Who else could properly take on the challenge of closing out a three-day hip-hop music festival that saw its last night suffer from extreme weather, delays and a rumored no-show from Lil Wayne?
Ready for war with his dreads pulled back, a scarf dangling from his back pocket, and a five-man band (of two guitarists, a DJ, drummer, and keyboardist), Future took charge, hitting the stage and wasting no time launching into his classic contribution to Ace Hood’s “Bugatti.” DS2‘s “Thought It Was A Drought” followed before DJ Esco’s “Light Show,” the Mike WiLL Made-It-produced “Move That Dope,” “Rent Money,” and “Draco.” Two synchronized dancers stormed the stage to the sounds of A$AP Ferg’s “New Level” before Fewtch performed his Lil Wayne rework, “Good Kush and Alcohol.”
After delivering “Real Sisters” and “Freak Hoes,” Future finally spoke to the crowd, but a specific sector: “I gotta represent for my fellas in the building right now.” And “Trap Niggas” was for them. Then, to the city as a whole—”Oh, I see what Miami want”—Fewtch spit his best “Slick Talk.” He let the crowd take the reins on the high-pitched “la-di-da” breakdown of his “King’s Dead” verse, projecting a crown on the glowing screen behind him before segueing into “4 Da Gang.”
Women sat atop shoulders in the audience, the candy colors of the DS2_ artwork inspired the lighting, and bursts of cloudy smoke fogged the sky, but despite the more-than-satisfactory stacked setlist, resting quietly in the back of our all minds was the tweet Rolling Loud had sent just moments before Fewtch’s set, to “expect a very special guest.”
And after Future provided a hint by declaring, “It’s 2018, we gotta cut a few relationships to take it to the next level,” that promise was fulfilled in the form of Young Thug. After delivering the obvious nod, “Relationship,” Young Thug went solo for “Killed Before.” And though the concert organizers implied one guest, the beat of “High End” introduced Chris Brown to the stage, too. But, per Future, Breezy couldn’t “leave without doing one for 2018.” A showing of “Loyal” gave Fewtch the opportunity for an outfit change and a new energy for “Sh!t.”
As is apt at any point really, Future then thought it was time to fuck up some “Commas,” again inviting dancers to the stage to nearly steal the spotlight. He questioned and challenged the crowd’s energy before “Mask Off” and “March Madness.” But no guest was as unexpected, or as hyped up, then his next: “We gotta make sure the last night is the loudest night of Rolling Loud, I promise you. We gotta turn up…”
So begun Nicki Minaj’s “Chun-Li” and she graced the stage in a striped two-piece and weather-appropriate clear raincoat, staying for both her madly-memorized “MotorSport” and “Rake It Up” bars. And Fewtch returned for a Weeknd-less, but electric guitar-driven “Low Life” before shutting the show down, fireworks waiting impatiently, with “Karate Chop.”