Since its inception in 2013, Texas hip-hop festival JMBLYA (pronounced “jambalaya”) has hosted a wide array of heavy-hitters and A-listers, such as Travis Scott, J. Cole, Chance the Rapper, Post Malone, Migos, G-Eazy, Tyler, the Creator, Lil Wayne and others. The festival has become notorious for its star-studded and cutting-edge lineups. The festival's yearly announcements have become almost as anticipated as the affair itself.
JMBLYA will return for its eighth year in Dallas on Friday, May 1, and in addition to making a stop in Austin the following day, the event will return to Houston for the first time since 2018. The lineup announcement is scheduled to take place on “February 30” (meaning organizers will drop the lineup when they feel like it), so the anticipation has led to lively speculation on just who exactly will perform.
We decided to make some educated predictions on this upcoming lineup, which was cooked up by promoter Scoremore Shows.
Lil Uzi Vert
It’s been a good three years since Philadelphia emo rap icon Lil Uzi Vert has played the festival, and he's certainly overdue for another visit. He’d make for a plausible headliner, and since there’s a wide gap between his Coachella appearance in late April and his Rolling Loud set on the second weekend of May, it’s definitely a possibility.
Megan Thee Stallion
The queen herself, Houston rapper Megan Thee Stallion, played a rager of a sold-out show at Bomb Factory back in December, and since she’s playing a string of festival and one-off dates, this would make for a well-calculated and triumphant return.
It’s already been an eventful year for Roddy Ricch, as his breakout hit “The Box” has oscillated all over the Billboard Hot 100 charts (much to the chagrin of Selena Gomez and Justin Bieber). Since the Compton rapper has become the “it” rapper of late, he’s been booked on some of the biggest destination festivals, none of which are taking place on this weekend.
Last time North Texans were paid a visit by Doja Cat, she was billed on Posty Fest. Before that, she played a sold-out affair at Trees. We’re a good market for her.
Like most of these artists, Lil Tjay has a tour gap that makes this inclusion plausible.
Maryland rapper IDK used to be referred to as Jay IDK, but for some reason, he decided that he hates being easy to Google.
Denzel Curry just dropped a project with producer Kenny Beats, and he hasn’t come through town since that $UICIDEBOY$ show in Irving. Moreover, he hasn’t played JMBLYA since 2014. And since “Ultimate” dropped in 2015, JMBLYA festivalgoers tragically never got to mosh to it.
Stunna 4 Vegas
North Carolina rapper Stunna 4 Vegas has made a name for himself as a protégé of fellow local rapper DaBaby, who's taken him on tour. We’d like to think at this point, he has gotten his sea legs enough to play an opening festival slot.
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645AR achieved virality and became the butt of many jokes for using an abnormally high-pitched voice (think Neil Young when he used a vocoder in “Transformer Man”) to the point of making his lyrics indecipherable. His breakout single “4 Da Trap” has been making the rounds for a good month or so, so we would wager that he has signed with an agency like CAA or William Morris. The same thing happened with Lil Nas X when “Old Town Road” first went viral, and JMBLYA was one of the first live shows he played since. Maybe history will repeat itself?
Florida rapper $NOT’s profile has increased ever since he received a co-sign from Billie Eilish, and with a new single “Moon & Stars,” it’s already looking to be a big year for him.
Since the release of his viral hit “Lil Quita,” Oak Cliff rapper Trapboy Freddy has followed the footsteps of his friend Yella Beezy as one of Dallas hip-hop’s biggest success stories of late. At this point, he's almost old news, but selecting Freddy as a JMBLYA opener would be a reasonable move.
Houston’s Aaron May is also a viral sensation who would be a plausible opener. With songs such as “Let Go” and “Ride” getting 1 to 4 million hits on YouTube over the course of a whole year, it’s honestly a bit surprising that he hasn’t already played the festival.