THE CULTURE’S REVIEW
Recently coined the “Woodstock of Hip-Hop” by Diddy, we sent along some of the core of Melbourne’s culture: 66records, to experience Rolling Loud’s first-ever global expansion. Now, we’re giving you an insider’s look into what went down at one of the most promising showcases for our culture to date.
The heaving crowd, eagerly awaiting entry, created a crazy buzz outside the Sydney Showgrounds. With a lineup most Australian hip-hop fans couldn’t dream of five years ago, it’s not hard to work out why it took 2 hours to get in. Future, Tyga, Playboi Carti & more, plus sets from Sydney giant Manu Crooks and Melbourne WVS artist Sophiegrophy. Manu Crooks was scheduled in for a relatively early set time – he still, of course, drew a bouncing crowd and set the stage alight alongside two incredible backup dancers. Manu’s set full of energy relented only to pay tribute to Melbourne’s JJay De Melo, who tragically lost his life over the previous weekend – a tribute also included by Sophiegrophy during her set.
It’s exciting to think about Australian artists being represented on a global level next to a name like Rae Sremmurd, and it was their set which took the crowd out of Sydney Showgrounds, up to space & back again. It’s no surprise; the duo has been tearing up stages since 2009 – building the global phenomenon they’ve become in the last two years. Another worldwide industry heavyweight, Playboi Carti, brought tonnes of energy to fans pressed firmly against the barriers. After having two cancelled tours in the past, Australian fans needed this show. Atlanta-based artist Future only played a short stint of his last planned Australian performance at Listen Out as well, having to head home due to a tragic incident. Smokepurpp is another artist who was meant to tour earlier in 2018, but postponed, opting for his Rolling Loud appearance + sideshows on the 25th and 26th of January instead.
It’s a story all too familiar to Australian music fans, and even Rolling Loud wasn’t exempt from some lineup drama. After recent tabloid speculation that he is “done with music”, Lil Uzi Vert cancelled his appearance on the day of the festival. The same thing happened with Ski Mask The Slump God – two artists with huge fan bases in Australia. Replacing these two was Young Thug affiliate Gunna, as well as the crowd-pleasing Rae Sremmurd. A pretty good trade, though arguably those who bought tickets to see Lil Uzi Vert got the better deal – the unique sonics and flow that Ski Mask brings weren’t represented at all in the rest of the lineup. Still though, the fill-ins were hardly forgettable.
An artist who did play as planned, Tyga, last visited Australia at Jumanji Festival last year. YG recently came out for a tour as well. They’re both well seasoned in festivals and really brought their signature energy to their performances, setting the tone and crowd level perfectly for Future. This was the first time performing songs from his album Wizard, giving Australian fans a world-first experience. Controlling the vibe with confidence, he brought the evening’s live performances to a close with impeccable sauce, treating the festival like it was his very own show.
Members Only’s (XXXtentacion, Ski Mask The Slump God) DJ Scheme played his selection of fire records throughout the night. Marking a monumental moment in Australian hip-hop history, he invited The Kid Laroi on stage to perform. Having just been included in the lineup for Rolling Loud Miami alongside Manu Crooks, Scheme’s co-sign attaches onto a long list for The Kid Laroi.
Overall, Rolling Loud Australia was a truly wild experience. Our 66records correspondents tell us this was the best event they’d ever been to. That’s straight from the heart of the culture: this festival is what Australian hip-hop fans have been waiting for. It’s an incredible time to be a part of this movement and witness it grow in strength and size – with hip-hop’s complete dominance over the current global market, more and more international brands, outlets & showcases will look to what Australia has to offer the world stage. Rolling Loud Australia is a glimpse into the inevitable boom – it’s crazy to think where we will be when it comes back in a year.