Thousands of rap fans stood under the bleach white sun, sweat dripping down their faces and soaking their shirts. By 5 p.m. the temperature had cracked 100 degrees with no signs of cooling. However, it would take more than scorching weather to faze these hip-hop fanatics- turns out, even a tornado couldn’t do it.
This Saturday, the inaugural Flyover Festival took place in Bonner Springs at the Providence Medical Amphitheater. The day-long event packed some of the strongest names in hip-hop, including Gucci Mane, Rae Sremmurd, Lil Uzi Vert, Playboy Carti, Smokepurpp, and some of Kansas City’s most talented young rappers.
The high heat and steadily rising humidity did not stop the eager fans from turning up from the very start of the day. Kansas-based DJs #AssJamz played their signature style of throwback hip hop tracks, like Nelly’s “Ride Wit Me” and T-Pain’s “Buy U a Drink” to get fans in the mood to party. It was clear that the fans were warmed up and ready to go by the time local artist Rory Fresco took the stage.
Rory’s impeccable ability to auto-tune his voice is already on the level of rap superstars like Travis Scott and Quavo. Combine that with a superb selection of hard-hitting trap beats and the 19-year-old is firmly on his way to making it. His song “Lowkey” is a certified hit, and sent the crowd into a fervor. Waterbottles exploded from the stage to cool off the insatiable fans. Their collective breaths hung in the air in the form of a humid cloud of body heat and perspiration.
By the time Lil Uzi Vert and Playboy Carti took the stage together, the crowd had divulged into pure madness. The two young rockstars took the stage by storm and traded verses on hits like “Lookin'” and “Woke Up Like This.” Playboy Carti’s massive summer banger “Magnolia” sounded like an atomic bomb going off.
As Carti’s set transitioned into Uzi’s, the energy could not have been higher. The young Philadelphia rapper opened with “Do What I Want,” to the sound of thousands of screaming fans. It was like Beatle-Mania, hearing the shrieks of girls and boys alike, losing their minds over seeing Lil Uzi Vert live. Uzi plowed his way through countless other hits like “XO Tour Llif3” and “Money Longer,” before jumping into the crowd and absorbing the love of his fans like a plant absorbing sunlight. It was when Uzi jumped into the crowd that one of the barricades, keeping the general pit from the VIP section, almost buckled and nearly resulted in a collosal disaster. Luckily, a couple of strong attendees and security guards kept the gate from falling over by placing their whole weight behind it.
Rae Sremmurd took the stage next, and performed a dazzling set full to the brim with massive hits. When seeing Rae Sremmurd, it is almost like seeing a greatest hits set. “No Type” transitions to “No Flex Zone” which transitions to “Black Beatles” which transitions to “Swang.” Each song was performed with outrageous style and energy. Sremmurd, which is composed of two brothers, Swae Lee and Slim Jxmmi, hold the top prize for best chemistry on-stage. They danced, smoked, and performed their way through their set as lightening lit up the sky.
In the time between Rae Sremmurd leaving the stage and Gucci Mane coming on, a torrential downpour coincided with the electrifying sky of lightening and thunder. A DJ took to the stage to alert the crowd of an impending storm and to retreat to their cars to seek shelter. However, he did say that the concert was not canceled yet- although hopes seemed low considering the state of the weather.
Sure enough, at 11 p.m., the man, the myth, the Atlanta trap legend Gucci Mane strutted onstage rocking all-white clothing. The sheer euphoria that is Gucci Mane performing is second to none. With an arsenal of certified hits from before his recent stint in prison, as well as new bangers, Gucci strutted through an incredible 15-song, hit-filled performance. Starting off with his Drake featured “Both,” Gucci led the loyal crowd through a sequence of party-starting rap songs with the confidence of a man who is on-top of the world. Gucci’s smile, ear-to-ear, is that only of a rap star truly living his best life. For those who stuck around through the weather and caught the star’s performance, it was a memorable and incredible spectacle.
Flyover Festival proved to be a much-needed injection of hip-hop to the fans of Kansas City. As the crowd proved, from the beginning of the day to the end, if there is an event featuring rappers, it will be well attended and much appreciated. The day wasn’t without it’s hitches, but nothing could come between the fans and the music they came to see- not even 102 degree heat and a tornado. That, right there, is loyalty you’ll only find in Kansas.