December 14th, 2018- Los Angeles, CA
When you attend Rolling Loud as a “VIP” you have certain privileges. It will give you a false sense of importance if you buy into it. Because the real truth is, your clout juice is shrinking with every second. You’re not that important, you’re not a superstar from Dallas named Austin, you’re not Dwayne Carter, you’re not Neighborhood Nip, nor are you Ty Dolla $ign. You’re temporarily Cinderella at the ball and the more time that passes the less your glass slipper fits, and the closer you are to turning back into a preverbal pumpkin. Today is the event my team and I have been waiting for all year, Rolling Loud Los Angeles. It was 11AM, the time I asked everyone to meet, and I was just finishing up my haircut in Lakewood and had to be back in the South Bay as soon as physically possible since Miguelito and Big $wift were already outside waiting for me. I also had yet to have select a Rolling Loud ‘fit, which was worrisome since it is the exact time and place to get a fit off, if there ever was one. I decided to drive about two miles further from my house to the 562 area’s crown jewel, the Cerritos mall. Although I typically despise malls and the things inside of it, I was desperate. I knew I could acquire a fit here, and I didn’t have much time. I ran inside Macy’s, the closest department store to the South Street entrance, because they usually have a large selection of Ralph Lauren there, and I fortunately found my fit within 5 minutes. This beautiful bright red Polo Ski 92 jacket with speckles of yellow, a dash of blue, a spritz of green and sprinkle of white, plus it fit like Cinderella’s glass slipper. This was the one.
I arrived to my house in the South Bay in 24 minutes by zooming down the 405 freeway. As I raced out of my car, I noticed my squad members were pre-gaming, burning a spritz of green themselves outside of my home. They threw back a few cold ones I had in the fridge, I drank an orange Redbull and we decided to take a Lyft to the venue in Downtown LA, and would meet the other 2 squad members Irene and Marcos (camera man) there. At about 1:15pm, we grabbed our passes from the box office, I had a press wristband, Marcos had a press wristband and a media pit band, the rest of the squad had General Admission bands. Marcos and I walked inside the venue via the staff entrance anxious, excited and eager the figure out the logistics of the venue.
My team and I had attended the last three Rolling Loud’s in Miami, The Bay Area and last year’s So-Cal edition in San Bernardino. What we learned from those is the faster you figure out the map, the entrances, the backstage area and shortcuts, the faster we can get in a comfortable rhythm and start aggregating quality content. First stop, the very easy to find Audiomack stage, front and center, running completely parallel to Figueroa, so large, loud and bright you could enjoy the show from across the street. We made our way backstage, behind the Audiomack stage, did a roundabout searching for the media pit when we were aggressively asked to exit the backstage area by some power-tripping security dopes. We didn’t feel like arguing with those fartknockers, we were just eager to learn the map and get to know the venue, so we complied. The next stop was the Zen stage, we walked through the newly built stadium admiring the architecture, and briefly stopped to interview a fan since he had a dope custom Rob Vicious shirt on.
We arrived at the Zen Stage, at 2pm on the dot and briefly got to watch Jag from South Central perform, he brought out D Savage, it was a solid performance. Again, we wandered backstage looking for the media pit area, as we thought we’d run into friends Cypress Moreno, 1TakeJay and AzChike as they were slated to perform next, when we were stopped again by more thick-headed security dopes. They asked us to move to VIP and get out of the backstage area; I protested saying Marcos had a media pit pass, which were the same credentials as the other media members in the pit capturing content. The biggest knuckle-dragging security guard standing at about 6’4 and way too many pounds came up to Marcos and I and aggressively snatched the camera out of Marcos hands, as I quickly got a hold of the camera’s strap, shouting at him, “what the fuck is going on?!”. He said we have the wrong wristbands on, alleging they were from an old event or counterfeit and proceeded to cut the bands off our wrists and telling us we were being escorted off the premises. I barked back at him, saying that we just got these bands from the box office and he needed to call down to the box office and let them know we were given incorrect credentials. He said he’s not contacting anyone because we didn’t belong there, which rapidly infuriated me and caused me to get in his face shouting, “If I don’t have the correct bands, it’s because someone made a mistake at the box office, but don’t you ever tell me I don’t belong here, I belong here!”. (I hate when people think they can intimidate you because they have been granted a smidgen of temporary authority, are taller than you and can stuff more burritos into their esophagus in one sitting than you; that’s one of my
fattest biggest pet-peeves.) I told him, I’ll see him again when I’m back inside, because I belong here. Marcos and I then proceeded to be removed from the festival via the emergency exit. Not even an hour into the event and we were already tossed out like pumpkins after Halloween.
If I had to describe my rage in terms of popular hip hop, I was equally as angry as Ray J was during his viral appearance on The Breakfast Club in 2011, when he threatened to let his booty goons loose on Fabolous, following an altercation the night before. Although, I was in a state of rage, instead of calling The Breakfast Club, going on a Twitter rant, or going on Instagram Live, I had one logical thought– call Michelle, the head of the Public Relations for the event. Luckily, she answered my call and I explained the situation to her as calmly as I could, she then said she’d meet me at the box office, get us our new wristbands and personally escort us back inside the festival to straighten this out. Michelle, is an angel and got Marcos and I back inside, straightened out the wristband run in. This whole process took about an hour and a half, as we got back inside the venue around 4pm. We missed 1TakeJay’s set, as well as AzChike’s, G Perico’s and others. We had interviews lined up with the aforementioned names, plus Shoreline Mafia and Reason, that were botched because of the time we spent trying to get back inside the venue. If the word disappointed had an angry, older brother, that’s the word I would use to describe my feelings at the moment.
We shrugged off the security snafu and focused on enjoying the rest of the festival and getting as much content as possible. We saw Tyla Yaweh give a phenomenal performance which included a marvelous moonwalk on stage during his Michael Jackson inspired track “She Bad”. Followed by Phora’s exciting performance which included bringing out Yung Pinch. Then we saw Roddy Ricch give an inspired performance in which he came out to Meek Mill’s “The Intro”, and performed his hits “Die Young”, “Every Season” and “Ricch Forever”. TDE newest signee, Carson’s own Reason gave an outstanding performance where he expressed how honored he was to be on this stage performing in his hometown, and proceeded to bring out some more hometown heroes to the Audiomack stage, Boogie and Ab-Soul.
We skipped a few performances, Marcos and I then went to Shoreline Mafia’s club suite and greeted the guys, as well as the gaggle of other homies that were chilling inside. We got Master Kato, RonRon, Ace The Face, and others to give us a quick shout out into the camera before it was time for the gang to perform. Unbeknownst to us, we had done too much vibing and missed Sheck Wes set. We exited the artist compound to meet Shoreline and Cypress at the stage. Shoreline Mafia proceeded to give a rim-rattling, slam dunk performance that included them firing off hit after hit, old cuts and new plus a surprise performance by Detroit’s dancing dynamo Sada Baby. Yes we got kicked out and missed out on tons of good content, but seeing Sada Baby perform “Bloxk Party” live was the universes form of repayment for the injustice committed against me earlier. Shoreline closed out their strong performance with their hit song “Bands” which was named #15 in “NY Times Best Songs of 2018”. We hurried to the Zen stage to try and witness Gunna and Lil Baby’s back to back performances, but by the time we got there we were so far from the stage we couldn’t see anything, and the rest of the squad couldn’t come to VIP with Marcos and I, we missed it. The last performance we were able to witness was the king of R&B, LA’s own Ty Dolla $ign who grew up minutes from the venue, and the rightful headliner in my eyes of night one. He played old cuts like “Paranoid” with Joe Moses joining him on stage, and newer songs like “Issa Vibe”, but his live band and vocals were so perfectly executed it was the performance of the night in my eyes. We also had a chance to check out Jocelyn Valencia’s “Rolling Loud Legacy” installation which featured photos of late hip hop figures such as Mac Miller, A$AP Yams, Pimp C and Lil Peep and notepad stickers where you could write a message to them and stick it on the wall near them.
Rolling Loud wasn’t quite over yet, but we decided to avoid letting our wristbands become pumpkins a midnight and opted to hit an after party a few miles away, looking to squash all the stress and sprinkle in some more fun. Ready to do it all over again tomorrow.