For the third year in a row now North Texas has housed one of the best new local music festivals in the country, JMBLYA Fest, and for the third year in a row it has delivered a wave of national artists tearing up the charts. Tucked away on the outskirts of Downtown Dallas in the Deep Ellum neighborhood JMBLYA setup camp and prepared to douse the city in hip hop for 10 straight hours. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect, simultaneously the same day Noisey released an article outlining the extensive and ever-growing Dallas hip hop scene going unnoticed right now – it paired nicely with the JMBLYA showcase. The heat that day was almost unbearable, North Texas has temperatures upwards of 100+ degrees this time of year, yet we knew the potential for this line up was too good to pass up, so we withstood the hellish heat and stuck it out along with hundreds of local fans who appreciated the idea of an all Hip Hop festival.
When we finally got in the grounds, Kaytranada was mixing and had the crowd in a trance, our first impression was his sound was exactly what this fest was all about. It was almost like his set was a compression of all the other performers styles that day – he had the obscure production that resembled Travis Scott’s dark sound waves, some old school feel-good blues that reminded us of early G-Eazy, with some heavy fast paced flow of Vic Mensa and grooving low melodic style of PARTYNEXTDOOR. It makes sense too since the producer has recently collaborated with literally, half of the line up. Initially Kaytranada was the most underrated act of the night, yet he managed to make a fan out of every attendee by the end, including us.
The sun started to disperse into the night as G-Eazy took the stage, his electric performance, style and line of hits helped all the fest goers recharge their energy as the cool breeze slid through the grounds. The crowd was engaged and you could tell that the fan base the San Francisco native and friend of the mag has in North Texas is pretty prominent.
Travis Scott was a complete outburst of madness, some might be familiar with his live show performances, and some not, but if you are as big of a fan of his music as we are, then you were stunned to see the young rapper perform with such intensity and fire. This is not just a result of the intensity of his writing, but the sound production of his live set that complemented the glitched fire and mountain visuals behind him, as well as the connection between the rapper and the crowd – everyone was injected with Travis Scott’s energy.
On the last leg of the fest, PARTYNEXTDOOR closed the night with a more stimulant note and a darker sexy production with smooth hypnotizing vocal work. Under a single purple light the singer showed Deep Ellum and Dallas he does indeed bring the party, his undeniable live energy and performance style could be heard all the way down the street at all the other venues around the music district.
JMBLYA continuously brings premiere and national Hip Hop acts to Texas, and it has lead the way on such genres, yet as amazing as this years performances were, there were many aspects to the festival that could definitely see improvement. Lines could be situated better in the future and the daytime production was extremely limited to the point it was almost non-existant until the sun started going down and the lights started shining, which only lasted two performances, the last two. Compared to other similar block parties at this level of performers such as Mad Decent’s Block Party and the newly minted HARD Fest tour, this festival really came in third as far as production goes but has amazing potential in the future. All in all this is a great festival for North Texas, and JMBLYA made for an awesome day for live music, we can’t wait to see what they do next year!