Rolling Loud found itself embroiled in controversy yet again when it dropped five rappers with New York ties from the lineup before the festival’s latest expansion in the Big Apple, multiple outlets reported.
This removal came just days after the New York Police Department sent a letter to the hip-hop festival accusing the performers — Casanova, Don Q, Pop Smoke, Sheff G and 22Gz — of “recent acts of violence citywide.”
“The New York City Police Department believes if these individuals are allowed to perform, there will be a higher risk of violence,” Assistant Chief Martin Morales wrote in the letter, which has since made rounds on social media.
Don Q shared his disappointment on Instagram, denying any involvement in gang activity and saying that the move was based off “misinformation.” Casanova commented on the post that the decision “really hurts.”
“I hope the city will wake up and see that canceling me and my fellow NY artists isn’t the solution,” Don Q continued.
Festival co-founder Tariq Sheriff, however, defended the decision, saying the move was necessary if Rolling Loud wanted to return to New York.
Rolling Loud, which started in Miami in 2014 and has since done festivals across the country, has a track record of artist-involved incidents.
At the festival’s May homecoming, YoungBoy Never Broke Again (or NBA YoungBoy) was the target of a shooting that left one dead and six wounded while South Florida rapper Kodak Black was arrested at the festival on a weapons charge. And a party bus containing Young Thug’s entourage was shot up.