MUSIC

Rolling Loud Proves Once Again Why It’s The Best Hip Hop Festival With L.A. Installment

Within its five year lifespan, Rolling Loud has turned itself into the most coveted Hip Hop festival that this generation has seen.

Not only do its lineups feature just about every rapper you can think of, they’ve also figured out how to maximize festival-goers’ enjoyment without making any sacrifices.

This year’s L.A. edition boasted much of the same and featured some memorable moments.

Held throughout the grounds of Banc of California Stadium, this year’s installment featured headliners such as Future, Lil Uzi Vert and A$AP Rocky, while the West Coast was heavily represented with acts like YG, Mozzy, Dom Kennedy and Ohgeesy.

Juice WRLD Honored With Tribute Set

In light of the unfortunate passing of Juice WLRD on December 8, the bill also included a tribute set to the Death Race For Love rapper.

Led by Juice’s DJ Mike P, the tribute included a flurry of the most popular Juice WRLD tracks and short performances from A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie and G Herbo, both who have released tracks with the fallen rapper.

YBN Cordae and DJ Scheme also popped out to say some words about Juice.

“Today, we use the ‘brother’ word too loosely but that’s the only word I can describe my brother Juice WRLD,” said Cordae to the crowd. “He was a brother, a counselor, a healer to everybody in the crowd. I can really feel his energy in the air tonight.”

Most notably, Juice’s girlfriend Ally Lotti broke her silence since his death and added on to the emotional speeches.

“I just wanted to come out here and let everyone know that Jarad loved every single person that he helped on this earth,” said Lotti. “He literally loved every single one of you guys. There is not a time when he had shown me any different love then he felt for you.”

Juice had originally been tapped to perform at the two-day event and was a common presence on previous Rolling Loud lineups.

Organized Chaos

For most, Rolling Loud is a place for people to rage without a care. Whether it’s violent mosh pits or simply just rocking to whatever rapper is performing, there’s no telling what might happen.

But for Rolling Loud, the organization and setup helped tame the chaos without toning any of that craziness down.

One of the best ideas that I’ve only seen at Rolling Loud was how they regulated the flow of traffic going in and out of stages. To minimize foot traffic, security guards blocked off entrances once a performance finished up to allow attendees to exit. Once a good chunk of those leaving have vacated the area, they then would allow others to enter in preparation for the next set.

With tens of thousands of people trying to see the same acts, the shoulder-to-shoulder problem that’s often present at festivals is unavoidable. But kudos to the organizers and security for somewhat alleviating that pain with this method.

West Coast In The House

When curating its lineup, Rolling Loud always takes into account the location of the festival.

For example, if you’re holding a festival in New York, it makes total sense to include East Coast acts like Flatbush Zombies or Joey Bada$$.

And with the location being in California, festival planners hit it right on the head with acts like YG, Mozzy, Dom Kennedy, Blueface, P-Lo, Ohgeesy— too many more to name.

YG had a hilarious moment during his set, where he brought a fan up on stage to yell out his favorite phrase.

And to induce more chaos, YG told concertgoers to hop the fence and rush the stage. Just check out some of the chaos below.

Besides YG, another West Coast native in Dom Kennedy also closed out day one at the Zen stage, located inside Banc of California.

He performed hits like “When I Come Around” and “After School,” while also paying homage to his good friend Nipsey Hussle with “Checc Me Out” and “Pleeze.”

Northern California was well-represented as well with P-Lo and Mozzy, both bringing electrifying performances and injecting SoCal with that NorCal swagger.

Venue Setup

One of the most important parts of a festival is how its set up. Having stages located way too far from each other can cause lots of angry attendees who embark on unexpected missions.

Rolling Loud did a great job of separating each stage (Zen, High Hemp and Verizon) far enough to avoid contrasting sounds while minimizing the distance from each.

In all honesty, it was only a pain to get from Verizon to Zen, but for good reasons. As mentioned earlier, security regulated a good chunk of foot traffic by not only closing off entrances and exits but only allowing people to enter Zen through the back of the stadium.

And according to multiple overheard conversations, it seemed like the biggest blunder of the setup was the fact that the VIP section for the main stage wasn’t as VIP as it sounded. It was located beyond the crowd and to the side. Knowing Rolling Loud’s experience in setting up these festivals, there was probably a reason for that, but one that we’re not really sure about at this point. Additionally, there wasn’t even a VIP area at Zen or Verizon.

Overall, Rolling Loud in L.A. made great use of the venue, somehow packing three giant stages inside and out of Banc of California Stadium. They just need to somehow figure out a way to improve the VIP section.

Stage Production

Over the five years that I’ve watched Rolling Loud’s media team go to work on its social pages, another thing I noticed is how amazing the stages are.

Making effective use of fog smoke and pyro, each stage also had great lighting accompanied by multiple high quality LCD screens for visuals, whether it be graphics from the artists’ production team or live footage from the cameramen.

One of my favorite things to see at Rolling Loud is when flames get spat into the air and fire off in sync with the beat of songs that were being performed. That really enhanced everybody’s experience, turning up the rage ten times more than it would be without it.

A unique Rolling Loud signature is how the stage protrudes into the crowd, giving performers a chance to go into the madness without actually getting into it. (Unless they crowd surf, of course.) It gives fans a different experience than what a traditional stage could offer.

To finish off both nights, fireworks were set off at the Verizon and High Hemp stages to give sort of an EDC/euphoric feel, a great photo opportunity for festival-goers to post to Instagram and make their friends jealous they didn’t go.

And The Verdict Is…

Rolling Loud is hands down the best Hip Hop festival out there. From the crazy stage production and the most prestigious lineups, to the handling of large crowds and herb-friendly/”oblivious” security, Rolling Loud has the blue print to generate massive events that will be talked about for a long time.

One way to put it: if you have Chief Keef and Ski Mask The Slump God performing on your “smaller stage,” you’re doing something absolutely right.

And of course, there might be other festival planners that can try and compete, but they can only replicate what Rolling Loud has developed over the past five years as its only gotten better with each time.

With Rolling Loud having festivals in New York, Miami, Los Angeles, Oakland and even overseas in Asia and soon-to-be Europe, it’s literally taking over the world, one region at a time.

Check out some of our best shots from this weekend below, shot by myself, @visualsnipe on Instagram/Twitter.