The 305's music scene is blowing up. But it's not just about Winter Music Conference and Ultra Music Festival. And it's not just about dance music.
"Why is Ultra the only show in Miami with multiple stages, and it's all EDM?" asks Tariq Cherif, cofounder of Dope Entertainment. "Why don't we have that for hip-hop?"
Come Saturday, February 28, we may no longer be able to ask that question, because these local promoters are turning up the volume with Rolling Loud, an all-day rap festival at Soho Studios, featuring performances from Schoolboy Q, Juicy J, A$AP Ferg, Action Bronson, and 28 others.
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The idea has been years in the making. Since 2010, Dope Entertainment has focused its efforts on bringing "dope rappers," Cherif says, to Miami while also taking time to nurture the talent that exists in our own streets.
"The Miami scene is huge in my eyes, and somehow, it's still slept on. There's the obvious Rick Ross and that crew that's been doing their thing. They get the mainstream recognition, but the fact is that a lot of these underground guys that we're booking -- like Denzel Curry, Pouya, Yung Simmie -- these guys can really sell tickets. They have real fanbases and can sell out venues across the country."
For the Dope boys, Rolling Loud is a chance to make a lot of noise, bring in talent from across the country, and shine an even brighter light on Miami.
"We wanted to put together a lineup that would appeal to these fans," Cherif says. "Fans of what you might call 'dope.'"
Headlined by the Grammy-nominated Schoolboy Q, the fest's roster reads like a who's who of 2015 hip-hop favorites, representing hot crews from TDE to Taylor Gang, Odd Future, Jet Life, GOOD Music, A$AP Mob, and more.
"We really wanted to appeal to the underground, because, fuck mainstream," the Dope cofounder explains. "We pride ourselves on being tastemakers and being ahead of the curve."
To complement the music, Dope Entertainment will also bring in vendors and local artists for food stalls, alcohol bars, merch booths, live-painting shows, and all the usual stuff that goes along with all-day rap festivals.
"The way I see it, there really isn't competition for the type of show we're doing in Miami," Cherif boasts. "It's my opinion that the EDM market in South Florida is saturated, and I think the hip-hop market has a demand. If you build the right type of show, some people who have that type of music on their phones who haven't been coming out to our shows because it's only one artist will come out, because there's four artists they like on the lineup."
And if all goes well, Rolling Loud will be the new annual destination for Miami's real rap fanatics, possibly even becoming a touring brand.
"This is the first step in the growth of Dope Entertainment," he insists. "We don't like to see ourselves as a local promoter. We're a real company that does real numbers, and we're looking to take this little thing of ours and blow it up, to succeed with Rolling Loud in Miami and bring it to other markets."
For now, though, it's time to focus on the present.
"We really appreciate the support Miami has given us so far, and we just hope people keep supporting us," Cherif says. "If they do, we'll keep on doing these crazy ideas that nobody thinks make sense."
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Rolling Loud Music Festival. With Schoolboy Q, Juicy J, A$AP Ferg, Action Bronson, and others. Saturday, February 28. Soho Studios, 2136 NW First Ave., Miami. Gates open at 1 p.m., and tickets cost $60 to $100 plus fees via ticketweb.com. All ages. Visit rollingloud.com.
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