How Rolling Loud Became The Biggest Hip-Hop Festival On Earth
By: Shirly Ju (@shirju)
With Rolling Loud taking over Los Angeles this weekend (December 14th and 15th), music-lovers, artists, executives and everyone in between is looking forward to the two-day festival taking over Banc of California Stadium near USC.
Created four years ago in Miami by Tariq Cherif and Matt Zingler, the world’s biggest hip-hop festival to date is only growing bigger and getting better.
This year, Cardi B, Lil Uzi Vert, Post Malone, and Lil Wayne pave the way as headliners.
AllHipHop caught up with Tariq Cherif a few days prior to the festivities, to talk about his immediate feelings and future goals.
AllHipHop: How are you feeling now that Rolling Loud is a couple days away?
Tariq Cherif: Feeling good! Always a little nervous, anxious but it’s what we do man. It’s exciting.
Tariq Cherif: That’s my dawg man. We have different ways of doing things and we have similar ways of doing things. We just try to capitalize off of each other’s strengths and just overcome each other’s weaknesses.
AllHipHop: He’s the wild one, and you’re the calm one right?
Tariq Cherif: I can get wild but he looks wild or whatever, so people put him in the wild box. But he’s pretty chill.
AllHipHop: Is there a part in the festival where you are able to completely enjoy it?
Tariq Cherif: There’s moments, there’s like a few moments where I am really able to enjoy myself. For the most part, I am just running around, making sure stuff is happening on time or trying to get it back on schedule, whatever might be the case.
AllHipHop: Explain some of the business that goes into running Rolling Loud?
Tariq Cherif: It’s a lot of back and forth with booking agents to book the artists, and then back and forth with vendors to supply us with the supplies that we need and the labor that we need for the shows. The balance of those two. There’s a lot of business that goes down that I don’t really know how to describe.
AllHipHop: What are some of the key obstacles you face as a business is scaling up?
Tariq Cherif: In our international expansion, the key obstacles is getting Visa approval for artists to travel to different countries, and just dealing with other countries not being as embracive of hip-hop as America is. But we’re getting through it.
AllHipHop: I had the pleasure of attending Rolling Loud in the Bay Area this year. What was the best part?
Tariq Cherif: The best part of Rolling Loud in the Bay Area, I’d say Ski Mask and Juice WRLD had great sets and Travis Scott. Wifi killed it. E-40 was really awesome. Berner. Having those Bay Area legends come and up and comers All Black and P-lo. The Bay has so much love for their own, and just for hip-hop in general. It was just awesome. I love the Bay Area, it’s one of my favorite places in the world.
AllHipHop: Any behind-the-scenes catastrophes that took place?
Tariq Cherif: I don’t speak on those. If it’s a catastrophe and you haven’t heard about it, then we did a good job of you not hearing about it. Try to keep it that way. The Bay was a pretty smooth show. I can’t think of a problem and if there was a problem, I forgot.
AllHipHop: What are you most excited for in LA?
Tariq Cherif: I am most excited to have Cardi B headline our show. We have never had a female headliner and we are really proud of that. Super excited to see her representing.
AllHipHop: Who are some artists that you are most excited for on the bill?
Tariq Cherif: In particular… let me pull it up, it’s hard to say. I am excited for Yung Bans. I am excited for Wifi and Rob to do a shared set. I’m excited for Shoreline Mafia, Mozzy, SOBxRBE, Playboy Carti, Kodak Black, really excited for Kodak Black. That’s probably what I am most excited for is Kodak just because he’s from the crib. We just love Kodak in Florida, just excited for him to be a free man and have some fun.
AllHipHop: Talk about the local Toy Drive with Shoreline Mafia (the proceeds of which go to benefit East L.A. Rising and Schools On Wheels). What inspires you to give back?
Tariq Cherif: This is Shoreline’s idea, but I love it. It’s funny ‘cause at the same time, we’ve been internally speaking within the Rolling Loud team about doing charity stuff, just affecting the community even more. We have some endeavors in the works but right now, we got the Toy Drive poppin’.
Bring a toy to the show, unwrapped, and hopefully we really get a lot of toys together to benefit East L.A. Rising and Schools On Wheels to organizations in downtown LA that really benefit children in real need. Super excited about that.
AllHipHop: You’re expanding in Japan, China, and Europe. How far do you plan on taking this?
Tariq Cherif: Well China is on pause until they figure out how much hip-hop they wanna accept. But we are looking at Hong Kong and going to Australia, Europe. There are a lot of territories that we are currently speaking with that even if they don’t happen next year, they might happen the year after. It just depends, it depends what the future holds.
AllHipHop: What are some goals for yourself at this point in your career?
Tariq Cherif: Man, I just try to do better every day than the day before. I just try my best to try my best. I’m not the type to set big goals. These big like mood board goals, like buy a house. make this much money or do this many shows a year. My brain doesn’t work like that. I just handle my stuff and just try to do better the next time.