This weekend’s Rolling Loud music festival got off to a, let’s call it, dramatic start last night, after rapper Kid Cudi walked off stage in the middle of his headlining set after audience members pelted him with water bottles. Per Rolling Stone, Cudi appears to have taken at least one bottle to the face, and, when he very reasonably threatened to stop the show if “I get hit with one more fucking thing,” he was met with another thrown object—at which point he dropped the mic and walked off.
The elephant-who-turned-out-to-actually-be-in-the-room here is, of course, Kanye West, whose headlining slot Kid Cudi took over after West dropped out of the festival last week, and whose name members of the crowd began chanting after Cudi vacated. Which West was probably around to hear, since it turns out that he showed up at Rolling Loud anyway, doing a guest set with Little Durk in which he performed a Life Of Pablo track that Cudi famously has lines on.
West’s drama with Rolling Loud—and his maneuver here, which allowed him to deliver a middle finger to the festival itself while still reaping the adulation of its audience—is just a standard part of the Ye playbook at this point; see also his treatment of Coachella earlier this year. The Cudi stuff appears to be more personal; West and his former collaborator had a falling out earlier this year over Kid Cudi’s friendship with Pete Davidson, who’s spent much of the last year as the latest sun in West’s ever-present constellation of grievances. It’s never clear, when talking about West, how much of his actions are pre-planned malice—as opposed to a simple penchant for improvisational fuckery—but it’s not hard to see last night’s Rolling Loud as an instance of him getting pretty much everything he wanted, in the most chaotic possible way.