Rolling Loud Recap: May 11-13, 2018
Updated: May 31, 2018
Most Satisfying: Lil Durk
At stage three for the 9am headlining slot, Chicago emcee and drill pioneer Lil Durk blessed the Monster Energy Stage in front of a small but dedicated crowd. Let me preface this by explaining why seeing Durk and Chief Keef this weekend was so critical for fans especially those hailing from Chicago. In 2012, the city of Chicago passed an ordinance banning Durk and many of his drill affiliates including Keef from performing in the city due to safety concerns because of oversized crowds, so this was my first time seeing Durk which made it special. He opened up with new material from his most recent album Just Cause Y'all Waited. Alongside him was his OTF crew including up and coming rapper Hypno Carlito hyping him up in front of the mostly Chicago filled crowd. After the new project, Durk ran through Signed to the Streets classics "Who is This" and fan favorite "Bang Bros" as well as brought his girl on stage for the new lady-friendly pop hit "India." The energy from the crowd was real as mostly everyone knew all the words to almost every song.
Most Memorable: Young Dolph
Young Dolph quickly took my attention at the Audiomack stage around 7pm with the best chain of the weekend which was fittingly a gigantic blue dolphin. Dolph played a few old hits as well as his 2017 album, Thinking Out Loud. Possibly the highlight of the weekend was when Dolph gave $20,000 in cold hard cash to two Duke baristas who got fired by the VP of the university for playing his song "Get Paid" while they were working at the store. Midway during his set Dolph said, "You know the VP of Duke he gettin' money... but he ain't gettin' no money like Dolph though!" Then the vintage Dolph ad-lib played as he gave the students the cash.
Best Sound: Young Thug
At the packed headliner stage as the evening got underway Thug played bits and pieces of the Slime Seasons, 'No, My name is JEFFERY' as well as the classic Barter 6 and new material off of Beautiful Thugger Girls. I specifically remember hearing Thug as one of the first artists we heard without a vocal backtrack under himself, so for that Thug's vocals were sounding on point. I saw him in 2015 at very small Lolla set so this was the first time I got to see him in front of a large crowd. Have to say he impressed me, especially with my favorite off the new album, "Tomorrow Til Infinity." For being a laid back artist, Thugger brings more energy than you would think and that showed during the more upbeat "With That" off of Barter 6.
Most Clutch: Splitting Smokepurpp and Chief Keef
Due to scheduling delays I ended up splitting Smokepurpp and Chief Keef which ended up being an efficient split of shows. Smokepurpp came out his most recent hit "123" off of the entirely Murda Beatz produced Bless Yo Trap tape. He then ran through "Krisy Kreme", "Bless Yo Trap", "Audi" and more as my I left the Purpp mosh pits for Chief Keef. My buddy and I sprinted across the festival to catch Keef midset as he went into "Don't Like", "Love Sosa", "Earned It", something new I didn't recognize which damn near broke the Rolling Loud speakers and ending with "Faneto." Needless to say, we got our money's worth there as Keef and Glo Gang were turnt up on the High Hemp Stage.
Best Mosh of the Weekend: Lil Pump
Gazzy Garcia aka Lil Pump is indeed the 17 year-old controversial rockstar out of Florida that has the kids going bananas right now. Pump came out in a Bugs Bunny sweater and lots of expensive jewelry blasting new hits like "Eskeetit" and "iShyne" featuring Carnage as well as older bangers "Flex Like Ouu", "Gucci Gang" and the mosh pit song of the weekend "D Rose." It seemed like everytime a different Pump track started the crowd had a different idea for a way to mosh and create chaos. I remember during "Boss" there was a gaping pit containing probably close to a 50 yard radius. No matter how you feel about Pump, he has the youth in the palm of his hands.
Slightly Memorable: Surprise Meek Mill set
What was hyped up as the moment of the weekend or in DJ Khaled's words, "a moment in history," turned out to be just memorable enough for a shoutout. To create some back story that I'm sure you all know, Philadelphia artist, Meek Mill was imprisoned for 5 months for popping a wheelie on a motor bike which in turned violated his parole. Meek got out in April and this was perfect timing for him to do a gigantic set in front of only hip-hop fans. He opened with "On the Regular" and went into "I'm a Boss" and even brought out Tory Lanez for their smash "Litty" off Dreamchasers 4. The most memorable moment of the set was when Meek played his classic "Dreams and Nightmares" which got the crowd real riled up. Even still though, considering the magnitude of Meek's set the crowd did not reciprocate the energy enough, yet it was still a moment I will definitely remember.
Best Visuals/ Sadly Missed Insanity: Travis Scott
It was clear that the most valued set of the weekend for the Rolling Loud team and the fans was Travis Scott. Slated for a 10pm slot at the main stage, Travis did not go on until just past 11:30pm. You can just picture Travis now, "I'm not going on that stage til it's "f***in ready." He finally came out and opened up with a new smash off of his upcoming album Astroworld, which seems to be titled "Stargazing." That was one of my favorite moments of the weekend because I love hearing unreleased music early and Travis caught me by surprise on that one. Right after he screamed, "I didn't fly to Miami to come here and have you guys watch. Left side open it up. Right side open it up!" You knew he meant business as the Houston rapper/producer played "Mamacita", "Skyfall", "Upper Echelon" and he brought Quavo out for Huncho Jack which I am extremely upset about missing. Due to stadium logistics, there is no public transportation near Hard Rock so we had to miss bits and pieces of all the headliners to get an efficient ride home which was unfortunate. Travis and Quavo played the hits "Go", "Dubai "S**t" and "Huncho Jack" and Travis also let a fan sing "3500" with him.
Weirdest feels: Ski Mask the Slump God reuniting with XXXtentacion
All the rappers from Florida had insane sets considering it was their home turf. One of which that fit the description was Ski's 5pm set at High Hemp. He played new songs of Beware the Book of Eli including "DoIhavetheSause" and "Geekin" as well as older hits like "JustLikeMyPiss" and his most popular "Catch Me Outside." The best song of the set was when he brought XXX out for "Take a Step Back" which caused complete chaos in the crowd and my friends and I made it from the back of the crowd to the thick of the mosh pits in a matter of seconds. Ski has said in past interviews that he doesn't like to perform live and it made sense because XXX was running around talking to the fans asking what they wanted for him to play. Then, toward the end of the set XXX ran over to Ski and said "Hey, negro...with the durag, come over here. I love you bro." Ski then reciprocated the sentiment making for weird feels as they hugged and the set ended.
MOST HUMOROUS: Action Bronson
This was probably the set I enjoyed the most all weekend. Action is a damn comedian. He played old songs off the Blue Chips series and hits like "Baby Blue", "Easy Rider" and "Actin Crazy." He was rapping the whole time bar for bar with no backtrack which showed signs of a true emcee. During the set Bronson screamed at the fans with a series of one liners, "You are staring at 299 pounds of pure beef in the flesh, pure grass-fed beef" and "We in Miami. We 50,000 Dominicans deep, what you gonna do about it?!" The last comedic line I vividly remember from Action was when he told us, "I just landed a 10 hour flight from France and I'm tripping balls right now" as he stared into the sunset as if he was looking for Jesus. Oh, and he was giving himself a haircut throughout the entire set. A legend to say the least.
Most Epic : Post Malone in torrential downpour
Austin Richard Posts aka Post Malone took the High Hemp Stage as one of the last headliners around 8:30pm. It had been heavily raining for over three hours but Post took it upon himself to deliver an amazing set to the crowd full of drenched millenials. He opened up with "Too Young" and ran through his old album Stoney as well as the new hits "Psycho" and "Rich and Sad." During his set he played some acoustic guitar which ended up getting smashed at the end of the set in a rockstar fashion. In a festival where the artists didn't talk too much with the crowd, Posty kept acknowledging how crazy everyone is for staying in the downpour and enjoying the festival. Some of the best energy of the weekend was definitely during his set proving why Post is on top of the Billboard charts right now.
What felt most at home: Rick Ross
Coming out rocking a D-Wade jersey, Rozay opened up with "Hustlin" which got the Miami crowd going as the 305-bred emcee was at home in style. The crowd rooted the home team on as Ross played "Diced Pineapples", "Stay Schemin", "Aston Martin Music" and even the Lil Wayne assisted "Chopper in the Car" and Jay-Z assisted "FuckwithmeyouknowIgotit." The rain was in full effect by the time Ross got on but it didn't matter as I remember feeling most comfortable with the Miami hopeful singing along to Rozay's boss lyrics. After some worry about Ross' health for some fans, I would think it's safe to say that the slender Ricky Ross is definitely back and better than ever.