.Rolling Loud Festival Comes to Shoreline

A new breed of underground South Florida rappers has gained mainstream traction while the region also serves as a springboard for a hip-hop festival with global aspirations.
After three years of hosting capacity crowds in Miami, the Rolling Loud festival expands to the Bay Area this weekend, and plans are in the works to take the festival to Europe and Asia. The Bay Area show pairs a handful of established headliners, including Lil Wayne,  Schoolboy Q and Travis Scott, with a collection of artists that represent the bleeding edge of modern hip-hop.
The event marks the first large-scale recurring hip-hop festival to hit the Bay Area since the unapologetically nostalgic Rock The Bells festival ended on its 10th anniversary in 2013. Bucking the ’90s revival trend that has filled venues throughout the year, more than 50 artists performing on two stages at Rolling Loud have more in common with an XXL Magazine Freshman 15 cover than BET’s Hip Hop Honors.
“We pride ourselves on having our eyes on talent at an early stage and balancing that with big headliners,” says festival co-founder Tariq Cherif. “We believe we are helping to push the genre by doing that. It’s a beautiful blend when you have an act that has 3,000 fans, and their energy becomes contagious for the other 30,000 people at the festival.”
Local hip-hop fans will recognize Vallejo-bred Nef The Pharaoh, who toured extensively at large venues with G-Eazy last year and continues to bubble with his latest release, The Chang Project. Emerging Vallejo crew SOB x RBE, Rexx Life Raj, Philthy Rich and Marty Grimes will also rep the Bay Area throughout the weekend.
“On the festival front, the Bay Area isn’t really catered to, and we saw a void there,” Cherif says about the decision to bring Rolling Loud to Mountain View for its first expansion. “We know hip-hop is alive and well in the bay, and there are also some great acts coming out of the Bay Area right now.” The festival continues to L.A. in December before planned events in the U.K., China and Japan next year.
Beyond the Bay Area, the lineup offers a fresh look at the fragmented hip-hop landscape, in which many of the latest rising stars earn their stripes on SoundCloud and cultivate massive followings on social media before crossing over into more mainstream lanes.
Festival performers Lil Pump, Smoke Purp, Kodak Black and XXXTentacion, a nihilistic bunch from South Florida, are among the latest SoundCloud artists to leverage their audience to attract major label interest. Tracking the success of his single “Gucci Gang,” 17-year-old Lil Pump was named by Billboard the top emerging act in the U.S. this month. Meanwhile, XXXTentacion has transitioned from a cult regional favorite to one of the most controversial acts on the pop charts.
Shortly after XXXTentacion’s album 17 peaked at No. 2 on Billboard’s Top 200 chart, graphic details were revealed about alleged domestic abuse charges, including aggravated battery of a pregnant woman, domestic abuse by strangulation and false imprisonment. His Mountain View appearance is his only scheduled performance before his trial is set to start Dec. 11.
Faced with a public conversation about the music industry’s role in enabling artists who are allegedly violent against women—Kodak Black is also facing allegations—Cherif says it’s a serious topic, but ultimately it’s up to the legal system to first determine innocence or guilt.
“I’m very aware of the reality that is domestic abuse in America and we do not condone it,” Cherif says. “However, we believe that the courts exist for a reason and anybody accused of anything is innocent until proven guilty. In the event that XXXTentacion or Kodak Black are proven guilty in the court of law, we won’t book them again. As of right now, we’re gonna let the courts do their thing.”
Rolling Loud
Oct 21-22, $199+
Shoreline Amphitheatre, Mountain View


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