Spotify's RapCaviar Live show might have brought more out-of-towners than locals to the Fillmore's Miami Beach stage last night, but that didn't matter: Put one Miami artist onstage in their hometown and you know they'll turn the party.
For many attendees, the main attraction at this spectacle that centered on Spotify's wildly popular hip-hop playlist was rap's newest it-girl (or rather, hot girl) Megan Thee Stallion, but the lineup was stacked with some of the most popular femcees of the past decade. The published roster, however, was only the tip of the iceberg; a slew of surprise guests put their artistry on vivid display.
Atlanta-based rapper Mulatto took the stage to warm up the crowd as the audience was still filling the Fillmore's standing and seated sections. He was followed by fan-favorite Doja Cat, who emerged in a full-length beige peacoat to wild cheers. After leading off with "Tia Tamera," she performed her new single, "Rules," live for the first time, then finished with the much-beloved "Juicy."
Between sets, DJ and music curator Domo and Atlanta-based DJ Ohso proved to be naturals at dishing out hype and delivering dance-worthy music. Harlem-raised singer Melii, clad in a black Céline crop top, barely needed a backing track. Midway through her set, she brought out the first of the night's special guests: Canadian singer Tory Lanez, who contributed his single from the summer of 2018, "TAlk tO Me."
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Next up, Detroit rapper Kash Doll was treated to the sight of a Fillmore that could fill no more. "I'm gonna put y'all on to something from my new project," she announced after opening with "Here I Go" and Big Sean collab "So Good." "Doin Too Much," from her newly released debut album, Stacked, is already a runaway hit — so much so that Kash has a "#DoinTooMuch" challenge on Instagram to showcase the best freestylers among her fanbase.
Miami's own DaniLeigh provided the night's first taste of hometown love, followed by a surprise cameo from Saucy Santana, who dropped by to perform his much-memed "Walk Em Like a Dog."
Saweetie contributed a medley of her biggest tracks, checked in on the single and taken ladies, then jumped into "Tip Toes" (her collaboration with her boyfriend, Migos frontman Quavo), and shouted out recently released-from-prison rapper JT of the City Girls before performing their collab "Come On."
Fellow Bay Area native Kamaiyah maintained the energy level, leading into the most Miami-centric performance of the night: Draped in a rhinestone-studded jacket and flanked by dancers spelling out "THE ONE," Miami's "baddest bitch" Trina took the stage, mixing two decades' worth of greatest hits with newer tracks, including "New Thang" and "If It Ain't Me." She also brought out DJ Khaled and longtime collaborator and Love & Hip Hop: Miami castmate Trick Daddy. (VH1 cameras were there to capture that moment and others over the course of the evening.)
Then came the show's last surprise guest: rap legend Lil' Kim, fresh off a BET Icon Award and the release of her comeback album, 9. The Queen Bee took the crowd back with classics like "The Jump Off," "Crush on You," and "Magic Stick," then closed her set with "Found You," a new single.
It's surprising that in a show that included some of hip-hop's biggest acts, the lion's share of the hype was reserved for a rapper with less than two years of releases under her belt. Then again, Lil' Kim herself has said she has "passed the torch" to a new generation of femcees, so perhaps the heightened anticipation for Megan Thee Stallion's arrival was to be expected.
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At any rate, Megan did not disappoint, emerging to deafening cheers, rapping through her hits ("Realer," "Freak Nasty," "Sex Talk"), and twerking as only she can. Before performing the Juicy J collab "Simon Says," she invited a handful of audience members onstage for a literal game of Simon Says in which the commands were limited to the song's lyrics. The lucky fans dutifully put their hands on their hips, knees, and feet before "busting it open like a freak."
"Big Booty," Megan's new collaboration with Gucci Mane, was followed by "Hot Girl Summer." Noting that the crowd knew every single word of her and collaborator Nicki Minaj's verses on the track, Megan commended the faithful: "My Miami hotties are on some different shit, yo!" she declared before wrapping up the night's proceedings with "Big Ole Freak" and "Cash Shit."
Spotify's RapCaviar playlist remains at the forefront of music discovery for hip-hop fans and nonfans alike, so the concert series must deliver on its reputation year after year. With an all-star lineup consisting entirely of female rappers, last night's show proved that in sunny South Florida, "Hot Girl Summer" is a year-round affair.