Rolling Loud organizers deserve lion’s share of blame for Kid Cudi/ Kanye West fiasco Friday night

(July 24, 2022).  Rapper Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, trolled the Rolling Loud Miami Festival 2022 big time on Friday (July 22) at the city’s Hard Rock Stadium.  And that trolling came at fellow rapper Kid Cudi’s expense—and potentially his safety’s as well.

But don’t blame Ye for the fiasco that went down when Cudi was booed and harassed off the stage by some ignorant fans who threw trash—mainly water bottles—at the rapper as he replaced Ye in the headliner spot Friday night after the Donda rapper had pulled out of the festival less than a week earlier.  

Blame the organizers who allowed West to cancel his headline gig at the last minute and then allowed him to show up anyway—on a different stage next door—as a guest rapper during Lil Durk’s set moments later.   

Cudi, who was “welcomed” by organizers to replace the ever-unreliable and equally unpredictable Ye, was on the main stage performing when, after apparently being hit by a fan-lobbed water bottle, threatened to walk off the stage if another one was thrown.

“Yo, I will walk off this stage if y’all throw one more f—— thing up here,” he said. “I will leave right now.”

“You are ruining [it] for everybody,” he continued. “If I get hit with one more f—— thing, if I see one more f—— thing on this f—— stage I’m leaving.  Don’t f— with me.”

Just as he finished admonishing the crowd, another object was thrown right beside him. The rapper then walked off the stage, cutting his set short.  Fans were apparently cheering “Kanye! Kanye!” as Cudi exited stage-left.

Ye (formerly Kanye West) at Rolling Loud Miami on Friday, July 22, 2022

Minutes later, in an apparent dig at his former friend and collaborator, the God-fearing but vengeful Ye joined Lil Durk onstage and performed “Father Stretch My Hands Pt. 1,” which originally featured Cudi.  West also performed the currently charting—but surprisingly flopping—“Hot Shit,” his disjointed collaboration with Durk and Cardi B.

After Cudi cut his set short, which was the last performance of Day 1, the festival tweeted this fan-coddling message: “Rolling Loud is a family. Our fans, the artists, and everyone involved need to look out for each other. Share the love and be respectful to everyone. We love you, Cudi. Please take care of each other and let’s have an amazing day 2!”

Sorry, but “We love you, Cudi” doesn’t cut it. It’s not an apology and it absolves fans by implying that everybody, including Cudi, had a role to play in “looking out for each other” and making sure everyone behaved like adults. But it goes even deeper than that.

Earlier in the week when Ye pulled out unexpectedly, the festival’s cofounders Tariq Cherif and Matt Zingler said in a victim-like statement (reported by Pitchfork): “We spent months working with him and his team on the performance. Unfortunately, Ye has decided that he will no longer be performing.  This is the first time a headliner has ever pulled off our show and though we don’t take it lightly, we wish him the best.”

Nah, they took it lightly.

Not only did they allow West to show up anyway after he reneged on his headlining set, but they selected Cudi, an artist that is currently engaged in a high-profile beef with Ye, to replace him in the first place.  In today’s highly polarized Stan culture, where fans—especially hip-hop ones—pick sides in rappers’ beefs like their own lives have something riding on the outcome, Rolling Loud’s organizers had to know that they were pouring gasoline on a smoldering flame when they picked Cudi to fill in for Ye.

Kid Cudi (left) and Ye are former collaborators on the ‘Kids See Ghosts’ project from 2018

The very public Cudi-vs.-Ye feud heated up earlier this year after Ye announced that a Cudi collaboration would be excluded from his Donda 2 album because of the “Day ‘N’ Night” rapper’s friendship with former-SNL comedian Pete Davidson, who is dating Ye’s ex-wife Kim Kardashian.

After Ye announced Cudi’s removal from Donda 2, Cudi indicated that he would never be working with Ye again, referring to him as a “dinosaur.”  Apparently, Stans that had paid money expecting to see Kanye didn’t take lightly to that dig at their guy.

Then throw on top of that the fact that Ye had already pulled out of a major festival this year—the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival back in April with only a couple weeks notice—and you have more than enough reason to question the helpless sentiment of the Rolling Loud folks’ “circumstances outside of our control” statement as they announced Ye’s cancellation last week.  

“We look forward to welcoming Kid Cudi as a headliner in Miami and we can’t wait to see what he has in store,” they later stated after securing Ye’s fill-in.

After Cudi’s early exit, the organizers’ “everybody be nice” slap on the wrist message had to feel like the most unwelcoming doormat the rapper could have faced.  

Bottom line: Kid Cudi was not welcomed at all during Rolling Loud Miami.  Meanwhile, the guy that had jerked the festival’s chain days earlier, was allowed to troll the event, its organizers and the venue’s fans to perfection.

DJRob

DJRob (he/him/his) is a freelance music blogger from somewhere on the East Coast who covers R&B, hip-hop, pop and rock genres – plus lots of music news and current stuff!  You can follow him on Twitter at @djrobblog.

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