From the very announcement of the lineup, it was clear that the 2023 edition of One Music Fest was going to be one to remember. Boasting a lineup with Kendrick Lamar, Janet Jackson, Brent Faiyaz and Megan Thee Stallion, how could it not? Here’s a recap of what went down last weekend in Atlanta, from the biggest artists that took the stage to all the way down.
Day 1 of One Music Fest, Including Kendrick Lamar & Meg Thee Stallion
Megan Thee Stallion, recently making headlines as a newly independent artist, was no doubt among the biggest headlines on Day 1. She took the stage for an hour-long medley of some of her biggest hits, from “Savage” to “Big Ole Freak,” with the A-list production value and choreography that fans have come to expect from the Houston rapper.
Closing out the first day of the festival was Kendrick Lamar. He began his set with a performance of “N95” off of his Mr. Morale and the Big Steppers. Only a bit over a year old at this point, it made sense to focus on that project, which he did by slotting other cuts like “Worldwide Steppers,” “Rich Spirit,” “Count Me Out,” “Die Hard” and “Savior” into his setlist. Still, he made space for all the massive tracks he’s spawned over the years, including a climactic rendition of “Alright” as his penultimate number.
Day 2 Lives Up to Gaudy Expectations
Come Sunday, DJ Drama made good on the promise of his “and Friends” billing. He kept things local, but certainly not small, bringing out modern Atlanta legends like Waka Flocka, T.I., Young Dro and 2Chainz for One Music Fest showcase of all the talent the region has birthed in the past few decades.
Though she constitutes more than enough star power on her own, Janet Jackson also took the chance to bring out some special guests. First up was J. Cole, himself a hotter commodity than ever before, for a performance of 2015 collab “No Sleep.” Cole stuck around to give fans his own “No Role Modelz” shortly after. In the third leg of her four-act set, Jackson brought out some more royalty—this time, R&B and Atlanta legend Jermaine Dupri for their joint song “So Excited.” Fittingly, he also turned in a performance of his “Welcome to Atlanta” and “Money Ain’t a Thang” before ceding the stage to Janet alone to close out her set.
The “Women First” Showcase as a Part of Hip Hop’s 50th Anniversary
Last but not least, One Music Fest hosted a celebration and spotlight of the best female MCs active, both past and present, with the “Women First” showcase. Featuring performances from Lady of Rage, Yoyo and Trina, the spot was a major highlight and put on display those that paved the way for the current takeover of female rappers. Our friends at SOHH got the chance to catch up with Trina herself following her performance for an extended interview, covering everything from coping with personal losses to globetrotting travel to her take on critics that allege today’s women veer too controversial. Below is an excerpt of what the “Take It to Da House” rapper had to say to SOHH on that last point.
They are over 21 and they can do whatever they want to do. […] We’ve seen a lot of stuff living on this earth. These are young girls, they have to grow, they are going to grow into women, this is a freedom of speech like we’re not locked up, we’re not chained down, say what you want to say, make music of what you feel like. If you don’t like it, don’t listen, that’s why we have ears.”– Trina, on the newest generation of women in rap.
It was certainly a weekend to remember, and goes to show that even amid a crowded festival landscape in 2023, One Music Fest remains among the best events for rap and R&B fans alike. Head to the SOHH website for more coverage of everything that took place at an eventful weekend in Atlanta.