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Drill artists removed from Rolling Loud festival line-up at request of NYPD

Sha Ek, Ron Suno, and 22Gz have all been taken off the bill for the weekend-long hip-hop festival

Rolling Loud

Several artists associated with New York's drill scene have been removed from the Rolling Loud festival line-up at the request of the New York City Police Department (NYPD), reports the New York Times’ Joe Coscarelli.

The Bronx’s Sha Ek and Ron Suno, as well as Brooklyn’s 22Gz have been taken off the bill for the weekend-long hip-hop festival, which is due to take place at Citi Field in Queens this weekend (23rd-25th September). Nicki Minaj, A$AP Rocky, Playboi Carti, and Future are all booked as headliners.

22Gz was one of five artist who were also removed from Rolling Loud New York in 2019 after an assistant chief at the Police Department sent a letter to organisers requesting the removal of the rapper, along with rappers Pop Smoke, Casanova, Sheff G, and Don Q, just a few days before the event was due to kick off.

The letter claimed that the rappers had “been 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," it read. Rolling Loud co-founder Tariq Cherif then tweeted that he and his team ultimately "had no choice but to comply," in order to ensure that the festival could continue.

A spokesperson for 22Gz’s label, Atlantic Records, has confirmed that he has been pulled from the 2022 lineup, but has not detailed a reason. 22Gz is currently out on bond after being charged in June with attempted murder for his role in a Brooklyn club shooting that injured three people.

NYC Mayor Eric Adams took aim at the drill movement earlier this year, questioning whether rappers should be censored and banned from social networks. The rap sub-genre, which has its origins in Chicago and has since developed strains in various other countries including the UK, has been a magnet for crticism since its conception in the early '10s.

In June, the UK's Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) ruled that UK drill artists' music videos can now be submitted as evidence in court. It was reported that the videos will be "admissible evidence for a jury to consider" to connect suspects to gang-affiliated offenses, prove the "modus operandi of an attack", and provide further possible context, according to the Director of Public Prosecutions Max Hill QC.