When Rolling Loud founders Tariq Cherif and Matt Zingler were looking to expand their Miami rap festival to other cities across the country, they were instantly drawn to the Bay Area.
"The Bay Area is really one of the most influential areas of the country when it comes to the history of hip-hop—more specifically when it comes to the independent hip-hop movement," Cherif says in a recent phone interview. "E-40 and Mac Dre were pioneers of getting out there and doing it yourself."
In 2017, Rolling Loud made its Bay Area debut at Shoreline Ampitheater in Mountain View, drawing thousands of hip-hop fans. A triumphant comeback at the Oakland Coliseum in 2018 featured over a dozen local artists—including E-40, Kamaiyah, P-Lo and Mozzy—in a lineup stacked with major-label stars like Travis Scott, Young Thug and Pusha T.
This year, Rolling Loud is back at the Coliseum Sept. 28–29 with Oakland's own G-Eazy headlining alongside Migos, Lil Uzi Vert and Future. His placement at the top tier of the rap pantheon is a huge deal for the Bay Area, which hadn't seen a hip-hop artist hit that level of mainstream success since E-40 and Too $hort were all over the charts 10 years ago.
In addition to these headliners, Rolling Loud's savvy curation juxtaposes party rockers with street poets, emo rap with hyphy and Gen Z upstarts with veterans. Highlights from the bill include Houston twerk queen Megan Thee Stallion, Atlanta gangster-turned-activist 21 Savage and Maryland nu-metal rapper Rico Nasty, as well as local favorites like Kamaiyah, Berner and Philthy Rich. With three stages, art installations, a skate park and a basketball court, the festival offers a lot to look forward to, including the five must-see Bay Area artists you'll find below.