Not every day at Art Basel Miami 2022 was sunny—but every night was hot as hell, thanks to a bustling roster of star-studded events, brand activations, afterparties, after-afterparties, and jam-packed dive bars with all the spill-out from all the aforementioned fun. And man, it feels good that VICE got to be part of the Miami nightlife mix.
Our three-day Not A Test event brought together a group of boundary-pushing hip-hop artists to perform alongside thousands of pieces of modern and contemporary visual art from around the world. Plus, the crowd was hot—like, impeccably dressed, immaculate vibes, “Oh shit, I should have asked for their Instagram handle!” hot.
Together, these creators, audience members, and a lucky few VICE employees got to get down and celebrate the future of hip-hop: a future that’s global, that defies norms and expectations, that creates diamonds under pressure. And, obviously, we photographed all of it—so here are a few of our favorite snaps from the balmiest event VICE threw this year.
NIGHT ONE: DONOVAN’S YARD, SMINO
Kicking off an event that’s supposed to showcase the future of hip-hop is an intimidating prospect—especially on a Wednesday night. Luckily, the dynamic duo of DJs from Donovan’s Yard, an LA-based collective known for getting the party started, were more than up to the task.
In a set sponsored by CashApp, with free drinks a-flowing and blunt smoke gently wafting through the air, they lit up the outdoor dance floor—and made it look easy, too.
Audience members were able to get up close and personal—more on that later—with all of the artists, thanks to a just-elevated stage in the backyard of the Carl Fisher Clubhouse.
The night capped off with a final CashApp-sponsored performance: Smino, who wooed the crowd with his signature blend of R&B velvet and punchy yet personal bars. Hips swayed and Stories were shot to be viewed by jealous friends at home.
Then, right when the function hit a fever pitch, the show ended at a respectable 11:00pm—just in time to let attendees get a good night’s sleep. Or, more likely, hit the next Art Basel-adjacent event on their list.
NIGHT TWO: PRETTYBOY D-O, SUDAN ARCHIVES, UNCLE WAFFLES
Thursday night’s Expedia-sponsored lineup took Not A Test’s audience on a trip around the world with performances from hip-hop pioneers with African influence threaded through their music. And that music’s influence on the crowd? Steamy, to say the least!
Nigerian rapper Prettyboy D-O hopped onstage for what he claimed was his first live performance—something I need to fact-check, because the charisma oozing off the stage seemed like it was coming from a seasoned pro.
After firing off a few cheeky love songs and a playful callout rap, Prettyboy vacated the stage, and Sudan Archives ascended. In a bodysuit, leather thong, and unspeakably chic mullet, she graced attendees with raunchy love songs laced with swagger and—what else?—a fucking violin solo. My old orchestra teacher is foaming at the mouth with jealousy.
Finally, South Africa-based DJ Uncle Waffles closed out the night with a set that electrified the crowd with a mix that was chock full of rhythmic African instrumentals and thrumming, bumping bass. Each artist brought their own flavor to the lineup, but they all had one thing in common: It was impossible to stand still while they were onstage.
NIGHT THREE: THEY HATE CHANGE, 454 + PIG THE GEMINI, JPEGMAFIA
Parting is such sweet sorrow—but the last night of Not A Test, hosted by Marc Jacobs, was anything but sad.
Between a guest list that raised the bar for cool, a trio of ultra-talented acts, and the timing (penultimate night of Basel!), it was destined to be iconic—and I think we delivered.
Tampa rap duo They Hate Change kicked the night off with a high-energy DJ set, bouncy raps backed by hyperactive club beats that felt tailor made for the Miami mindset—sexy, maximalist, up, up, up!
Fellow Floridians 454 and Pig the Gemini kept the party electrified when they took the stage. The brother-sister duo (how sick is that?) riled up the crowd with the dynamic, playful tracks—a mix of solo material and their collaborative work—that keep them both on your coolest friend’s current party playlist.
Finally, JPEGMafia—who isn’t from Florida, but told me he feels a kinship with the state’s “degenerate” reputation—closed out the night with a set that took him off the stage and into the crowd.
The rapper and producer, who’s notorious for his deeply weird, highly experimental approach to hip-hop, was the perfect act to close Not A Test. Fresh off a tour with Turnstile and Snail Mail, Peggy gave the audience what all audiences kind of want: the chance to personally connect with the talent in all their loud, sweaty glory.
If you weren’t lucky enough to catch any of these performances, don’t worry—we gathered all of these artists together because we think they represent the next great evolutionary stage of hip-hop, so we think you’ll have plenty of time to catch them in the future. Just, you know, not at an event as cool as ours.