Expect The Unexpected: Rolling Loud Reigns Supreme Again

Rolling Loud California
Image via Rolling Loud / @ai.visuals_

When it comes to the most talked-about music festivals in hip-hop, Rolling Loud rises to the top of each conversation. For its first installment of 2024, the annual event made its anticipated return to Inglewood, Calif. last weekend (March 15-17) and left an indelible mark on the SoCal rap scene.

This year’s stacked bill for Rolling Loud California included performances by Nicki Minaj, Post Malone and Future x Metro Boomin. Plus, the RL team surprised festival-goers with a last-minute addition to the already hyped lineup, pulling Ty Dolla $ign from Saturday’s (March 16) undercard, and making him and Kanye West headliners for their newly added date — on Thursday (March 14). Admittedly, this was a ballsy move to make, especially when you consider the months of planning that goes into effect on both ends, for the festival itself and consumers. But when you’re viewed as “the world’s largest hip-hop festival,” you call the shots, even if your decisions aren’t ideal for the average person. (If it’s any consolation, Rolling Loud did offer free upgrades for ticket holders with 3-day passes.)

That Big Festival Energy is one of the many reasons why Rolling Loud is the go-to music festival in hip-hop these days. And with the franchise revealing dates for next year’s run at Hollywood Park, it’s only right that we recap the ooh’s & aah’s that made Rolling Loud California 2024 a feast for the eyes. Below are three standout moments from this year’s spectacle out West.

Kanye West Added To Rolling Loud California Lineup

Like I said before, Rolling Loud made a bold decision by removing Ty Dolla $ign from Saturday’s lineup. Fans were already wondering if Kanye West (now known as Ye) would make a surprise appearance at the fest since he recently joined forces with the aforementioned R&B singer — and frequent collaborator — to form their hip-hop supergroup, ¥$. When it was later revealed that Ye was indeed performing on the newly-added kick-off date (March 14) for the festival, fans felt mixed feelings about the news. Some cheered for a free Vultures performance while others griped about how inconsiderate this situation was on their pockets. Either way, the show must go on, and it at the highest level with guest appearances from Quavo, YG, Rich The Kid and Freddie Gibbs.

Rolling Loud California
Image via Rolling Loud / _@amrinprasad_

Special Guest Appearances

Rolling Loud is as consistent as it gets when it comes to surprises. Whether it’s last-minute cancellations (like how Natanael Cano, Junior H and Fuerza Regida were all pulled from the lineup) or random superstar sightings, you never know who or what to expect. For example, OJ da Juiceman popped out for Sukihana‘s set. Then, Don Toliver put in a bid for his own headlining performance after bringing out Ty Dolla $ign, Kodak Black and Travis Scott. YG professed his love for Saweetie in front of a sold-out crowd, and Tyga showed love to Inglewood native 310babii who performed his viral hit “Soak City (Do It).” Chief Keef brought out Mike WiLL Made-It and Sexyy Red during his set. Future x Metro Boomin closed out the festival Sunday night (March 17) with an electrifying performance that featured a medley on fan favorites (such as “Thought It Was A Drought,” “F*ck Up Some Commas” and “March Madness” among others) and appearances from Quavo, Don Toliver and Travis Scott.

Hip-Hop And R&B Unite

The first Rolling Loud event of 2024 played host to a wide-ranging collection of hip-hop acts. Outside of the headliners, the additional artists on the bill were just as impressive. It wasn’t solely rappers that captivated fans, rather, the festival featured several R&B notables who provided a comforting contrast to the atmosphere. With majority of the performances being rap-oriented, when artists like PartyNextDoor, Summer Walker and Bryson Tiller took the stage, their music subdued the crowd as they sung along word-for-word. Newcomers Jordan Ward and Ryan Trey held their own amongst the more established talent, too. Needless to say, the R&B hour at Rolling Loud added depth to the programming and that it always something to look forward to.

Despite the inevitable hiccups, Rolling Loud continues to set a new standard in the live music business. Every event features some of the biggest names in the game and presents an opportunity for up-and-coming acts to share those same stages. The latter is what intrigues me the most because this approach levels the playing field for artists who are trying to break ground in new markets.

I’m not saying that performing at Rolling Loud is a surefire way to get on in the music industry, but the annual festival has become a hotbed for artist discovery. Not to mention, festival-goers are treated to the full spectrum of the guest experience with the different on-site activations, rides, games and merch collaborations to go along with days filled with music.

About the Author

Derrius Edwards
Derrius is a music industry professional with experience in content strategy and editorial writing, sharing relevant and resonating stories as a conduit for hip-hop culture advancement.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.