Five local rappers from New York City were cut from the Rolling Loud lineup last weekend because of pressure from the New York Police Department.
According to Complex, the Assistant Chief Martin Morales of Queens North said that rappers Casanova, Sheff G, Don Q, 22Gz, and Pop Smoke were “affiliated with acts of violence citywide.” Rolling Loud co-founder Tariq Cherif said that Morales’ letter from the NYPD was a mere suggestion to cancel the performances, however, if the fest wants to return to the city, they have “no choice but to comply.”
The local artists were not happy with the decision; Sheff G told Complex that he was disappointed to be dropped from the bill because he’s been earning a living as a musician and “my music represents my past and how I’ve been changing my life for the better.” Additionally, 22Gz noted that he wasn’t convicted of any charges and has “steered clear of any trouble since then.”
“I just wanna live,”Casanova wrote on Instagram following his set’s cancellation. “My last felony conviction was 2007. I lost everything I ever loved and I’m still losing. It’s unfair and unfortunate that my past, which I’ve dealt with legally and personally, continues to stigmatize me and my career as a recording artist.”
This issue may go beyond Rolling Loud. The NYPD reportedly has an inner “Rap Unit” that focuses strictly on designated levels of violence at rap shows, the New York Post reported earlier this year. A spokesperson told the Post that the unit focuses on entertainers in the music industry that have been connected with violence in the past “regardless of musical genre.”
While they had only suggested that the artists do not perform at Rolling Loud, Complex noted that Pop Smoke’s show at Sony Hall and Casanova’s stop at S.O.B. in Manhattan have been postponed. Sources told the publication that the shows were cancelled because of NYPD’s letter.
Rolling Loud went on to include performances this past weekend from acts like Travis Scott, Megan Thee Stallion, Tyga, Meek Mill, and Wu-Tang Clan.