Rolling Loud made its long-awaited return to New York City on Thursday (Oct. 28) for the second annual festival at Citifield. Ticket-holders were treated to a healthy load of performances by Polo G, Moneybagg Yo, 42 Dugg and more, but the highlights of Day 1 went to three artists who were looking to make a statement.
Louisville native Jack Harlow got things started by keeping the massive afternoon crowd in the palm of his hands with effortless performances of “Rendezvous” and “Creme.” However, the vibe was turned into a frenzy when Harlow did an encore performance of “Industry Baby,” his No. 1 collaborative effort with Lil Nas X.
As the song kept playing, fans were caught entirely off guard when the “Montero” rapper burst onto the stage wearing a white puffer jacket and ripped black pants. He blazed through his verse and chorus before handing the spotlight back to Harlow to close out the set.
Lil Uzi Vert kicked the evening portion of the festival off by treating fans to an early listen of his highly anticipated project, The Pink Tape, at the DeLeon stage. Fans lost their mind at the sound of Uzi chanting the name of his next project on the chorus to one of the three new songs he performed on the chilly New York night.
Fans barely got a chance to gather themselves after Uzi apologized for interrupting the original schedule and dove into well-known hits such as “POP,” “XO TOUR Llif3″ and “Do What I Want.” There was nothing for Uzi to jump off this time to charge himself up as he did in 2017 and 2018, but the rabid New York crowd kept his energy up with all the mosh pits opening up in general admission and VIP.
Lil Durk was absent from the Audiomack stage, which led fans to believe organizers canceled his set. But New York hip-hop legend 50 Cent took matters into his own hands over at DeLeon with an exhilarating performance that included some unexpected guests.
50 ran through a variety of hits such as “Many Men,” “Hate It or Love It, and “P.I.M.P.” before handing things off to his special guests, starting with The Bronx superstar A Boogie wit da Hoodie.
A Boogie battled through sound difficulties and a fan throwing a bottle to give the best show he could, but the crowd was more attuned to A$AP Rocky’s explosive entrance to “LPFJ2.” The A$AP Mob leader pulled up with a grey comforter that put his quilt blanket from the 2021 Met Gala to shame.
Things got more intense when DaBaby’s “Masterpiece” crept through the speakers at DeLeon stage at Citifield. The “canceled” rap star returned to Rolling Loud four months after his controversial homophobic rant at the Miami edition and hit the festival-goers with a fiery three-song set.
“People surprised to see the muthaf—ing ‘Live Show Killa’ out here. The n-gga you thought you weren’t going to see on stage anymore. You see what I’m talking about,” DaBaby said defiantly before going into the d.a. got that dope-produced single.
The first day of Rolling Loud NYC had its fair share of moments, and the bar has been set high for J. Cole, Playboi Carti, Travis Scott and more to close out their respective nights this weekend at Citifield. Stay tuned for more on Billboard’s coverage of the festival.