Rolling Loud Festival Skips New York Edition Amid Police Pressure and Logistical Issues

KEY TAKEAWAYS
The Rolling Loud festival has canceled its New York edition for 2023 due to "logistical factors beyond our control," highlighting its troubled history with the NYPD and its "Hip-Hop Police" Unit, which has removed artists from the lineup and arrested performers.
The cancellation has impacted local artists like Ron Suno, who has expressed disappointment at the loss of performance opportunities, and Nicole Racine, who highlights the lack of smaller shows in New York due to shutdowns, making it harder for artists to make money and leading some to end up in jail.
The cancellation also raises questions about the future of live music in New York, particularly for up-and-coming artists who struggle to find opportunities to perform, and the long-lasting effects on the city's music scene and the careers of local artists.
Despite the cancellation, Rolling Loud is still set to run events in five countries across four continents this year, showcasing its commitment to bringing the best hip-hop acts to fans all over the world.
Rolling Loud's global expansion highlights the festival's dedication to promoting hip-hop worldwide and its ability to draw crowds from diverse backgrounds who share a love for hip-hop music and culture.

 

The Rolling Loud festival, established in 2015, has canceled its New York edition for 2023 due to “logistical factors beyond our control,” according to an official statement.

The cancellation underscores the festival’s troubled history in the city, especially its recurrent conflicts with the New York Police Department (NYPD).

In the past, the NYPD has removed several artists from the festival lineup, citing safety concerns.

The department has also arrested performers, such as Fetty Wap, just before their sets.

NYPD’s “Hip-Hop Police” Unit

The NYPD has been operating an Enterprise Operations Unit, also known as the “Hip-Hop Police,” since at least 1999.

This unit surveils rappers and generates weekly reports on rap shows in the city, categorizing them as low, medium, or high risk based on their perception of the artists performing.

Former “Hip-Hop Cop” Derrick Parker explained that the NYPD views rap groups as criminal gangs and rappers as individuals with money and public influence.

This has led to the criminalization of rap, making it difficult for artists to get a fair chance.

Impact on Artists

Artists like Ron Suno, who was removed from last year’s lineup by the NYPD, have expressed disappointment at the cancellation, as they lose opportunities to perform for their local supporters.

Nicole Racine, founder of New York drill outlet Talk Of The Town, adds that the lack of smaller shows in New York due to shutdowns makes it harder for artists to make money, leading some to end up in jail.

This situation also erodes the in-person dynamic of fandom, making it less exciting for fans to see artists perform live.

Suno, who recently released his album, It’s My Time, mentioned that he rarely gets to perform in his native New York City because his shows “always get shut down.”

He has not yet had the opportunity to perform at Rolling Loud.

Former “Hip-Hop Cop” Derrick Parker explained that the NYPD views rap groups as criminal gangs and rappers as individuals with money and public influence.

Challenges for the Festival Scene

The cancellation of Rolling Loud New York is not an isolated incident, as other festivals have faced similar issues.

Last summer, Day N Vegas canceled its 2022 showcase, citing logistics, timing, and production issues.

Poor ticket sales were also reported to be a factor. TT Torrez, a vice president at New York rap radio station Hot 97, acknowledges the complexities of organizing large-scale events, especially in the current economic climate with rising inflation and increased risks.

The Future of Live Music in New York

Despite the cancellation of Rolling Loud’s New York edition, the festival’s co-founders have expressed their intention to return to the city when the time is right.

In the meantime, they have invited their New York fans to attend the flagship Miami festival, which is set to take place from July 21 to 23.

However, the situation raises questions about the future of live music in New York, particularly for up-and-coming artists who struggle to find opportunities to perform.

The cancellation of Rolling Loud and other events may have long-lasting effects on the city’s music scene and the careers of local artists.

Rolling Loud’s Expansion

Despite the cancellation of its New York edition, Rolling Loud is still set to run events in five countries across four continents this year.

The festival, which originated in Miami, has expanded to other cities and countries, showcasing its commitment to bringing the best hip-hop acts to fans all over the world.

Rolling Loud’s lineup has consistently featured a mix of established artists and rising talent, drawing crowds from diverse backgrounds who share a love for hip-hop music and culture.

Global Expansion

The Rolling Loud festival has successfully expanded to several international locations, including Portugal, Australia, and Hong Kong, in addition to its flagship event in Miami and other domestic events in California and Texas.

Each of these festivals has experienced varying degrees of success, but the overall growth of the brand highlights the festival’s dedication to promoting hip-hop globally.

Craig Miller

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