By the time Rae Sremmurd took the stage at Billboard Hot 100 Festival Saturday night (Aug. 18), the sun had begun to set over the nearby Long Island beach and there was palpable sense the crowd was ready to kick into a higher gear. An hour-long set packed with the duo’s many hits from the past half-decade? The swag unlocks itself.
Kehlani was originally scheduled to perform right before Rae Sremmurd, but was forced to cancel due to illness, leaving a mainstage scheduling shuffle with less star power than promised. The opening synth blare “No Type” will help remedy that, and following up that pummeling single with “No Flex Zone” will leave you happily immersed in Rae Sremmurd’s fun house.
Together, Slim Jxmmi and Swae Lee are among the most charismatic live rappers out there. At their Norwell Health at Jones Beach Theater set, the pair was in constant motion, working the stage with sly dance moves and accepting the crowd’s constant barrage selfie requests. In all seriousness, Slim and Swae must’ve spent a quarter the set catching phones, taking selfies, and tossing them back into the front row, which could’ve been an annoyance if it wasn’t so charming. If the GA pit wasn't revved enough over a chance an Instagram video with one the brothers Sremm, the raucous energy Mike WiLL Made-It's best beats was similarly omnipresent.
The duo's barrage familiar choruses kept the crowd entertained as well. Now mostly four years old, those SremmLife singles still make you feel like they could replace your energy supplement before your next gym sesh, and the highlights from this year’s triple-album SR3MM — bloated as it was — felt vital and energizing. The tropical tinges “Guatemala” proved an entrancing elixir not found anywhere else in the set, and closing out with the indomitable “Powerglide” was a formidable mic drop. And being able to drop “Black Beatles” along the way? Having what’s arguably 2016’s most iconic song in your arsenal remains a valuable asset (especially with one Paul McCartney feeling frisky lately).
The Rae Sremmurd power-hour left a lingering high — the sort you get from a solid morning jog or a memorable night at the club. Or, in this case, the jolt you’re looking for in chasing a Lil Xan set on the side stage and getting in gear for Halsey’s upcoming headline set. Xan himself was visible side stage for most Rae Sremmurd’s performance, bobbing his beanie-clad head in Zen-like glory. Whatever your vibe, Swae and Slim delivered.