San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

Loyal hip-hop fans come together in Los Angeles for 10th year of Rolling Loud

While this year’s lineup delivered memorable moments, the fashion and energy of the crowds dominated the festival
Katerina Portela
Fans take out their phones to capture moments of their favorite artists performing on stage at Rolling Loud

Rolling Loud left its mark on Inglewood, California last weekend with four days of explosive headlining performances, surprise guest appearances and eager fans. 

The three headlining performers — Nicki Minaj, Post Malone and Future with Metro Boomin — brought a unique vision to the Ethika main stage. 

On “Pink Friday,” Minaj took fans on a tour through the different eras of her career, playing hit songs like “Chun-Li,” “Super Bass” and “FTCU.” 

The “Barbz” pushed closer to see Minaj’s wardrobe changes, video interludes and elaborate set designs, including archways labeled with her different eras, such as “Barbie” and “Roman.” She even played “Starships,” a song that she publicly dismissed and stopped playing in recent years. 

Malone followed on Saturday with a sincere and memorable set. Malone has earned a reputation of being one of the nicest musicians in the industry, and it showed during his performance. He thanked the crowd after almost every song and gave a heartfelt speech encouraging

people to embrace who they are and love themself. 

The music spoke for itself, too, as Malone performed some of the biggest hip-hop crossover hits of the previous decade.

Post Malone took the stage to headline Rolling Loud on Saturday. His show was marked by kindness and a humble attitude, as he continuously thanked the crowd for supporting him between songs

While the stage design for his set was comparatively plain, Malone made up for it by running across the stage and even jumping into the crowd to greet fans as his 2023 hit song, “Chemical,” played. Whenever he took time for a breath or a sip out of his red solo cup, the crowd adoringly chanted his name. 

San Diego State University second-year student Layla Ng attended Rolling Loud for the second time this year and was most excited to see “Posty,” one of her favorite artists. 

“When he played ‘Better Now,’ it healed my soul,” Ng said. “I thought out of 10, it gave a 20… Literally every song I was singing and screaming my soul out. It was also a really good vibe because he had a great stage presence.”

Sunday night, Future and Metro Boomin concluded the weekend with an A-list group of surprise guests and teased three tracks from their upcoming album. 

Future’s cool and collected delivery was a perfect pair with Boomin’s immaculate production and pulsating bass notes. Then, there were the guest appearances. 

Don Toliver’s second appearance on stage opened the mosh pits, but Scott’s otherworldly performance of “F!EN,” played twice for good measure, sent the sea of fans into a frenzy.

For third-year SDSU student Kristen Waterford, her Rolling Loud experience exceeded her expectations. Compared to regular concerts, the hip-hop festival gave her an opportunity to meet new people and discover new artists. 

“I went to Greenfest before, so that was my first taste of what I thought Rolling Loud was going to be like, just dancing around the whole time. And it was everything I expected it to be,” Waterford said. “I expected it to be crowded and have a lot of people, but I also expected to have a lot of fun and be dancing and not have to think about life and troubles for a second.” 

While Minaj, Malone and Future commanded the stage and set social media ablaze, they weren’t the only memorable performances at Rolling Loud.

Summer Walker impressed fans with a sensual and elaborate performance, accompanied by a full band and glittering background dancers on the GoPuff stage on March 16, 2024 (Katerina Portela)

Before Nicki Minaj took the stage on “Pink Friday,” YG and Tyga came together for a unique set. YG rang in the collaborative set by himself, commemorating the upcoming 10-year anniversary of his career-making record, “My Krazy Life.” As he walked off stage, Tyga went on alongside a string of background dancers to play some of his biggest hits.

Eventually, the two reunited to “go banger-for-banger,” alternating tracks from each artists’ extensive discography. YG hyped up the right side of the stage, while Tyga took the left. 

Their set included a surprise appearance from rapper and SDSU alumna Saweetie, whose on-stage chemistry with YG left the crowd murmuring over whether the two may still be an item. 

This year’s Rolling Loud lineup was lauded for having an international focus with multiple Mexican regional artists, as well as featuring more prominent female musicians. 

Unfortunately, many of the Mexican artists, including Fuerza Regida and Junior H, dropped out before they were scheduled to perform. As for the female artists, they took the festival by storm with varied set designs and thoughtful performances. 

Flo Milli’s show bursted with personality as she bounced on stage with dancers in faux fur boots in front of colorful backdrops. Summer Walker followed with an intimate and sultry scene of lit candles and white silk drapes, paired with electric guitars and her emotional vocals. 

One of the most anticipated moments of the weekend was the presence of Kanye West and Ty Dolla $ign. The announcement in mid-February sparked excitement among surprised fans, and came only weeks after the release of the pair’s controversial album “Vultures 1.”

Masked and microphone-less, the group paced around a dome-like stage to a pre-recorded version of their collaborative project. Surprise guests included Quavo, Rich the Kid and Bump J. 

Kanye West and Ty Dolla $ign saunter on a circular stage to their new album, “Vultures” on March 14, 2024. Their set drew mixed reactions from the Rolling Loud crowd (Katerina Portela)

The highlight of the night was North West taking over the stage with an entourage of her friends. As the two stepped off the stage, the crowd was left with pre-recorded Kanye classics and abundant stage fog. 

Their set drew mixed reactions, with some attendees criticizing the lack of live vocals. Others were happy to hear the album on a massive sound system and see the artists in person. The crowd transformed the “listening party” with a manic energy that resulted in fans climbing the barriers surrounding the stage and colliding into each other in the mosh pits. 

Fans also mirrored rappers under the Opium label by dressing in all black and grunge aesthetics. The looks of Thursday night set the tone for the rest of the weekend by encouraging fans to dress up to show their unwavering support. 

Over the next three days, Minaj fans mobilized in all pink to emulate their inner Barbies and Kens, Malone’s performance inspired a western theme of cowboy boots and hats and Sunday night’s clothing reflected classic Los Angeles streetwear. 

Overall, the crowd was what defined the Rolling Loud experience. Whether it was cheering on their favorite artists on stage or creating fashion trends behind each headlining performance, the fans were the foundation that allowed each artist to thrive.

About the Contributors
Noah Lyons, '23-24 Opinion Editor
Noah Lyons (he/him) is a Journalism major and transfer student from Irvine, California. Ever since he was young, he loved to tell stories and dive deep into his favorite subjects — sports, music, current events, and film. He joined the Daily Aztec in 2022, and has since covered the Wonderfront and Rolling Loud music festivals, attended advanced movie screenings and interviewed several musicians. When he isn't doing homework until midnight or writing articles, you can expect to see Noah searching for the best California burritos that San Diego has to offer or walking around campus listening to Bleachers and Paramore.
Katerina Portela, Staff Writer
Serena Neumeyer, '23-24 Social Media Editor
Serena Neumeyer (she/her/hers) is an aspiring journalist major with a passion for writing and storytelling. She is a third-year working towards her Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and also has a minor in interdisciplinary studies as a part of the Weber Honors College program. Although she has begun to branch off to other sections, Serena found her start as a writer in the Arts & Culture section of the Daily Aztec and only recently began contributing to the live broadcast as a multimedia reporter. Outside of her studies, she loves attending concerts and music festivals, some of which have been the inspiration behind her writing. In the future, she hopes to enter the realm of broadcast someday and use the skills she’s learned here to prepare herself as a reporter in the field.