by Colt Shaw
The party got started early outside Summer Jam as up-and-comers and fan favorites lit up the Defiant x Warner Records festival stage in anticipation of the day’s main event.
Mirroring the lineup planned for inside UBS, women dominated the early show outside. Connie Diiamond was among the first on stage, flanked by two dancers. The trio in signature royal blue hair blasted the Ludacris-sampled ‘Move.’
Even in windy conditions, DJ Mike Medium kept the vibe hot between acts as the crowd outside the arena grew, spinning Sheck Wes’ ‘Mo Bamba,’ Drake’s ‘Sticky,’ and ‘Dior’ and ‘Christopher Walking’ from the late Pop Smoke.
Legendary Rella came out to ‘Gangsta Barbie’ and New York’s own Kenzo B played a set including ‘BFFR’ and ‘I’m Doing Me,’ before Kali played ‘Area Codes.’
“I heard this is the year of the ladies,” DJ Medium Mike said between Kenzo tracks.
That was an understatement. The 22-year-old Brooklyn-born Scar Lip — who first went viral with the TikTok famous ‘Glizzy Gobbler’ — would later come out and perform her single ‘This Is New York’ multiple times.
But first, the vibe traveled south to Philly. DJ Triple Threat showcased Meek Mill classics ‘Dreams & Nightmares’ and ‘I’m a Boss,’ before bringing on the breakout Philadelphia rapper 2Rare, who also first found fame on TikTok in 2022.
2Rare and his crew came out bouncing and kept the energy high, playing Q-Pid, his Lil’ Durk duo, before welcoming NLE Choppa on stage to perform the massive ‘DO IT AGAIN.’
The crowd and noise filled out the Belmont Park Grandstand after a brief appearance from French Montana led into an extended set from Sha EK, who came out and performed ‘Shot in the Party,’ ‘New Opps’ and ‘Box,’ among others.
NLE Choppa and Sha EK collaborator Badmanrill followed and led into Pheelz, who closed out the early show with 'Finesse.'