Rolling Loud is an extremely long three-day weekend. But the lines, the delayed set times, a weather advisory, and several false shootings did not stop ragers from arriving at the festival grounds to get their money’s worth for day three. Because the festival is known for surprise guests and features, staying home was not an option when DMX, Kid Cudi, Denzel Curry, and Wiz Khalifa were on the bill. Here are the ones who gave noteworthy performances the last day of Florida's biggest hip-hop spectacle.
Denzel Curry. Sunday’s late-afternoon rain delay and subsequent updated set times sent festivalgoers to Denzel Curry instead of DMX, and though it was a bummer to miss "X Gon’ Give It to Ya," Curry more than made up for the swap with a pummeling, energetic show. He came out of the gate with “Ultimate,” a full-on power move that grabbed the crowd’s attention and immediately set the tone for his main-stage set. Not long after, he paused for a moment and told the crowd, “Don’t worry — this shit’s about to be extraordinary,” before being joined onstage by a full marching band. The band accompanied him for two songs, but even a full horn section couldn’t go toe-to-toe with the energy of the hometown rapper. The South Florida native, barely pausing to catch his breath, bounced around and ran all over the stage during the course of his roughly 35-minute set. He knew the times had changed unexpectedly and much of the crowd hadn’t planned to attend his set, so he made sure they knew there wasn’t a more exhilarating place to be at that moment. — James Biagiotti
Kevin Gates. After watching Kevin Gates’ performance at Rolling Loud, I can say with conviction he's the sloth of the rap world. Before you start typing out hate mail, that’s not a knock on the Louisiana rapper. Sloths are dope. The comparison works because Gates was calm, assured, methodical, and didn’t move around very much. In spite of this lackadaisical stage presence, which would likely be received as boring if exhibited by other rappers, Gates came across as thoroughly confident. Over the course of his set, he projected an air of superiority yet somehow eschewed the accompanying air of condescension. In an unexpected twist, after scorching through the hits “Really Really” and “2 Phones,” Gates took a moment out of his set to pray for the fans who came to see him and wish them a safe journey home. He said he offers that prayer at every show, describing it as “simple and gangster,” which doubles as a fitting summary of both his performance and his persona. — James Biagiotti
Kid Cudi. Kid Cudi’s Sunday-night headlining set, which closed out the 2019 festival, was one of the few big shows of the weekend to go off without a hitch. Yes, he took the stage a full hour late, but that’s just par for the course at Rolling Loud. Cudi delivered the same strange, otherworldly set he used at Coachella last month, which transformed the Loud stage into what appeared to be alien terrain. Along with many solo hits, Cudi broke out material from Kids See Ghosts, his recent joint project with longtime collaborator Kanye West, and even included a performance of Kanye’s “Father Stretch My Hands, Pt. 1.” Though Cudi may seem like an outlier in the 2019 Rolling Loud lineup, he proved to be an inspired choice to close out the weekend. After an extremely long and exhausting three days, he ended the fest with positivity, nostalgia, and vibes that were laid-back in comparison to most of the weekend’s acts. It was a welcome departure from the status quo, and the perfect last set before leaving Rolling Loud 2019 in the rearview mirror. — James Biagiotti
Megan Thee Stallion. It's hard not to love Megan Thee Stallion. She oozes confidence, makes songs about being a freak, and gives her fans what they want to see by twerking on Instagram Live. At Rolling Loud, she brought the twerking during her performance. She took the stage with a handful of dancers wearing matching camouflage two-pieces — real hot-girl shit, she would tell you. “Where my big ol’ freaks at?” Megan asked into the mike as she performed her hit single. To show their respect, the girls in the crowd responded by twerking on the nearest guy. Rolling Loud has a history of booking more women every year, and Megan Thee Stallion took advantage by making her first festival performance a hot one. — Cristina Jerome
Lil Uzi Vert. In January, at the age of 24 and the beginning of his career, Lil Uzi Vert told fans he was retiring from making music. After dealing with management and label issues, Uzi found it difficult to continue to put out music. His last studio album, Luv Is Rage 2, was all fans had to cling to until Rolling Loud did one for the culture by pulling Uzi out of retirement for a headlining set. He took the stage an hour late, wearing a colorful long-sleeved shirt and pants set, clean white sneakers, and a white purse to match. He ran up and down the stage while holding his purse to his single “Sauce Is Rage.” He stopped to acknowledge the crowd before hopping into "444," a high-energy track.”Rolling Loud, put your fours up,” Uzi said into the mike. Before continuing his set, he put his purse down to rage with the crowd. While blazing through fan favorites such as “Do What I Want” and “New Patek,” he revealed that he had finished the final song to his new album, bringing him out of retirement. — Cristina Jerome
Gucci Mane. You know Gucci Mane is coming to the stage when his trademark ad-lib “It’s Gucci” is played 11 times back-to-back by his DJ. Gucci has graced the Rolling Loud stage several times before, but fans proceeded to lose their shit when the god of trap walked onto the Audiomack stage. Shirtless and wearing diamonds that glistened under the stage lights, he came prepared to deliver the word of trap. Gucci gave fans what they wanted. He ran through his greatest hits, including “Freaky Gurl,” “Lemonade,” “I Don’t Love Her,” “Both,” and “I Think I Love Her.” It truly isn’t a Gucci Mane show without his wife, model Keyshia Ka'Oir. “I think I need to bring my wife out here,” he said over the mike. She took the stage wearing an aqua-blue tank top, biker shorts, and matching blue hair, and the crowd was instantly reminded what a bad bitch looks like. She hyped him up through a few songs as Gucci continued to keep trap music alive. — Cristina Jerome
Keep Miami New Times Free... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Miami with no paywalls.