What better way to kick off a long weekend than to host a hip-hop music festival in the heart of Wynwood, the day before people will have a chance to sleep in and stuff themselves with Thanksgiving fixin’s? I can’t think of one. If that was the reasoning behind choosing last Wednesday (November 22nd) as the day for the inaugural Trap Circus music festival, producers of Trap Circus hit the nail on the head. More than 6,000 people came out to the Old RC Cola plant to party “circus style” and see some of their favorite rappers perform live. Upon walking into the outdoor venue, the circus experience immediately began. Right at the entrance there was a ferris wheel and carnival rides, opposite the main stage where all the action would take place. Looking around the venue you could see stilt-walkers and fire-twirlers in full costume, and carnival themed-food and alcohol vendors to complete the experience.
While Cardi B and Kodak Black were the main attractions of the event, the line-up earlier in the day was full of local Dade and Broward county rappers, giving them an opportunity to show the 305 who they are. Being in the media pit for these sets, I learned what a “lil toe nail” was (a rapper literally dressed up as a toenail, clearly the best part of his shtick); and got a chance to see Miami underground artists Splash Zanotti and Yung Simmie perform as the audience started to grow larger. In between sets there was a rotation of Miami DJ’s including Rojas on the Beat and DJ Chief Pound, there to keep the crowd entertained. As any first-time festival can expect, some performers were late and schedules got mixed up, but through all the chaos there was always someone on stage vying for the attention of the crowd, which in Miami, is a tough thing to accomplish.
As the day started to turn into night, Adam 22, the host of the event, came onto the scene with his girlfriend Lena The Plug and they were ready to get the party started. More well known artists started to hit the stage, like Lil Tracy, who was smoking weed and swigging hennessy on throughout his performance. As everyone expected, Tracy briefly addressed the recent passing of his friend and artist he’s been linked to since the beginning of his career, Lil Peep, by saying “rest in peace Lil peep that’s my brother you feel me,” before taking another drink of Hennessy and performing his song named after the cognac. Following Lil Tracy, Ft. Lauderdale rapper Johnny OZ hit the stage, and you could feel the energy shift. Johnny came out ready to turn up and did so with his crew on stage, quickly losing his shirt and singing the hook to his song Shameless at the top of his lungs. OZ definitely had the crowd into his performance with his all-out theatrics, from his dance moves, to his crew throwing water and glow-sticks at the crowd, and even a champagne shower for the audience and himself at the end of his set. Johnny OZ’s energy had been unmatched prior to his performance so he was the perfect segue into the rest of the night where the later it got, the bigger the artist.
Host Adam 22 came out and talked to the crowd between sets while his DJ played several songs by artists we know to be among his favorites, of course Lil Pump’s hit “Gucci Gang” was heavy in rotation from the moment Adam22 came into the Trap Circus mix. Another notable performance that got the crowd going was Hood Celebrityy, who came to us from the Bronx, and is known to be a good friend of Cardi B. She had the crowd whining to her island sound, and performed her female anthem, Walking Trophy, while she showed off her own Caribbean dance moves on stage. Warhol SS also got the crowd jumping, and by then, the sun was all the way down and the night was in full swing.
YFN Lucci and Rich The Kid came out after Warhol SS, and while they were two of the rappers that were heavily promoted by Trap Circus on all the flyers, the artists from Miami, Ice Billion Berg, and Zoey Dollas are the ones who got the most love from the crowd. Ice Billion Berg, who was rocking his University of Miami football jersey, had a whole mob on stage with him, including his son, who was given a mic to participate in his dad’s performance. It’s clear that Miami locals ride for their own artists, because Ice Berg had the whole crowd rapping along to his music, and set up a perfect vibe for fellow Miami artist, Zoey Dollaz to perform after him. Zoey was accompanied by DJ Stevie J and had the crowd vibing to his hit song “Bad Tings.” He showed his love to the women by shouting out the latino ladies in the crowd and saying “ladies if you make more motherfucking money than your ex-boyfriend make some noise,” which had the everyone going wild and completely enthralled in his performance.
The women––in the crowd, and on stage, were really the stars of the show for Trap Circus. While we were all anxiously awaiting Cardi B and Kodak Black, Miami influencer, Norma Now did her segment of the night called “Trap Paradise” where she and her DJ got the crowd going for who everyone was excited to see Cardi B. When the Bronx Queen herself stepped out on stage, looking incredible in a two-piece outfit she called “Shmoney Green,” the crowd went nuts. As expected Cardi was full of energy and even kicked off her stiletto’s before hyping up the crowd for Bodak Yellow, to which she said she would never stop performing as long as it was still making her shmoney. Cardi delivered a flaming performance of Bodak Yellow as everyone screamed the lyrics and the crowd was the loudest of the night. She also performed songs that only real BardiGang members would know, like “Foreva” from her first mixtape, Gangsta Bitch Vol. 1, and “Lick” from GBMV2. Bardi killed her set and ended by performing both of her recent features on songs “Motorsport” and “No Limit”.
Following Cardi B., Norma Now brought out Miami girl, Veronica Vega who continued the girl-power streak from Cardi’s set by twerking all over the stage and rapping powerful sex-infused lyrics. This was my first introduction to Veronica Vega and she certainly captured mine and everyone else’s attention with her saucy set. The crowd grew impatient for Kodak after Vega’s performance and started chanting his name until he finally came out, donning a red turtleneck sweater and sophisticated black blazer, with an iced out sniper gang chain hanging from his neck. Several people in Kodak’s entourage sported matching outfits, as they hyped him up on stage throughout his set. After performing his most recent hits like, Tunnel Vision, Too Many Years, Roll In Peace, and his feature from Drowning, the Pompano native took it back for all of his day one listeners in South Florida with songs from his earlier projects. Kodak had everyone there captivated until the very end, and it was clear that his South Florida roots made him the perfect person to close the night, as Trap Circus proved that Miami locals show up to give their hometown artists major love.
Trap Circus definitely put their name on the map with this event, as it’s the first one of something that we hope becomes an annual festival in Miami. While all eyes are on the South Florida music scene, it seems that Trap Circus came at the perfect time to become part of the scene and offer up an event that showcases local talent as well as big names in the game. For those of you who missed out on the extravaganza, EMCEE has you covered. Flip through our photo gallery capturing moments of the entire day, and stay tuned on our social sites to be the first to hear when our official video coverage of the event drops right here on EMCEEnetwork.com. All of the photos below were shot by: Dereck Supreme.