While the future of Rolling Loud was an uncertain one just a few weeks ago, the first day of the the premier hip-hop festival proved to be a success. Rap fans and others alike descended upon glitzy downtown Miami for a day filled with hip-hop’s rising stars and cultural icons. Even the humid, hazy weather couldn’t deter fans from seeing their favorite artists, especially Friday night’s (May 5) headliners, Lil Wayne and A$AP Rocky.
Taking to the stage around 10:20 p.m., Rocky opened his set with a literal bang as fire exploded into the air around him. “Lord Pretty Flacko Jodye” projecting through the speakers, the crowd erupted into an uproar as the Harlem wunderkind rapped the equivocal “Who’s the jiggy n—- with the gold links?”
Shortly after injecting the crowd with his lively energy, the A$AP frontman took to the mic to share a nugget of advice: “F— your cameras, f— social media. It’s all about here tonight.”
While the rapper’s message of self-awareness was overlooked, the crowd embraced the ambient vibes as Rocky switched gears going into his 2015 banger “L$D.” The stage fittingly displayed hues of red, purple and blue as fans became an element of the ultimate trip.
“I got love for a lot for artists,” Rocky proclaimed as he took to the mic to interact with the crowd. “But f— everybody sets. It’s about this set tonight.”
And, undoubtedly that seemed to be the case as the rapper turned fashion icon welcomed A$AP Mob (sans Ferg), Flatbush Zombies, Lil Yachty and XXXtentacion to join him on stage.
A few yards away, fans anticipated the arrival of one of rap’s most prolific figures ? none other than Lil Wayne. Backed by a live acoustic band, Weezy took to the stage shortly after 11 p.m., donning a Gucci hoodie and his staple wayfarer shades. Kicking things off with the 2008 hit “Mr. Carter,” the crowd’s excitement was magnified as the signature drum line projected through the speakers overhead and neon lights illuminated the stage.
“Before I get started,” Wayne told the crowd as he took a moment to enjoy his herbal remedy, “I have to let you know that I haven’t got started.”
The Young Money crooner then went into an epic medley of all his hits to date. From “Got Money” and “John” to notable features like “Believe Me” and “HYFR,” Wayne took fans on a musical journey of his coveted discography.
Reaching the halfway mark of his performance, the Louisiana lyricist grew a bit nostalgic as he tapped into his roots as Cash Money’s youngest frontman. “This portion of the show is for the real Lil Wayne fans,” he told the crowd as the 2004 banger “Go DJ” played overhead.
The 808-heavy Mannie Fresh production sent fans into a frenzy as nostalgia surged throughout the lively crowd of more than 1,000 people. Following up the classic single with Juvenile’s “Back That Azz Up,” Weezy’s performance transformed into a full on Cash Money Records video as women reached for their knees, arched their backs and gave way to the bounce track.
Slowing things down a bit, Wayne took to the mic once again to address the current political climate and gush about his son, Cameron. Much like his father, the 7-year-old is well aware that “times are tough” and saw to it that he write a letter to Trump about the repealing of Obamacare, to which the crowd laughed and applauded.
With his set time winding down, Wayne got right back into his lively performance with the cult classic “A Milli.” In true Weezy fashion, the 34-year-old removed his designer threads and flaunted his toned physique as he effortlessly riddled off onslaught bars. Under his command, the crowd followed suit and “Motherf—er, I’m ill” could be heard from miles away.
Smiling from ear to ear, Wayne closed out his set with a victory lap as he performed the 2013 chart-topper “No Worries.” With fireworks illuminating the sky, the mixtape king turned rap phenom thanked fans for their endless support and proclaimed “It’s the Roc”, solidifying his GOAT status as of one of the greatest lyricists of our time.