Four months after Day N Vegas brought Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole, Migos and many more to the Las Vegas Strip, live music paused worldwide for more than a year. But anyone who worried the pandemic might derail Las Vegas’ new hip-hop festival clearly wasn’t paying attention to its November 2019 debut.
Day N Vegas’ first edition was a success by most any metric, selling out and drawing rave reviews for its music by fans and critics in attendance. That meant the AEG/Goldenvoice-produced fest would almost certainly be back—and it is.
DNV’s November 12-14 return—set for the Las Vegas Festival Grounds at Sahara and the Strip—will feature another powerhouse lineup. Lamar, Post Malone and Tyler, the Creator will each headline a day, and the stacked undercard will be loaded with the likes of Doja Cat, SZA, YG, Lil Baby, Ari Lennox, Lil Uzi Vert and dozens more.
Travis Scott, originally scheduled to headline Saturday, dropped out after at least eight people died and more were seriously injured during his set at last weekend’s Astroworld Festival in Houston. On Tuesday morning, Day N Vegas issued this statement: “The security and safety of all attending Day N Vegas has been and is always top priority in our festival planning. We continue to work hand in hand with law enforcement, medical personnel and public safety agencies on our protocols for the weekend. Please take care of yourself and each other.”
Weekend and single-day Day N Vegas tickets remained available at press time, so whether you already have yours or are considering purchasing, read on and get excited about the artists on the bill.
A don’t-miss dozen: 12 acts to catch at Day N Vegas
by Amber Sampson
Young M.A. (4:30-5 p.m., Sammy Stage) In 2016, Brooklyn’s Young M.A pulled up on the rap world with her debut single “OOOUUU.” She’s been a New York icon ever since. The multiplatinum rapper is bullish on the mic, shooting well-placed shots at her haters and breaking down barriers as an openly queer female artist in a male-dominated industry. Expect to hear hits from her swagful May LP Off the Yak-—and for the crowd to turn up accordingly.
Rico Nasty (5:10-5:45 p.m., Sammy Stage) When it comes to rap, Rico Nasty’s dancing to the beat of her own “sugar trap” drum. The Maryland rapper coined the term to define her style of trap rapping over melodic, bubblegum beats, but she also draws from the well of nu metal, punk and rap rock. Rico’s 2020 release, Nightmare Vacation, is a fully formed example, showcasing a rambunctious brand of music that’s unapologetically Nasty.
Lucky Daye (7:25-7:55 p.m., Sammy Stage) Before you ever knew Lucky Daye’s name, you knew his work. The 36-year-old New Orleans native has co-written songs for Boyz II Men, Ella Mai and even Mary J Blige. In 2019, he debuted “Roll Some Mo,” a single that paved the way for Painted, a Best R&B Album contender at the 2020 Grammys. Lucky Daye’s a refreshing addition to the R&B scene, one you’ll want to keep an eye on.
Thundercat (7:25-8:25 p.m., Dean Tent) How does one describe Thundercat? Let’s count the ways. Groovy. Soulful. Progressive. LA singer and bassist Stephen Bruner is the man behind the moniker, best known for his Grammy-award winning work on jazz-funk projects like 2020’s It Is What It Is. Thundercat has worked with Ariana Grande, Kendrick Lamar, Stevie Wonder and Erykah Badu, among others. You’re in for a treat.
Kendrick Lamar (10:20-11:50 p.m., Frank Stage) At this point, what else can Kendrick Lamar do? At 34, the Compton rapper has won 13 Grammys, released an album that won a Pulitzer Prize for Music, produced and curated a soundtrack for a critically acclaimed Marvel movie and received a Generational Icon Award from California’s State Senate. Rumors are swirling about a new album as the influential rapper makes his return to Day N Vegas, but his set here is billed as “from Section.80 to Damn,” so it’ll cover his last four LPs. Will we get a taste of the new stuff? With an artist this talented, we’d be crazy to complain either way.
Latto (4:55-5:30 p.m., Sammy Stage) Latto got her first break after winning Jermaine Dupri’s reality TV competition, The Rap Game. The Atlanta rapper’s breakout single, “Bitch From Da Souf,” put her on the map, and she has since joined the ranks of rising female rap stars dominating the game. Latto can flow over anything, including —on current hit“Big Energy”—a sample from Tom Tom Club’s “Genius of Love” (also famously sampled by Mariah Carey on “Fantasy”). Come prepared to sing along.
Yves Tumor (7:15-7:55 p.m., Dean Tent) You won’t find anyone else on this lineup like Yves Tumor. In 2020, Pitchfork called Miami’s experimental electro-rocker one of “the most interesting artists working today,” and two Weekly writers included 2020 album Heaven to a Tortured Mind in their year-end Top 10s. That record’s theatricality earned it comparisons to David Bowie and Prince, but there’s something intrinsically Yves Tumor in the music. Find out what it is when you catch this unskippable set.
Victoria Monét (8:05-8:35 p.m., Dean Tent) Victoria Monét has a way of making every song feel like an instant classic. Her latest single, “Coastin,’” has the trappings of an ’70s-infused funk record, but the singer-songwriter brings a freshness to what’s already familiar. In previous years, Monét has penned music for Nas, Blackpink, Fifth Harmony and Ariana Grande, most notably on Grande’s Thank U, Next. At Day N Vegas, expect something completely original.
Tinashe (9:15-10 p.m., Sammy Stage) Back in 2014, you couldn’t turn on a radio without hearing this pop starlet’s club track, “2 On.” Tinashe has worked with everyone from Britney Spears to A$AP Rocky, securing her spot as a multiplatinum musician. But in 2019, she left her record label, starting over as an independent artist. On fifth album 333, Tinashe basks in that newfound freedom, melding rhythmic pop with strokes of EDM and alternative R&B.
Almondmilkhunni (1-1:25 p.m., Dean Tent) Philadelphia’s rising star might be fresh-faced, but she shows all of the signs of a natural hitmaker. Almondmilkhunni blends airy pop with a subtle dose of R&B, as her vocals glide over standout tracks “Damnboy” and “Grapefruit.” A proud member of the LGBT community, this artist knows who she is and carries that confidence into her music.
Raveena (4:50-5:20 p.m., Dean Tent) Raised in a traditional Sikh house by two Indian parents, R&B darling Raveena grew up with three core influences: Bollywood, Nina Simone and Ella Fitzgerald. Her 2019 album, Lucid, arrived rife with soul, inviting vocals and pure, unadulterated emotion. Raveena’s music is a multi-genre gem, some of the most refreshing stuff around today.
SZA (8:20-9:20 p.m., Frank Stage) It’s been four years since SZA released her groundbreaking debut, Ctrl, and last year, Rolling Stone ranked it among its 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. Fusing contemporary R&B with elements of neo-soul, jazz and indie pop, SZA created a modern romance playbook that feels timeless and right for any season. SZA has been teasing a ton of new music, so time will tell if she’ll unveil some of it at Day N Vegas.
Quiz Time! Test your knowledge about Day N Vegas’ acts
1. Which of these albums reached No. 1 on the Billboard 200?
a) Kendrick Lamar’s Good Kid, M.A.A.D City
b) Doja Cat’s Planet Her
c) Tyler, the Creator’s Igor
d) SZA’s Ctrl
2. Which of these artists has not guested on a Post Malone single?
a) Olivia Rodrigo
b) Ozzy Osbourne
c) Nicki Minaj
d) Justin Bieber
3. Which Day N Vegas artist teamed with MF Doom in the duo Madvillain?
a) Freddie Gibbs
c) Kenny Beats
4. Which Day N Vegas artist portrayed Inspectah Deck in Season 1 of the Hulu series Wu Tang: An American Saga?
a) Don Toliver
b) Lil Uzi Vert
c) Joey Bada$$
5. Which Day N Vegas act appeared on Kanye West’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy?
b) Jazmine Sullivan
c) Flatbush Zombies
d) Teyana Taylor
6. Which two Day N Vegas artists teamed up on a song featuring a portion of the melody from Olivia Newton-John’s “Physical”?
a) Victoria Monét & BIA
b) Doja Cat & SZA
c) Tinashe & Yves Tumor
d) Queen Naija & SiR
7. Which Day N Vegas artist was once a member of SoCal punk band Suicidal Tendencies?
b) Premo Rice
c) Isaiah Rashad
8. Day N Vegas artists Tyler, the Creator and Earl Sweatshirt are members of which hip-hop collective?
c) Odd Future
10. Which Day N Vegas artist was featured on Nipsey Hussle’s 2020 Grammy-winning Best Rap Performance track “Racks in the Middle”?
a) D Smoke
d) Roddy Ricch
DAY N VEGAS November 12-14, gates open at noon, $200 per day/$490-$800 weekend pass, proof of vaccine or negative test required. Las Vegas Festival Grounds, daynvegas2021.com.