Rolling Loud has established itself as one of the elite hip-hop festivals as it blossoms from its not-so-humble beginnings in Miami to 2017 being the first year it expands from South Beach. The festival boasts a robust lineup at every outing, ranging from rising stars to chart-toppers. Lil Peep was supposed to be on the Southern California lineup, but passed away last month from a suspected drug overdose. There will be a tribute to the genre-bending artist on Sunday. Otherwise, the festival enlists some of the West Coast’s hottest rappers, some of the most energetic performers in the game and some powerful lyricists who are worth checking out. Rolling Loud hits Southern California December 16-17 at the NOS Events Center in San Bernardino with three stages of action. Here are the 10 must-see performances of the weekend.
10. Zoey Dollaz
Zoey Dollaz is here to bring Miami to the West. The very talented MC is a member of Future’s Freebandz label and has learned lesson upon lesson from his mentor. He showcased that on his “M’ap Boule” EP and a performance at the Miami festival earlier this year. The project featured Future himself and the crowd is sure to know “Post and Delete” featuring Chris Brown. Catch his set Saturday on the Dab Stage.
9. Nef The Pharaoh
While Rolling Loud’s Miami festival boasts a mostly East Coast lineup, it’s evident organizers made the effort to bring the Left Coast to their SoCal event. Nef The Pharaoh is one of the rising stars of the Bay Area and has captivated the likes of E-40 and Drake. The young MC got some solid performance experience by touring with G-Eazy last year and will take the Dab Stage Sunday to share renditions of his hyphy tracks, including “Big Tymin’” and “Bling Blaow.”
8. Dave East
Dave East will bring Harlem to the Golden State on Sunday night, closing out the Sauce Stage. While he’s known as Nas’ protege, the rapper has made a solid name for himself with his tight lyricism and braggadocios attitude. Expect East to perform cuts from his “Kairi Chanel” project and this year’s “Paranoia” release, including the Chris Brown-assisted “Perfect.” Guys, be careful bringing your lady to this set.
Duckwrth is paving his own lane with his unique blend of rap, punk and soul. Groovy cuts like “Get Uugly” will have the crowd vibing while tracks like “I’m Dead” inspire a more energized reaction. The Los Angeles artist is all about self-acceptance and the crowd will feel a sense of self-awareness after his early set Sunday on the Loud Stage.
Buddy comes from a long lineage of Compton rappers, but is paving his own lane with a unique blend of melodies and ethereal production. When he takes the Sauce Stage Saturday, expect to hear some cuts from his “Magnolia” EP, which dropped this fall and featured fellow Cali artist Boogie (the one who raps “Oh My,” not Buddy). “Find Me” and “Shine” are also fan favorites.
Mr. LA will be in the building Saturday to bring the hometown flavor. His “Mr. LA” album was full of bops featuring production from the top hitmakers, including Mike WiLL Made-It and of course, DJ Mustard. RJ and Mustard just dropped “The Ghetto,” which gives some new material to try out live. While fans might not recognize too many of RJ’s current songs, they will get excited when the 2015 hit “Get Rich” drops at the Sauce Stage.
The headliner for Sunday’s show, Future also closed out Rolling Loud in Miami this spring. The Atlanta Super Trapper wowed the music world this year by releasing two albums full of hits back-to-back, including of course the four-times platinum “Mask Off.” Definitely expect Future to play that while also rattling off his classic cuts “Karate Chop,” “Chosen One,” “Commas” and “Where Ya At.” Future’s charisma and acrobatic dancers make for a show that is worth the wait.
3. ScHoolboy Q
ScHoolboy Q will be headlining Saturday after an electric set at Rolling Loud Bay Area. The LA native hasn’t released music in more than a year, but hits from his “Blank Face LP” are still as relevant as when they came out. Q always gets the crowd hyped with “THat Part,” “Collard Greens” and “Man of the Year.” At the Bay Area festival, Q brought out fellow TDE member Isaiah Rashad, who is not on the bill for the SoCal event, but perhaps he has another special surprise up Groovy Q’s sleeve.
IDK (also known as Jay IDK) is the hidden gem that all music aficionados will know sooner or later. The DMV native now calls Los Angeles home and has the backing of Mike Dean and Adult Swim. His latest project, “I Was Very Bad,” tells his personal story growing up and acting out and then wrestling with the death of his mother. On Saturday, banging production will make it irresistible to jump around, especially during the fiery “17 with a 38” or the pulsating “Pizza Shop.” IDK has shown up to performances, including Rolling Loud Miami, wearing a Ronald Reagan mask for a few songs before taking it off to reveal his true identity. There’s always something in store at an IDK set, so be sure to stop by the Sauce Stage.
1.Lil Uzi Vert
Lil Uzi Vert has been making festival headlines for a few years now. He went viral at the inaugural Day N Night Festival in 2016 for running through the crowd and hurdling a trash can to escape crazed fans. Earlier this year, the internet went crazy over his daring leap from the sound booth at Miami’s Rolling Loud. While lyricism is not the highlight here, the Philadelphia star’s energy makes for a show you don’t want to miss. Catch “XO Tour Llif3,” “Money Longer” and more as he closes the Dab Stage Saturday.