Jay-Z’s lineup for his first annual Made in America Festival included a performance from the remaining two members of Run DMC, who haven’t taken the stage together for over a decade.
When he set out to curate a lineup for the festival, which ran from September 1-2 in Philadelphia, Jay-Z was aiming to “bring together people from all walks of life,” and from the crowd it was clear he’d accomplished that goal. He headlined the festival along with Pearl Jam and booked a set of acts that included current stars like Drake and legends like Run-DMC, who gave their first performance in 13 years.
It wasn’t easy getting Joseph Simmons (or Reverend Run) and Darryl McDaniels back onstage after the murder of DJ Jam Master Jay in 2002, and they made that clear when they rocked the main stage at Made in America before Drake and Pearl Jam followed suit. Both seemed to enjoy being back onstage together, as Rev Run let loose with language we thought he’d left to the younger rappers like his son Diggy Simmons. They performed hits like their Aerosmith collaboration “Walk This Way,” “It’s Tricky” and the classic “My Adidas” while the crowd soaked up the nostalgia, and made sure Jay was a part of it, with “Jam Master Jay” illuminated on the screens above the stage.
The most touching tribute to the late legend was the presence of his two sons, Jason “Jam Master J’Son” Mizell Jr. and TJ “Dasmatic” Mizell, who are both talented DJs. Each of Jay’s sons was given a solo shot on the turntable to show off their skills, in a moment that would’ve surely made their father proud.
Run DMC’s set was flanked by Philly natives Santigold and Jill Scott earlier in the day, (along with a cameo from Eve on “Let Me Blow Your Mind” and “Shame”) while Odd Future took up the reins later in the night. Tyler The Creator, Earl Sweatshirt, Hodgy Beats and the rest of the crew made their way through a set that included “Rella,” “Yonkers,” and “Elimination Chamber” without getting into any of their usual over-the-top antics.
In addition to giving fans some of the new and some of the classic, Jay also showed love to his Roc Nation signees, inviting New Orleans rapper Jay Electronica to perform on Saturday, while Rita Ora made a trip from the UK specifically to hit the stage. She told MTV News that when her boss asked if she’d be interested in dropping in over the weekend it was a no brainer. And although it was one of many festivals that she’s performed at already, Ora was excited to share that this was her first set at a festival Stateside. Guess that means she’s officially been “Made in America.”