Rolling Loud Miami was hot, literally and figuratively. Temperatures peaked into the mid-90’s for three days straight as fans flocked to Hard Rock Stadium for the world’s largest hip-hop festival. Sweltering weather conditions melted ice faster than the amount of time it took to install Travis Scott‘s stage design, but the emergency water packs were flowing and the water refill stations were plentiful.
With hip-hop turning 50 this year and Rolling Loud celebrating its eighth run, there was a lot to account for in The Magic City last weekend. For starters, Playboi Carti affirmed his status as one of the greatest live performers generations greatest live performers. He closed out the show opening night (July 21) in rare form, spotlit by his signature style of emo-rap and arsenal of fan favorites such as “Shoota,” “Stop Breathing” and “Long Time (Intro)” to name a few. Carti’s solo guitarist added another dynamic to his set, creating a seamless transition between each song. However, the turning point in Friday’s festivities would have to be when the Hood’s Hottest Princess, a.k.a Sexyy Red, made her grand entrance. She strutted onstage donning a red ensemble, with two ski-masked men on a leash, and proceeded to perform like rent is due. Idk what “SkeeYee” means but that song had fans skeeyeeing like no tomorrow.
Saturday’s (July 22) standout performance goes to Travis Scott, obviously. The acclaimed rapper announced the release date of his anticipated fourth studio album, UTOPIA, at the end of his headlining set. It was hotter than the devil’s asshole as thousands of concertgoers moshed to “GOD’S COUNTRY,” but a little sweat is always good for the soul. Elsewhere, there was a rumor running around that Drake would pop out for 21 Savage‘s performance. After all, they are on the same tour. But the speculation was quickly put to rest as his 45-minute set went on without Aubrey. He did bring out G Herbo and Young Nudy, though.
Closing night (July 23) at the fest was capped by A$AP Rocky performing unreleased tracks off of his forthcoming album, Don’t Be Dumb. Whether he was taking shots at Travis or not, the A$AP Mob member threw more shade than any cloud in the forecast with a not-so-direct Rihanna reference, rapping, “First you stole my flow, so I stole yo bitch.”
My biggest takeaway from the 2023 installment of Rolling Loud Miami is that you never know who (or what) to expect. Lil Uzi Vert performed a cover to “Chop Suey!” by System of a Down like it was an interlude; Offset brought out Moneybagg Yo, and his wife, Cardi B; and Babytron brought out viral jewish rapper BLP Kosher.
Beyond the controversy and surprise guest appearances, there’s a long list of moments and memories that make RL worthwhile each and every time. There’s just something about Miami that hits different, albeit the heat hit harder this time around.