Rolling Loud made its Canadian debut from September 9 – 11 at Ontario Place. The festival showcased over 85 hip-hop acts across three stages; the Uber Stage, the BET99NET Stage, and the Moose Knuckles Stage. This made for an unforgettable weekend for any hip-hop fan. ADDICTED was lucky enough to be in attendance for all three days of the festival this year. Check out our pre-coverage – which explains all the details of the festival – here! Check out our main coverage below!
Rolling Loud Day 1
On the first day of the festival, ADDICTED was able to catch Roy Wood$, Destroy Lonely, Central Cee, A Boogie wit da Hoodie, Rae Sremmurd, and Dave.
Roy Wood$ (Uber Stage)
Canadian singer, rapper, songwriter, and OVO Sound signee Roy Wood$ performed a lively set of trappy R&B songs that hyped up the crowd. It was nice seeing homegrown Canadian talent on the biggest stage of the festival. The highlight of his set was his performance of his breakout hit and biggest song Drama which features Drake.
Destroy Lonely (Moose Knuckles Stage)
Playboi Carti’s Opium record label frontrunner Destroy Lonely energized the Moose Knuckles Stage audience with his playful lyrics – spoken with a hypnotic lilt – over airy synths and euphoric beats. Lonely creates energetic music that prompts dancing and moshpits. This made for perfect hip-hop festival music.
Central Cee (BET99NET Stage)
British rapper and songwriter Central Cee – who recently went viral for his hit song Doja – entertained the audience with a set of records from all of his projects. His powerful flow over hard-hitting drill beats made for a very enjoyable live music experience.
A Boogie wit da Hoodie (Uber Stage)
American rapper, singer, and songwriter A Boogie wit da Hoodie enlightened the Uber Stage audience with his Bronx melodies. A Boogie had arguably the most notable intro out of any Rolling Loud Toronto artist as he came out to Remember the Time by Michael Jackson which then seamlessly transitioned into his own song Look Back at It. This led to live renditions of fan favourite songs such as My Shit and Swervin that had the audience on their toes for the entirety of his set.
Rae Sremmurd (BET99NET Stage)
American hip-hop duo Rae Sremmurd – comprised of brothers Slim Jxmmi and Swae Lee headlined the BET99NET Stage. Witnessing the musical synergy and chemistry of the two brothers firsthand was surreal. The pair have a catalogue of hit songs – including No Type and Black Beatles – which the audience sang along to word-for-word.
Dave (Uber Stage)
British rapper, musician, singer, songwriter, record producer, and actor Dave headlined the Uber Stage on the first day of the festival. On top of treating the audience to live renditions of hits such as Location and Wanna Know, Dave made a genuine effort to connect with the audience. He paused between songs to converse with the audience and affirm his love for Toronto and, most notably, he brought an audience member on-stage to rap his breakout hit Thiago Silva with him. This all made for a very memorable set and was a great way to end off the first day of the festival.
Rolling Loud Day 2
On the second day of the festival, ADDICTED was able to catch Lancey Foux, Pressa, Lil Yachty, Roddy Ricch, Don Toliver, Skepta, Trippie Redd, and Future.
Lancey Foux (Moose Knuckles Stage)
British rapper, singer, songwriter, record producer, and model Lancey Foux is a rising talent with a very exciting stage presence. Lancey’s hypnotic melodic delivery put the Moose Knuckles Stage audience in a trance-like movement for the entirety of his set.
Pressa (Uber Stage)
Canadian rapper and singer Pressa is another homegrown talent who rocked the Uber Stage audience. Pressa is known for his utilization of his high-pitched voice over bass-heavy trap beats. This makes for unique, fresh hip-hop music that sounds amazing live. The highlight of his set was his live renditions of hits Canada Goose and Novacane.
Lil Yachty (BET99NET Stage)
American rapper and singer Lil Yachty is known for creating his own lane of hip-hop music. Apple Music explains, “Yachty represents a turn away from the conventional metrics of rap, favouring slogans over bars, hooks over metaphors, fluidity over structure, and vibe above all.” All of this translates to a feel-good sound which is perfect for a festival audience that consists of individuals who are there to have a good time. Accordingly, a set full of hits such as One Night and Broccoli had the audience happily vibing along for the entirety of his set.
Roddy Ricch (Uber Stage)
American rapper, singer, and songwriter Roddy Ricch has cemented his presence in the music industry with his melodic trap music which is full of infectiously catchy hooks. Ricch delivered a very impressive set of music that was filled with on-stage alterations. For instance, his live versions of High Fashion and late at night sounded different enough from his studio recordings to provide fans with a new experience. This made for a memorable and meaningful festival performance.
Don Toliver (BET99NET Stage)
Travis Scott’s Cactus Jack record label frontrunner Don Toliver is known for his warbling crooning and slick hooks over radiant beats. Over the years he has become a star in his own right, gaining mainstream recognition from songs such as Lemonade and After Party. These hits sounded amazing live – being elevated by (1) his on-stage theatrics (pyrotechnics and lighting) and (2) the enthused BET99NET Stage Audience who sang along to these songs word-for-word.
Skepta (Uber Stage)
British-Nigerian grime MC, rapper, and record producer Skepta is one of the most instrumental figures in UK hip-hop. His influence on the genre is undeniable, and therefore, it only felt right seeing him perform hits such as Praise The Lord and Greaze Mode on the Uber Stage.
Trippie Redd (BET99NET Stage)
American rapper and singer Trippie Redd headlined the BET99NET Stage on the second day of the festival. Redd makes melodic hip-hop music that incorporates elements of emo-influenced trap and contemporary R&B. On stage, this translates to exciting harmonies which sound even better with a festival-calibre audience singing along.
Future (Uber Stage)
American rapper, singer, and songwriter, Future headlined the Uber Stage on the second day of the festival. Future has developed one of the most distinguishable sounds in hip-hop – relying on gritty auto-tune heavy vocals over raw hard-hitting beats. Being in the industry since 2005, Future curated a setlist of some of the best songs from his extensive discography. This appeased the audience full of Future fans and proved to be a strong conclusion to the second day of the festival.
Rolling Loud Day 3
On the third day of the festival, ADDICTED was able to catch Killy, Sheck Wes, Ski Mask the Slump God, Nav, and Wizkid.
Killy (Moose Knuckles Stage)
Filipino-Canadian rapper Killy rocked the Moose Knuckles Stage audience with his auto-tuned melodies and mesmerizing hooks. Being one of the most unique-sounding acts coming out of Toronto, Killy was able to entertain the audience with distinctive hits such as No Sad No Bad and Killamonjaro.
Sheck Wes (Uber Stage)
Another promising act from Travis Scott’s Cactus Jack record label, American rapper Sheck Wes rose to fame from the success of his 2017 song Mo Bamba. Mo Bamba, being known as one of the best live hip-hop songs, was enough to make Wes’s set memorable. On top of this, hearing energetic bangers such as Gang Gang and No Bystanders made Wes’s set one of the best sets at Rolling Loud.
Ski Mask the Slump God (BET99NET Stage)
American rapper and songwriter Ski Mask the Slump God is known for his rapid-fire flows and intricate bars which make for fast-paced high-energy hip-hop music. He delivered a set of his own hits and covered several songs by his late friends XXXTentacion and Juice WRLD. As the death of both these musicians heavily impacted Ski Mask, it was nice to see how he continued to make an effort to honour their legacy. The audience received his set very well as Ski Mask fans tend to be XXXTentacion and Juice WRLD fans as well.
Nav (Uber Stage)
Canadian rapper, singer, songwriter, and record producer Nav was the biggest Canadian act to perform at Rolling Loud Toronto. Becoming a seasoned hit-maker over the years, Nav was able to entertain the Uber Stage audience with hits such as Wanted You and Myself. Furthermore, Nav performed songs from his latest album – which was released on September 9 – that the audience was already familiar with. This was a testament to how big Nav has gotten over the years. Accordingly, the Uber Stage audience loved his set.
Wizkid (Uber Stage)
Nigerian singer and songwriter Wizkid headlined the Uber Stage on the final day of the festival. Wizkid closed off the festival with his signature catchy and mesmerizing afrobeat sound. He was the perfect closer to the festival as he made use of fireworks and an on-stage band which made his performance stand out from the rest. Hearing hits such as Soco and Come Closer – with his aforementioned live theatrics – was an unforgettable experience.
Rolling Loud Toronto also had several activations on-site which provided fans with interesting things to do in between performances. The most notable activations were (1) Loud Cuts – a top-of-the-line barber shop which offered free haircuts in the BET99NET Stage VIP section; (2) Bunny’s Bae Bar – a beauty bar created by Bunny Zingler which offered free hair and beauty treatments in Uber Stage VIP; (3) Loud Cereal Bar – a retro diner which served Rolling Loud cereal in GA by the Uber Stage; and (4) Tattoo Shop – a shop of tattoo artists from Toronto’s Black Moon Tattoo and Black Cloud Tattoo which offered free flash tattoos in BET99NET Stage VIP.
Rolling Loud Toronto lived up to the hype of the hip-hop spectacle it was expected to be. While the last-minute cancellations of Lil Uzi Vert, Migos, Lil Tecca, and Fivio Foreign disappointed some fans, unpredicted circumstances and situations are to be expected at such a large event. The festival ultimately brought several homegrown and international hip-hop acts into one place and gave hip-hop fans a very memorable end to the summer.
*Header photo by Amrin Prasad / @amrinprasad