By Kallan Louis
May 11, 2017
I’m willing to bet most hip-hop fans never heard of the Rolling Loud Festival prior to the release of its initial star-studded 2017 lineup, even though this year’s three-day event was the third annual rendition. But most hip-hop fans have not seen a music festival with so many of the hottest names in the game like Kendrick Lamar, Future, Lil Wayne, A$AP Rocky, Travis Scott, Migos, Action Bronson, and Young Thug as well as up-and-coming artists like Lil Uzi Vert, Lil Yachty and 21 Savage together. More than 50 artists performed over the weekend. There’s a lot of things that went down and here is a look at a few of the best moments.
Location: Miami, arguably hip-hop’s favorite vacation spot, is making its case for permanent residency. Already the host city for Urban Beach Weekend and the Revolt Music Conference, Rolling Loud 3 took place at Bayfront Park – nestled among the art deco and modern building skyline of downtown and palm trees next to the waters of Biscayne Bay. The hip-hop gods had mercy on fans, storming Friday afternoon before doors opened, but, remaining crystal clear with highs in the 80s the entire festival.
Diversity: There were concertgoers literally from all over the world and the same could be said about the artists. We were reminded of the power of hip-hop’s global footprint with Peruvian crooner A.CHAL, South Korean rapper Keith Ape and Indonesian rapper Rich Chigga. Chigga’s song, “Dat $tick,” turned him into an internet sensation among young people. Rolling Loud marked the first time the 17 year-old traveled to America. Addressing the crowd, he was appreciative and said he hoped for this opportunity since he was 13. He took full advantage of his trip by taking a photo of a Walmart and listening to a mariachi band sing “Congratulates” to Post Malone backstage.
Rap styles varied with each act. The conscious and soulful Mick Jenkins had the audience swaying to “Spread Love” hours before the self-proclaimed bubblegum trapper, Lil Yachty, packed it as fans chanted “F*ck Joe Budden” following his criticism of Lil Yachty in a recent interview. The agressive and unadulterated XXXTentacion was ready to start a riot in crowd in front of the stage during his set, and Kendrick Lamar lit the stage on fire later that evening.
A$AP Everywhere: While his performance was Friday night, A$AP Rocky hopped on stage for collaborations various times during the weekend. When he performed “LSD,” on the opening night, the psychedelic graphics and light show taking place on the giant screen behind him had the crowd in a trance.
Joey Bada$$: While a number of rappers brought an entourage to the stage, Joey Bada$$ brought a band for his performance along with DJ Statik Selektah. The live band version of the uplifting track “For my People” off Joey’s latest album, All-Amerikkkan Badass, added a little something different to the festival.
Action Bronson: Bronsolino could have used a band or Statik Selektah for his show. Instead, he was a one man band, DJing his set with his cellphone in hand.
Chief Keef Doesn’t Give a F*ck: Chief Keef was slated to perform in Charlotte on April 7. Instead, he was in Miami, and was later arrested that evening for DUI. Not only did he miss the Charlotte show, he missed his court date and an arrest warrant was issued. That did not stop the Chicago-born rapper from coming out and performing hits like “Love Sosa” and “I Don’t Like” as scheduled…even with police present.
Kung Fu Kenny: K. Dot headlined Saturday night. He recently announced his summer tour with Travis Scott, who closed out Rolling Loud Sunday night. Kendrick is really sticking with this Kung Fu Kenny persona, a character played by Don Cheadle in Rush Hour 2. Similarly to his Coachella performance the show began with an intro video of Kung Fu Kenny in an old school martial arts style movie. Kendrick went straight for the jugular and performed “DNA” first. I assumed he would play mostly tracks off of DAMN., his latest project, however, it was a balance of hits from his solo studio albums including “Swimming Pools,” “B*tch, Don’t Kill My Vibe,” “King Kunta,” “Alright” and “Humble.”
Free Kodak: South Florida rapper Kodak Black was originally scheduled to perform but a parole violation landed him back in jail. Throughout the weekend, acts expressed support for Kodak, including YG, who replaced him.
YG Got X-Rated: Speaking of YG, he had a lot of fun during his set. Besides playing his political anthem, “FDT,” that speaks glowingly about President Trump, he pulled some ladies on stage for a twerk contest and convinced women sitting on shoulders in the crowd to flash their breast.
Migos on the Move: The Migos show was forced to move the larger stage minutes before they came out due to safety concerns. Maybe they haven’t seen crowds during Atlanta rap group’s shows before. There was a mass migration to the stage to hear hits like “Bad and Boujee.”
Airborne Uzi: Lil Uzi Vert climbed 20 feet and plunged into a crowd of fans like a WWE wrestler during his show Sunday night. Easily the most memorable moment of the festival.
Based on shear number of acts and the quality of artists, Rolling Loud is easily one of the best hip-hop festivals of 2017 and when it is all said and done, could be one of the best overall for fans.
More photos from Rolling Loud 2017: