The New York Police Department and New York’s Mayor Eric Adams have been at war with the city’s bubbling underground drill rap scene for a while now. Today, the authorities appear to have escalated the conflict, requesting the Rolling Loud festival to remove three rappers from its lineup just days ahead of the event this weekend, according to the New York Times‘ longtime music reporter Joe Coscarelli. The three rappers — 22Gz, Ron Suno, and Sha Ek — have been booked to perform for months.
breaking: at least three New York drill rappers — Sha Ek, 22Gz and Ron Suno — have been cut from this weekend’s Rolling Loud festival in Queens at the request of the NYPD, their representatives said
— Joe Coscarelli (@joecoscarelli) September 22, 2022
The Times report compares the last-minute move against the rappers to a similar request issued by the NYPD ahead of the 2019 concert, which removed 22Gz and Pop Smoke from the lineup (22Gz was allowed to perform in 2021; Pop Smoke, unfortunately, was killed in a home invasion in Los Angeles in 2020). According to the request letter sent that year, the performers in question were “affiliated with 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.”
The report quotes Sha Ek’s manager Noodles, who said, “The police try to associate what he’s doing with violence and negativity. They don’t respect that he’s an artist and entertainer trying to better himself and feed his family at 19 years old. Sha Ek has performed all over the Northeast this year. The crowds at his concerts are full of kids dancing and having fun. He’s excited to keep growing his touring business and proving the police wrong.”
Likewise, Ron Suno’s manager Bo also reacted to the news. “How can a person who has no criminal record and no gang ties — the kid never even made a diss record — be denied to perform in his hometown after all his hard work?” he wondered. A representative for 22Gz confirmed his cancelation but declined to comment further; 22Gz was recently charged with attempted murder in a nightclub shooting in June.
Some artists covered here are Warner Music artists. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.