper’s music draws inspiration from Lil Uzi Vert’s style of twisted yet catchy melodies. Straight out of Soundcloud, the 16-year-old artist has been releasing a handful of singles in recent years, including “Envy” and “On My Own,” as well as a music video for his top track “Humble,” which received a hefty amount of views. Not to mention, he just dropped his highly anticipated mixtape Already Paid in July. With no signs of slowing down, you should expect to see more of Zahsosaa in the future. – S.V.

Wicca Phase Springs Eternal (Sunday, 2:45 p.m., Skate Stage)

In one of the most unexpected musical transformations since…well, ever…Scranton’s Adam Mcllwee, who was part of the original lineup of beloved pop-punk outfit Tigers Jaw, reinvented himself a couple years back as a producer of trap bangers. It landed around the first wave of the whole emo-hip-hop thing, and Wicca Phase Springs Eternal found himself in the center of GothBoyClique, collaborating with folks like the late Lil Peep. He still stays true to his punk roots, though, and featured vocals from Camp Cope’s Georgia Maq on Wicca Phase’s latest single, “Stress.” – J.V.

Clairo (Sunday, 4 p.m., TIDAL Stage)

Massachusetts indie-pop singer-songwriter Clairo, known as Claire Cottrill, started off posting innocent covers on YouTube and snippets of her own written songs to Bandcamp and Soundcloud. From there, her homemade music video “Pretty Girl”, which was shot on a MacBook, blew up. People started to discover the 19-year old’s secret hideaway on YouTube. Her music draws inspiration from multiple artists such as indie songwriter Frankie Cosmos, the smooth vocals of crooner Norah Jones, and the rap collective Brockhampton. Clairo’s music is a mixture of electronic beats, dreamy synths, and her voice. With all this accidental luck, she is proving that “anyone really can do it”. – S.V.

JPEGMafia (Sunday, 4:15 p.m., Skate Stage)

Rapper/producer JPEGMafia built a strong foundation in the underground Baltimore rap community. He then took his skills to LA, where he flourished. JPEGMafia draws influences from his experiences in the underground life while he challenges the rigidity of American military ideals. His political views are expressed through his lyrics and music. Utilizing multiple elements of sound, he has been able to create unfamiliar beats by taking snippets of voices and morphing it until it is unrecognizable from its original form. JPEGMafia is something the music industry hasn’t seen before. – S.V.

Anna Lunoe (Sunday, 4:15 p.m., Freedom Stage)

Aussie DJ, vocalist, songwriter and producer Anna Lunoe rules the underground club life and slays on festival stages, especially at Coachella, Lollapalooza, and Ultra. She has collaborated with big names in the EDM community such as fellow Australian DJ Flume, English house music producer Chris Lakes, and L.A. based DJ Valentino Khan. With her heavy techno / electronic sound waves pulsing through the air, you can’t help but fall into a complete trance when in her musical presences. – S.V.

Jay Park (Sunday, 4:45 p.m., TIDAL Stage)

Roc Nation’s first Asian artist, Park Jaebeom, known as Jay Park, brings his rapping skills to the states at Made In America this Sunday. Park has built a strong foundation for himself being on different media platforms such as Sway Calloway’s radio show Sway in the Mornin showcasing his freestyling skills. The hip-hop star is armed with nothing but a charming smile and magnetic energy. – S.V.

Hobo Johnson & The LoveMakers (Sunday, 7:05 p.m., Skate Stage)

Hobo Johnson & The LoveMakers are the masters of manic poetry. Their submission to NPR’s Tiny Desk Contest was interesting, in a good way. The rendition of “Peach Scones” went viral, showcasing Johnson’s talents in spoken word and erratic movements, which falls between hip-hop and screamo in the La Dispute / mewithoutYou vein. Performative poetry can sometime get twisted, but the Sacramento artist uses his unorthodox methods of expression to create something funny, vulnerable, and captivating. – S.V.

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