Music

First-Time Rolling Loud Acts Share What It’s Like Performing Post-Pandemic

As the saying goes, the show must go on and Rolling Loud Miami was a fully immersive experience of that exact colloquialism. The sweltering Miami heat, the intermittent heavy rain showers, sweaty bodies, and the Delta variant were not enough to stop over 100,000 attendees from descending upon the Miami Hard Rock Stadium for the chance to catch Travis Scott, Megan Thee Stallion, Jack Harlow, and Young Thug hit the Rolling Loud stage.

This was the first major festival catered to hip-hop fans since the quarantine, after all. This made for an interesting lineup with not only our usual Rolling Loud faves such as Future and Roddy Ricch, but it also included a lineup up-and-coming artists who blew up over the quarantine.

Uproxx spoke to some of these breakout acts after they got off stage and also a few festival vets to get a feel of what it’s like finally being able to perform at a festival again.

Rubi Rose

Before this Rolling Loud Miami, the only festivals 2021 XXL Freshman Rubi Rose found herself on were the abundance of virtual festivals that went on during the pandemic. Her breakout hit “Big Mouth” popped off in 2019, right before the quarantine — so she had a lot of practice before the real thing and it really showed in her high energy performance. “It felt so good to finally perform live at Rolling Loud,” she told us. “The nerves I felt before were sickening but as soon as I got on stage and felt the energy of the crowd, it was lit. It was turnt up. I felt so many feelings performing but really, I’m so happy I could cry. I just remember coming to Rolling Loud as a girlfriend backstage to now having my own set and having people scream the words to my song it’s crazy for me.”

Favorite song to perform: “Big Mouth” — “It’s the crowd’s favorite. I barely have to say the words and seeing people act crazy is lit for me.”

J.I. the Prince of NY

J.I. the Prince of NY is one of Uproxx’s favorites and touted as the next to blow. His song “Need Me” exploded back in 2019 and in between that time he made sure to flood DSPs with his EP’s Welcome To GStarr Vol. 1 and Hood Life Krisis, Vol. 3. “I didn’t expect ‘Need Me’ to pop off when it did,” the rising star told us. “I let the people decide that and this was my first Rolling Loud outside. I’m just happy to be here. When I did ‘Need Me’ they knew it. It was crazy. I was nervous at first because I hadn’t done a festival before. They ended up kicking me off stage because I went over my time.” Needless to say, being at Rolling Loud was a dream come true for J.I. “Growing up, I spoke this into existence.” Rolling Loud Miami was the Brooklyn native’s first time hitting a festival stage and his growing popularity will see him at Rolling Loud in New York and Los Angeles, among other festivals throughout the year.

Favorite song to perform: “Blame On Me” (or “Need Me”) — “There’s a certain part of that song when I do it, everybody goes crazy and starts screaming it. That’s one of my vulnerable songs where I spoke my pain. Everybody feels that record.”

Kenny Mason

So much talent comes out of Atlanta and that much is said for the genre-bending rock star Kenny Mason, who somehow perfectly blends the sounds of trap and rock together effortlessly. Looking at the Rolling Loud crowd during his performance, it was obviously hard for concertgoers to not headbang whether they had heard of him or not. His performances of “Chevron” and “Metal Wings” really got the crowd hype. “I was real, real anxious during the pandemic and wanting to perform so bad it feels so surreal to perform now. Knowing that people know these songs is the best feeling. It’s better than anything pleasurable you can think about. It was so turnt seeing them people know them words.”

Favorite song to perform: “Chevron” and “Metal Wings”

SSGKobe

SSGKobe is just a teenager who is getting ready to graduate but he is also a highly-streamed artist on Spotify between his songs “Calabasas” and “Thrax” boasting over a million monthly listeners. So of course, he had to grace the Rolling Loud stage with his presence. “It was very unexpected and the timing was crazy because of the whole COVID thing,” he said shortly after his performance. “My friends don’t believe it. My family is supportive so it’s all a big blessing. When I was performing it was early and people were still coming in but the people that were there, everybody was lit. I had everybody lit.”

Favorite song to perform: “Thrax”

Dess Dior

Dess Dior dropped her biggest tracks “Rich Bitch” and “No Hook” at the height of the quarantine and has slowly begun to make a name for herself with fresh tracks like “Don’t Play,” so it’s no surprise that she’d make her debut post-pandemic festival appearance at Rolling Loud Miami. “I truly believe that hard work pays off and I’ve been working super hard since I dropped my first single,” she told us. “To see the crowd’s reaction to my first performance ever, had me speechless when I walked off! As an artist we all worry ourselves to death so to me that means everything is aligned as it should be and all I have to do now is stay focused, continue to work and let God take control of everything up and coming.” Dess let us know she has a project on the way and promises that it will be “super heartfelt and full of surprises.”

Favorite song to perform: “Rich Bitch” or “Don’t Play”

TiaCorine

SCMG‘s own TiaCorine rightfully hit the Rolling Loud stage this year after making a splash with her trap-anime style of rapping and viral track “Latto,” which can be found on her 2020 project 34Corine. “Really I was kind of like, dang, the pandemic kind of messed me up because I was just rolling and I couldn’t perform. I couldn’t go anywhere. But, it kind of put me in a different space because I wasn’t really too familiar with getting on social media,” she said. “I got more comfortable getting on TikTok, going on live and posting more. It kind of helped me to push my brand online, which I wasn’t doing at first.” Tia is currently working on a secret EP with a producer whom she wouldn’t name, so look out for that in the near future.

Favorite song to perform: “Pancakes” — “I love seeing everyone turnt up to that because it turns me up.”

Some artists covered here are Warner Music artists. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.

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