05. Rolling Loud
MVP Headliner: King Kendrick reigns supreme at the apex of Rolling Loud, carrying all the cache and power of To Pimp a Butterfly even this far removed from its release. His viscerally personal and socially important messages have never felt as essential as they do today, which gives his spot here that much more weight.
Best Gets: While having stars like Future and Lil Wayne around doesn’t hurt, everyone right now is talking about Migos. The “Bad and Boujee” trio aren’t exactly unknown in the festival circuit, but their recent spike in attention will surely garner a larger crowd in hot anticipation of that tune. When you’ve got the buzz like they do (and considering their massive hooks and charisma, that blush is unlikely to fade anytime soon), a fascinating, powerful set is sure to follow.
Added Value: The Rolling Loud organizers did a great job nabbing both established crossover stars (everybody knows enough Wayne and Future to sell tickets) and millennial favorites like Lil Yachty, Lil Uzi Vert, and Kodak Black. Snapchat and Instagram are going to be blowing up that weekend.
Can’t-Miss Rookies: Up-and-comers from scenes around the continent pepper this lineup, sure to give attendees a taste of a bunch of different hip-hop flavors. Chicago’s Mick Jenkins and Toronto’s Jazz Cartier are standouts in that respect, but this one has some serious variety in the rookie department.
Final Thoughts: All ma ladies put your hands up! Oh … hang on … wait. Where did everybody go? There is one female performer on this lineup (plus, reportedly a DJ set from adult film star Uma Jolie). And with no disrespect (only massive praise) meant to Polly A, that’s just disappointing. Kehlani, Kamaiyah, Noname, Jamila Woods … there’s a deep talent pool from which to draw, and this lineup fails that entirely. There has been a palpable hole in the festival market for a best-in-class rap-centric offering, and this year Rolling Loud stepped up to fill that gap. It just would’ve been nice to see it do so with more female representation, especially in a genre often dogged with accusations of misogyny.