The 2022 Lyrical Lemonade Summer Smash Through My Eyes: Saturday Recap

Preface

Every year, the Summer Smash seems to get bigger, better, and more insane than ever before, and 2022 is definitely no exception. Unfortunately, I missed the first year or two because of one reason or another, so 2021 was actually my first time experiencing this event live and in person. At the same time, though, I had been to various other concerts hosted by LL dating all the way back to Lil Uzi Vert’s first-ever Chicago performance way back in April of 2016, so I know how we throw down at live events, and I also know just how loyal, supportive, and turnt up our fans get every chance they get.

2022 had some curveballs thrown at the team including a detrimental storm that almost paused the entire festival, but thanks to the consistently hard-working and ride-or-die group of individuals who put this fest together, the show went on without a hitch! I just want to clarify that this article is solely based on my own experience and not from the point of view of anybody else. I know this isn’t the typical article I may normally write, but I figured it would be a good stroll down memory lane for this year’s attendees while also letting those who missed out know that this is seriously the only place you want to be in the entire world every summer.

Saturday

Saturday was here before I knew it, and with this meant the first of two longer days. I knew that I had to pace myself because, I’m getting old you know? I just remember that I was entirely burnt out like halfway through last year’s Saturday performances, and I didn’t want to be that way again in 2022, so I knew that it was about finishing the race in general and not about finishing in first place. Once again, there were a ton of performers early on that I wanted to see like Katie Got Bandz, Supa Bwe, Dreamer Isioma, Danny Towers, Femdot, and more, but I had to consider a few things.

First off, I knew I needed to be patient and not go too hard, too soon. Second, I knew I would have to choose some of these artists over others since there was some overlap and although I wish I could have been in multiple places at once, we just don’t have the technology for that yet. Lastly, I had already seen a few of these performers last year or at other shows around the city, so this meant I knew I would be missing some spectacular performances, but I also know that I’ll hopefully get the chance to see them in the future, so I decided to come a bit later once again after my group got ourselves mentally and physically prepared for the journey that was to come.

I knew that I wanted to be there for Zack Bia’s DJ set if possible, and SSGKobe was one of the top performers I had on my list all weekend, so that was the plan heading to the festival. Well, if you know me personally, you know that planning ahead isn’t always my strong suit, so although our Uber pulled up just in the nick of time for Kobe’s performance after evading some traffic, there was just no way we would get to Lenny’s Tent Stage in time to see more than a song or two, so we cut our losses considering we saw his insane performance last year, and we headed right to the Lyrical Lemonade Stage to get good spots for the iconic show that G Herbo was about to put on.

Iconic honestly doesn’t do this performance justice because it seemed like pretty much the entire city was huddled around this stage, singing along to every word whether it was more modern music or classic drill anthems that put Herb on the map. All I can say is wow, what a moment that was. After seeing a few more artists that I admittedly don’t listen to all that much, I was still amazed at their showmanship, and I am super glad that I was there to witness musicians like BIA and Tyla Yaweh.

After Tyla, Lil Tracy was up, and he has been one of my favorite underground phenoms for more than half a decade at least. Although I hung back in order to avoid any broken bones or smashed feet (I decided to wear my Birkenstocks that day), Tracy is a true artist who puts his all into everything he does, and it was insane to witness the passion he displayed on stage while still exuding energy and charisma. He even had Nedarb with him as his DJ, so you already know that was a show for the ages. Once Tracy was done running through a mixture of unforgettable records, some of which were my favorite collaborations between him and his late, great brother Lil Peep, another showstopping performance was about to ensue.

This time, the mythical duo of Pouya and Fat Nick was about to take the Tent Stage, and this was something I knew I needed to get closer for. So, I headed backstage and ran into a few homies who I chopped it up with for a couple of minutes before the concert, and without even realizing it at first, Pouya and Nick were being interviewed by Channel 5’s very own Andrew Callahan, one of my all-time favorite filmmakers.

Right after this, they ran out on stage and ran through renditions of so many different tracks, some of which were made as a tag team and some that were individually performed, but all of these songs were unbelievable to see live, right next to the stage. After seeing a show I certainly know I’d never forget, I even got a chance to meet Pouya and Nick who turned out to be some of the most genuine, kind, and supportive guys in the industry, something that isn’t always the case for others. I even got to meet Andrew, who offered to give me this quote on LL and the festival:

“I’m at Lyrical Lemonade [Summer Smash] in Chicago and I’m having the best freaking time… Love to everyone. Shout out to everybody. Shout out to Cole and everyone else!”

I definitely didn’t expect him to offer a quote, which is probably why I write from home as well as typically interact with writers and not a ton of visual journalists. Whether I dropped the ball on having questions prepared or I was just living in the moment, either way, it was awesome. I just met two people whose music I have been religiously bumping since 2015 or earlier, and one of my favorite personalities on the internet, so I was in the zone. Unfortunately, all of these immense moments for me personally caused me to miss Lil Tecca’s set, so we headed right over to Polo G on the Lyrical Lemonade Stage prior to Ski Mask on the SPKRBX Stage.

If you know these emcees, you know that they don’t need an explanation from me to explain their greatness, so I’ll move right into that day’s headliner: Post Malone. While waiting for him to come on stage, the temperature started to drop and we were almost run over by an excited mob surrounding NFL icon Antonio Brown, so while he was not someone I was expecting to see there, I almost coincidentally got pancaked by him, so that’s a story I can tell for years to come.

Before we knew it, Post came out and put on one of the most shockingly incredible performances of the weekend. He is just such a down-to-earth, personable dude on stage, so even though we were surrounded by thousands of people, it felt much more intimate than that. I haven’t even met him in person, but this is just the energy he gives off, and I have never experienced that in my life with a crowd of this size. He even performed a ton of songs for the first time ever off of his brand-new album Twelve Carat Toothache, mostly admitting that he messed them up after they were over, but no one could tell, and I think he was just being hyper-critical of himself.

Saturday felt like it was over in the blink of an eye, and the chilly Windy City night seemed to make the journey home feel like forever. Nonetheless, I feel like Saturday definitely came together much smoother for my group than the previous day, and while it felt like Sunday was a lifetime away, I knew it was less than a half day in our future, so we knocked out as soon as we returned home and got up for the final day of the greatest music festival in Chicago!

 

Come back tomorrow for my recap of Sunday, June 19th!