This past weekend, Rolling Loud, the rap festival that regularly sets up shop in cities around the world, came to New York for the first time, taking over Citi Field in Queens for two days. There were complications. Shortly before the festival began, the NYPD requested that the festival organizers drop five New York street-rap stars — Casanova, Don Q, Pop Smoke, Sheff G, 22 Gz — from the bill, claiming that the performers “have been affiliated with recent acts of violence citywide.” The Rolling Loud organizers complied with the police request, removing all five acts from the bill, though festival co-founder Tariq Cherif tweeted, “I can’t speak on this much but I want everyone to know that we are still paying all of those artists full booking fees AND sending them offers for future Rolling Loud’s in other cities.” That’s a shitty development for the festival and for New York rap in general. But the festival still happened, and it still had a New York rapper as its headliner.
A$AP Rocky — a man who just got out of his own legal issues — headlined the second night of Rolling Loud, and he made an event out of it. Rocky’s show was full of guests: A$AP Ferg and the rest of the A$AP Mob, Rae Sremmurd’s Swae Lee, the Staten Island duo G4 Boyz. And near the end of his set, Rocky introduced 50 Cent, a New York rap star who has himself been banned from an area festival in the past.
With Rocky playing the enthusiastic hypeman, 50 performed the 2003 Get Rich Or Die Tryin’ intro track “What Up Gangsta,” the 2007 anthem “I Get Money,” and “Big Rich Town,” the 2014 track that currently serves as the intro music for 50’s hit Starz drama Power. Watch a couple of videos below.