By Kristina Dixon
EXPOSITION PARK — The world’s largest hip-hop festival, known as Rolling Loud, came to the heart of South Los Angeles, Dec. 14-15 bringing music lovers to Banc of California Stadium. The two-day outdoor festival was presented by Audiomack and hosted some of the biggest names in hip-hop.
A-list artists such as Cardi B, Post Malone, Lil’ Wayne, Wiz Khalifa and Nipsey Hussle performed on the Audiomack Stage and Zen Stage.
The festival was sold out with more than 50,000 in attendance. Despite the amount of people, everything was well organized and highly secured with the assistance of the Los Angeles Police Department and CSC Security.
The festival catered to the MTV-era generation. Think 1980s babies, 90s kids who were birthed from Woodstock parents. Rappers are the new rock stars and hip-hop is the new rock and roll.
The festival encouraged the youth to express themselves through music, fashion and art. There were mosh pits, many performers yelling to the sea of people “Open up the pit!”
Whether you were in the nosebleeds or the ear bleeds, you could feel the excitement and energy of youngsters and millennials needing an outlet to release.
New genres were introduced. Emo rap, trap, pop punk and alternative hip-hop are new sounds that are catching on and being experimented with.
The Christmas spirit of generosity was also encouraged. Popular Los Angeles rap group Shoreline Mafia, urban radio station Power 106 FM and locally based Paradigm Talent Agency held a toy drive for East L.A. Rising, a local nonprofit organization empowering underprivileged children with food, supplies and education.
Also, Schools On Wheels provided tutoring and education to children without a permanent home. Festival-goers dropped off new and unwrapped toys at the donation tent.
Rolling Loud co-founder Tariq Cherif said, “With an estimated 50,000 people attending, we have a great opportunity to positively impact the local community. The two organizations we’re working with couldn’t be more deserving as they both cater to underserved Angelenos. It’s a beautiful thing when business can be an agent of positive change.”
With nearly 100 acts packed into less than 48 hours, many acts were Northern and Southern California natives. Sacramento-born Mozzy and South L.A. natives JAG, Reason and Ty Dolla $ign were just a few of the local fan favorites to grace the stages.
Rolling Loud festivals have a symbolic and mutual relationship with their host cities, contributing top-notch entertainment and revenue into the local economy.
L.A. native and self-proclaimed hip-hop head, Keisha Tarver said, “I came to Rolling Loud for the eclectic mix of artists. There was something there for everyone, no matter your taste in music. I also came because it was so close to home. There was no reason not to go, unlike other festivals in the middle of nowhere.”
Respects were paid to the late 20-year-old rapper XXX Tentacion, (Jahseh Dwayne Ricardo Onfroy), who was murdered in June. Many artists took a moment to celebrate his life by playing his hit single “SAD!”, which addresses mental health awareness. And fans posed for pictures in front of an art mural dedicated to him.
Ski masks, face tattoos, colored hair, punk rock metal chains and belts were some of the popular fashion looks. The weather was just as moody and trippy as the music. The first day was cold and the second day was hot.
The moment that stole the show was when Saturday night headliner Cardi B. was interrupted during her performance by her husband Offset of the hit group Migos. Despite the interruption, Cardi B continued to perform her chart-topping hits with smoke and fireworks to light up the night.
The festival’s next stop is Australia, Jan. 27. Tickets are already sold out, with 20,000 tickets sold within 38 minutes.