Summer Smash 2024 Recap: Travis Scott, Playboi Carti and Chief Keef Take Over Chicago

This past weekend, Chicago vibrated with the beats of Hip-Hop legends as Lyrical Lemonade’s Summer Smash took center stage at SeatGeek Stadium. From June 14th to 16th, the Windy City became the center of the music world, hosting a three-day festival that showcased some of hip-hop’s most iconic names, including Chief Keef, Playboi Carti and Cactus Jack, as well as promising newcomers.

Hosted by creative powerhouse Lyrical Lemonade in collaboration with production company SPKRBX, this year’s festival featured big-name and familiar headliners. Performers included Cactus Jack—a collective comprising Travis Scott, Don Toliver, Sheck Wes, Sofaygo and DJ Chase B, named after Scott’s record label. Also gracing the stage over the weekend included Playboi Carti and Chief Keef. The latter of the two, Keef, is Chicago’s iconic drill pioneer returning to his hometown stage after a 12-year absence. Other performers throughout the weekend included Big Sean, Flo Milli, Waka Flocka Flame, Mick Jenkins, Lil Yachty, and more.

Friday night’s energy was incredible, with EBONY getting a chance to speak with Flo Milli after her performance. The “Never Lose Me” singer was filled with high-energy and good vibes after her set. We asked her what type of advice she would give to EBONY readers who are inspired by her journey. “Stay true to yourself, whatever you feel passionate about, stick to that and whatever you want to do, it’s your decision,” Flo Milli said. “Stick to what you want to do because you only live once. Stay focused and don’t give up on your dreams. Keep a good circle of people around you. Pay attention to how your body feels!”

Travis Scott, Playboi Carti, & Chief Keef Take Over Chicago
Flo Milli. Image: courtesy of Tallie Spencer.

Later throughout the night, festival-goers made their way to the main stage to witness Travis Scott perform alongside his Cactus Jack crew who was headlining the night. “I’m nothing without Sheck Wes… Don Toliver… Sofaygo,” Scott said on stage during the set. “I’m nothing without Chase B. “Without them, there is no me. Without y’all fans, there is no me. I love y’all so motherf***ing much. We’ve been thinking about doing a JACKBOYS 2,” he teased. Travis Scott’s high-energy set on Friday night set the tone for the weekend, leaving fans wanting more and excited for day two of the festival.

Furthermore, Saturday’s performances were particularly noteworthy, featuring Kodak Black’s bold stage presence, Bia’s unapologetic delivery, and Ski Mask the Slump God’s crowd-igniting performance. And of course, Playboi Carti delivered a memorable performance to close the night. In addition, Carti even brought out some members of his Opium crew, which included Ken Carson and Destroy Lonely. What surprised fans even more was that he debuted two unreleased tracks during this set. Fans were thrilled, to say the least.

EBONY had a chance to speak to Bia on Saturday after her performance. Bia has been making headlines recently regarding her beef with Cardi B, and the diss track “SUE MEEE?” which accuses Cardi of cheating on Offset. However, while keeping the interview questions vague, EBONY asked how she’s been dealing with the criticism and what message she would give to haters. “F**k that b**ch,” she replied. “I don’t really dwell on my haters cause I feel like I’m a positive person. I’m really really so positive, I’m having such a great time with my life so I really try not to let outer interferences mess up my mood. Cause I’m so grateful to be here … I don’t let that stuff bother my frequency.” Bia seemed to be in high spirits after her set.

Travis Scott, Playboi Carti, & Chief Keef Take Over Chicago
Bia. Image: courtesy of Tallie Spencer.

Last but not least, Sunday was a memorable day and marked the end of the three-day festival. Despite encountering a few challenges earlier in the day, such as a weather alert for high winds and a brief evacuation due to rain, the show resumed once conditions improved. Moreover, fans were over the moon to witness Chief Keef’s return to Chicago. Keef, a hometown hero and South Side legend, was slated to take the stage and close the festival after a decade-long hiatus from performing in his native city. His closing performance on Sunday night was a huge moment for fans who have been waiting for his comeback. Joined by fellow Chicago native G Herbo, Chief Keef delivered an unforgettable set, performing classics like “Faneto,” “Love Sosa,” and “Don’t Like.” The set was nostalgic and served as the perfect return for Chief Keef. He also brought out his daughter on stage, which was a heartfelt moment, too.

Ahead of Chief Keef’s performance, EBONY had the opportunity to speak with Atlanta’s Waka Flocka – who took the stage just hours before Keef. During the interview, Waka Flocka discussed what he’s been up to lately outside of music. “I’ve been elevating my mind,” he said confidently. “Reading books. Elevating the mind is how you grow.” He performed some of his most well-known songs including “No Hands,” “Hard In Da Paint,” “Round of Applause” and “O Let’s Do It.” He also revealed to EBONY that his newer music has been more versatile than just hip-hop and he’s not “boxing [himself] in” to any specific genre right now.

Travis Scott, Playboi Carti, & Chief Keef Take Over Chicago
Waka Flocka. Image: courtesy of Tallie Spencer.

Beyond the headliners, Summer Smash showcased a diverse lineup of emerging and established artists throughout the weekend. Every artist that graced the stage brought their own unique style to the event. EBONY spoke with rising rapper Anycia about her performance after she got off stage and the energy she felt from the crowd. “It was a vibe, it was really really intimate,” she said of her performance. The “Back Outside,” raptress was excited to connect with her fans, and expressed that she has more to come this year. “I’m an open book right now and enjoying my space. I been working my a** off. I have more shows, more music to drop, and a lot of things I’m looking forward to this summer.” 

At its heart, Summer Smash was a celebration of community and culture, paying homage to Chicago’s rich musical heritage while embracing the genre’s evolving landscape. The festival not only provided a platform for artists to showcase their talents but also fostered a sense of unity and pride among attendees, many of whom hailed from Chicago and beyond.

As Chief Keef closed out the festival with a heartfelt performance, it marked not only the end of a spectacular weekend but also a reaffirmation of Hip-Hop’s impact. Lyrical Lemonade’s Summer Smash 2024 will undoubtedly be remembered as a milestone event in the Hip-Hop calendar.

Until next year, Chicago’s Summer Smash leaves a memorable mark on the city and the hearts of all who were fortunate enough to be part of this unforgettable experience.

Updated: June 24, 2024 — 3:02 pm