The Ten Best Acts at Rolling Loud 2017

Kendrick Lamar
Kendrick Lamar
Courtesy of Interscope

It’s been a long, strange trip for Dope Entertainment’s Rolling Loud, which begins Friday in Bayfront Park. The rambunctious weekend-long music festival born at Soho Studios in Wynwood in 2015 has since mutated into the most highly anticipated hip-hop event in the state, and quite possibly the nation. Within the past three years, Rolling Loud has invited major talent to perform, including Future, Young Thug, ScHoolboy Q, and Action Bronson. This year, the lineup is a who's who of the biggest names in rap, including Kendrick Lamar and Lil Wayne.

The list of performers runs deep, but several names stand out among the rest. These are the must-see acts of Rolling Loud 2017, from the fest's repeat offenders to newbies.

The Ten Best Acts at Rolling Loud 2017
Photo by Bryan Allen Lamb

1. Mick Jenkins

This year is expected to be major for Mick Jenkins. The Chicago rapper plans to follow his debut album, The Healing Component, with two new projects slated to be released this year. Jenkins recently fueled the hype for those projects by dropping two new songs, “Margarine” and “Pressed for Time (Crossed My Mind),” ahead of his Rolling Loud debut. When he hits the stage, the Wave[s] lyricist will undoubtedly show Miami where he came from by performing every crowd favorite he's released, from his debut mixtape The Mickstape to The Heating Component.

The Ten Best Acts at Rolling Loud 2017
Photo by Stian Roenning

2. Denzel Curry

It’s about time Denzel Curry returned home to show the crib some love. The Carol City native spent most of 2017 traveling the world to perform at clubs and festivals such as South by Southwest and, most recently, Coachella. Curry is no stranger to Rolling Loud, but his upcoming set will be his first performance in his hometown in nearly a year. He has released a few new songs this year, but his set would be even more interesting if the "ULT" rapper previewed something from his forthcoming album, Taboo.

3. XXXTentacion

Broward rapper XXXTentacion was released from jail only about a month ago, but he’s more than ready to take the stage. During his first postjail interview on 103.5 the Beat, the “Look at Me!” rapper made headlines when he called out Drake for jocking his flow on "KMT."  XXX might use the Rolling Loud stage to bring his beef with the More Life rapper to a head, especially if he disses Drake during his set. The Lauderhill native also has an opportunity to debut music from one of several projects he plans to drop this year.

The Ten Best Acts at Rolling Loud 2017
Ellington Hammond

4. Flatbush Zombies

After building a solid name for themselves for at least the past six years, the rappers of the Brooklyn-based Flatbush Zombies have really come out of their cold, hard shell and spread like wildfire since dropping their debut album, 3001: A Laced Odyssey, last spring. Meechy Darko, Zombie Juice, and Erick Arc Elliott (who's also their go-to producer) have spent the past year touring and performing in major cities across the nation. Last month, the three celebrated their debut LP by dropping the song "Babel" a few weeks ago; they also released “Still Palm Trees,” featuring Snoop Dogg. Though it would be dope to see them perform their latest records for the first time in Dade County, die-hard fans should be praying to hear songs from the group's early mixtapes, such as BetterOffDead and D.R.U.G.S. The true icing on the cake would be if they premiered their second collaboration with Uncle Snoop off his album Neva Left, dropping in May.

The Ten Best Acts at Rolling Loud 2017
Gari Askew II

5. Joey Bada$$

From performing at local shows with his Brooklyn-based crew Pro Era to dominating late-night TV stages all over the country, Joey Bada$$ has come a long way. The “Devastated” rapper dropped his politically charged sophomore LP, All-AmeriKKKan Bada$$, in March and has enticed fans via songs such as “For My People” and “Land of the Free.” When he invades Rolling Loud, he’ll likely have his go-to DJ Statik Selektah at his side. Expect Joey Bada$$ to unleash hard-core cuts from the new album, as well as past classics from projects such as B4.Da.$$ and Summer Knights. The crowd would really go wild if members of his Pro Era crew — like Nyck Caution, Kirk Knight, and Dessy Hinds — flew in to perform their collaborative joints.

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