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Rolling Loud New York removes three drill rappers from city’s on-demand lineup

Rolling Loud New York is scheduled to take place at Citi Field in Queens, New York this weekend, but three rappers originally scheduled to perform have been cut from the lineup.

At the request of Mayor Eric Adams and the New York Police Department, Sha Ek, a Bronx native, 22Gz from Brooklyn and Ron Suno, another Bronx-born rapper, will not be allowed to participate in what has become the one of the biggest rap festivals in the country based on a potential for violence.

Speaking to Variety, Sha Ek’s manager, Stanley “Noodles” Davis, was left baffled by the NYPD’s decision, especially since his client has no criminal history. As he pointed out, the Warner Music Group signee has changed his life. He recently landed at No. 1 on Billboard’s Heatseekers chart and was able to purchase his first home. Davis said when Ek heard the news it was “sheer devastation”.

“He was like, ‘Fuck it. I can just escape where I’m from,’” Davis said. “Son of immigrants. Only 19 years old. Expelled from school. Lost his father to Covid. Now, out of nowhere, the mayor and the NYPD are saying, “Oh, he’s not allowed to happen.”

“But every artist who has met the mayor – like B-Lovee, who is from the Sha Ek area in the Courtlandt area, he can perform. Go on. They did this to Eminem. They did this to 2pac. They did this to Snoop Dogg. We have seen this forever. Even down to Young Thug and Gunna’s situation.

According to The New York Times, a spokesperson for Atlantic Records, 22Gz’s label, confirmed their withdrawal but declined to comment further. He is currently on bail after being charged in June with attempted murder for his role in a Brooklyn club shooting.

The NYPD’s actions mirror what happened at Rolling Loud New York in 2019, when the department banned 22Gz and fellow rapper Pop Smoke from performing. A letter from an NYPD deputy chief explained at the time that they “had been affiliated with recent acts of violence throughout the city.” He continued, “The New York City Police Department believes that if these people are allowed to perform, there will be a higher risk of violence.”

But Davis didn’t even understand that. Neither the NYPD, Mayor Adams, or Rolling Loud have released an official statement. However, the festival organizers graciously agreed to pay Sha Ek for the canceled performance.

“It was more like, ‘You heard what I said,'” Davis explained. “There was no back and forth.” They were like, ‘We’re the NYPD and this is from the mayor’s office. If Rolling Loud wants you to ride, then they won’t have a permit.

But Rolling Loud was like, ‘We’re still going to honor the payment. It’s not us. It really is New York. We have the same booking agent as Rod Wave, DaBaby, Polo G, NLE Choppa – they are the best ticket sellers. Sha Ek has no criminal record. They base it on choice; it has nothing to do with the music. Fivio Foreign is the biggest drill artist in the country right now and he’s starring.

The Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE) said in a statement that it was concerned about the artists’ withdrawal.

“Rap is not a crime,” the organization said. “Without a clear and specific threat to public safety – about which officials must be transparent – ​​law enforcement cannot tell Rolling Loud organizers who can and cannot play their event.”

Davis said Warner plans to issue a statement in support of Sha Ek and the other two who kicked off the festival on Friday, September 23. Featuring headliners Nicki Minaj, Future, A$AP Rocky and Playboi Carti, this was going to be a big moment for Sha Ek.

Davis questioned: “He can’t happen in his own backyard because you think he might be a problem? On what bias? … Of all the bullshit going on in New York, you gonna say drill music is the problem? 90% of us have a criminal record! It’s hip hop. »

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