Founders Matt Zingler and Tariq Cherif brought their Rolling Loud music festival to the Banc of California Stadium Grounds and Exposition Park in south Los Angeles, California. The two-day festival started Friday, December 14th, 2018 and ended late into the night of Saturday, December 15th, 2018. The relatively cold LA temperature did not keep the sold-out crowd away. The crowd, primarily young fans, kept coming onto the stadium grounds all night, with many of them sprinting toward one of the two stages for a better view.
The musicians performed on two different stages (Audiomack and Zen) which were easy to navigate to and from for VIP guests. Set times and artists were displayed on a large screens and through social media to inform fans of their music choices. For fans with only general admission access, it was much more difficult to navigate through the crowds from one stage to another and retain a good position near the stage.
The lineup included Cardi B, Nipsey Hussle, Ab-Soul, Belly, Reason, Shorline Mafia, Lil Wayne, Post Malone, Wiz Khalifa, 21 Savage, Ty Dolla $ign, Juice WRLD, Lil Baby, Gunna, Trippie Redd, Sheck Wes, Ski Mask the Slump God, Smokepurpp, Seshollowwaterboys, Pnb Rock, Curren$y, Comethazine, Young Bans, Buddy, Fat Nick, Preme, Phora, Cousin Stizz, Roddy Rich, YNW Melly, Tobi Lou, Tyla Yaweh, G Perico, Jay Gwuapo, Young Thug, Kodak Black, Playboi Carti, Tyga, Lil Yachty, Rich the Kid, SOB X RBE, Lil Skies, Famous Dex, Saweetie, Pouya, WIFISFUNERAL, Young Pinch, Rico Nasty, Jazz Cartier, Rucci, and many others, including special guests. We focus our coverage on artists from southern California and two Latino artists.
Reason strutted onstage stylishly sporting a blue and yellow #17 Los Angeles Rams jersey with his name on the back. The lyrical Carson rapper performed in that West Coast style Los Angeles is known for. And the pyrotechnics onstage were the appropriate backdrop for the artist who has been bringing lyrical fire out of the West Coast. His controlled methodical flow did not hype the young crowd like other rappers he shared the stage with as that is not his style, but he did entertain. Reason brought out fellow Top Dawg Entertainment rappers Boogie and Ab-Soul. Ab-Soul complemented the performance with his smooth flow and Boogie brought the grit. Ab-Soul came out with his ever-present sunglasses covering his eyes despite the dark of the night. Cannabis was everywhere in all forms: blunts, joints, vape pens, and edibles.
Nipsey Hussle of Los Angeles continued the West Coast celebration dressed in a Tupac t-shirt. He rapped songs from his Grammy-nominated Victory Lap, including “Rap Niggas.” That song has that West Coast feel and Nipsey acknowledged as much before performing it, “We in the heart of LA!” He had Belly come onstage as a guest, along with Dom Kennedy of Leimert Park, Los Angeles, CA. Reason and Nipsey Hussle brought a West Coast vibe to their performances that out-of-town rappers could not. Though we focus on them, Rolling Loud should be applauded for the diversity of artists, both artistically and regionally, that they brought onto their two stages.
Shoreline Mafia is a rap group from southern California which includes Rob Vicious, Master Kato, Fenix Flexin, Ohgeesy of Mexican descent, and dozens others. Ohgeesy had the most memorable performance from the group. He dressed in a bright yellow hoodie and a Pittsburgh Pirates baseball cap. His pants were held up by a bright golden belt that he made sure to show off by lifting his hoodie; it matched the large gold pendant hanging from his neck. Fashion is central to hip hop, especially onstage. Master Kato rocked a black vest that resembled bulletproof ones over a yellow hoodie. They brought an energy that was not reciprocated by the entire Los Angeles crowd. But, a large number of their fans did try to hype the less energetic ones. Ohgeesy rapped the group’s breakout single “Musty” and several other songs many in the crowd were familiar with. The rapper’s explicit lyrics might shock some but not this crowd. They reveled at his words. Later, Ohgeesy brought his mother out to share the stage and celebrate his success. As he brought her in for a hug he rapped, “I'm finna get this money, give it right to my mama.”
Cardi B is arguably one of American music’s fastest rising stars and the Latino community should be proud to call the Dominican/ Trinidadian as one of their own. The rapper performed several of her biggest hits as the headliner of the festival and did it well despite production errors and a now infamous interruption by the rapper Offset. She even threatened to fire people mid performance because of production errors. Her “I Like It” has been played constantly on southern California airwaves and her energetic performance of it brought energy into the crowd. The young lady dressed in a red outfit highlighting her Latina curves and danced through her set in matching red high heels. She and her backup dancers outfitted in yellow glowed in the night. She ended with her performance of “Bodak Yellow” which had most of the crowd dancing and singing along while recording with their cell phones.
Rolling Loud brought economic opportunities to those in south Los Angeles who do what they must to get by. There were Hispanic vendors outside the festival selling bacon-wrapped hot dogs with grilled bell peppers and onions topped with mayo, ketchup, and mustard for five dollars. There were the neighbors selling parking spots at just about any location one could cram a car into for thirty, forty, and fifty dollars. The closer one got to Rolling Loud grounds, the harder it was to find a place to park, and the more the parking prices increased. There were vendors on the streets selling unofficial Rolling Loud t-shirts for ten dollars, cheaper in price and quality then the ones for sale in the official merchandise booth. Lyft and Uber drivers were parked everywhere waiting for their latest passenger trying to leave the festival. Overall, Los Angeles fans paid for a good show and the neighbors had to opportunity to earn some dollars.