From Kid Cudi vs. Lil Durk and Kanye West to Future and Travis Scott, Rolling Loud Miami 2022 was dominated by moments that made headlines.
The Miami weather was scorching hot all weekend. But that didn’t stop festivalgoers from pulling up to Rolling Loud Miami 2022. Crowds of thousands — estimates say close to 200,000 — of people poured into the area surrounding Hard Rock Stadium with the goal of staying hydrated and enjoying some of the biggest rap acts working today.
The Rolling Loud Miami complex spanned miles. And the branding was everywhere. Palm trees overlooked the merchandise tent that was consistently packed with fans trying to take home memorabilia. While in the Levi’s Rolling Loud tent, patrons waited in lines to buy custom-fitted denim that featured the festival’s logo. And you couldn’t walk anywhere without seeing the giant ferris wheel on the premises.
Nearly 100 artists performed across five stages. And the first day of the festival this was dominated with moments that made headlines. The first night, was supposed to feature Kanye West closing the show. However, a couple of days before Rolling Loud kicked off, Kanye West dropped out and replaced with frenemy Kid Cudi. This means that the audience was packed with Kanye fans, which would explain why fans started throwing items at Cudi during his performance. He only lasted a couple of moments before storming off of the stage.
Kid Cudi doesn’t deserve this. Smh. pic.twitter.com/J7izJHoZOm
— philip lewis (@Phil_Lewis_) July 23, 2022
Making matters more interesting, is that Lil Durk — who performed at the same time as Cudi — brought out Kanye West as a surprise guest. The rapper performed, you guessed it, the Kid Cudi-featured “Father Stretch My Hands Pt. 1.”
Kanye West just came out during Lil Durk's Rolling Loud set 👀pic.twitter.com/8NkEaa92US
— Kurrco (@Kurrco) July 23, 2022
Day two was less eventful, but still a blast. Hometown heroes City Girls were clad in glittery silver outfits as they proudly repped their city and performed their new hit “Good Love,” which features Usher. The song’s energetic vibe felt perfect for a lively crowd that joyfully yelled JT and Yung Miami’s names throughout their set. Elsewhere, Action Bronson showed off a chiseled physique during a Saturday night performance and reminded the audience that he’s now as brolic as his braggadocious bars.
Early in the evening, Lil Uzi Vert took the mainstage Saturday, rocking a a spiky hairstyle that evoked his status as a Black alternative pop star. And the night ended with Atlanta MC Future, who had attendees on Pluto with his kinetic energy and deep catalog of hits. From classic hits like “March Madness” to fan favorites like “Real Sisters,” the Dungeon Family descendant had the Rolling Loud crowd in an uproar.
In one of the biggest surprises of the weekend, the entire mainstage went pitch black during Future’s set. Bright gold letters spelled out “Cactus Jack” across each of the main stage’s screens. Travis Scott then came out onstage and the shift in energy was palpable. Almost every person in the crowd seemed to jump around and bounce simultaneously when Future and Travis Scott performed “Hold That Heat,” their collaboration with producer Southside.
The moment was so surprising because there were rumors that Travis couldn’t perform at the venue because of the Astroworld tragedy. (There were also rumors Kanye pulled out from Rolling Loud because they wouldn’t let him bring out Travis.)
Day three featured rappers like Lil Baby, Monaleo, Moneybagg Yo, and more. But the day was all about Kendrick Lamar. In the Miami stop for his Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers tour, Kendrick Lamar put on a show that affirmed his status as the greatest performing MC of our time. The Compton MC was surrounded by nearly 50 backup dancers in white hazmat suits as he performed songs from his latest album, starting with the uptempo “N95.”
Throughout his set, Kendrick’s lyrics on songs like “Count Me Out” addressed mental health, perseverance and self-care. Fans yelled out in pure elation as Kendrick brought out polarizing Pompano Beach native Kodak Black to perform “Silent Hill.” Kendrick completed his set with an assist from his younger cousin Baby Keem on the Grammy-winning song “Family Ties.”
This is the second Rolling Loud to hit Miami since COVID-19 delayed the festival in 2020. And for rap fans seeking an escape from years marred by a pandemic, mass shootings, and a shitty Supreme Court decision, Rolling Loud Miami allowed fans to embrace escapism. Even over a blazing hot weekend.
Michael Butler is a Panamanian writer from Augusta, Georgia and has written about culture for publications like Remezcla and Lonely Planet. When he isn’t eating ripe plantains, Michael is a fan of the Atlanta Hawks and reciting every line from The Five Heartbeats.