At around 1:30, sandwiched between Gucci's "Freaky Gurl" and Jeezy's "I Do" verse (for the first of many "ticket giveawayyyyy!!!!!s), Miguel was announced as "being in the club" to Kendrick Lamar's "Swimming Pools (Drank)." After the "real hip-hop" kerfuffle at Summer Jam and talk of Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City's uncompromised major label release, it was jarring to hear the song in a club otherwise playing (to some) compromised major label releases. And on top of that to see multiple people vibing to it like was "Starships."
Miguel's narrative generally starts out in in label hell. The artist went in and out of court to get his first album, All I Want is You, out of the hands of early signers Black Ice. Then his image and sound were boxed in for the urban market with a chameleonic identity spread thin by too many hands. "Drank" unwittingly reminded me of the narrative's conclusion, in which Miguel transcends the limbo, comes into his own, and offers the uncompromised coherence of this year's Kaleidoscope Dream. Still, that narrative ignores the wonderfully messy Art Dealer Chic EPs, whose grab bag of magic tricks were doled out like a throwaway mixtape on Dat Piff. There's also the irony that both Art Dealer Chic and Dreams require a chameleonic adaptability to make it work, something that became useful during the night's show as well.
Eventually, possibly after waiting for the half-filled club to get full (it didn't), and after his band bought some time by cheerfully going into full "we're part of the show, too, guys!" jam mode, Miguel took the mic to "Sure Thing." He was clad in faded jeans, black visors, a leather jacket and a Clash T-shirt. In almost no time, he bid for icon status, throwing the mic stand over his shoulders, turning around and flexing his buns and letting us know that he too was Born in the U.S.A.