NEW YORK (1010 WINS) — At least three New York Drill rappers were removed from the Rolling Loud lineup at the request of the NYPD.
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The traveling rap festival, which is slated to be held at Citi Field in Queens this weekend, nixed Sha Ek, 22Gz and Ron Suno after the NYPD requested their removal, the New York Times reported.
Neither the NYPD nor Rolling Loud responded to the Times’ requests for comment, but a manager for Sha Ek told the publication the 19-year-old rapper wasn’t charged with a crime and shouldn’t have been dropped.
“The police try to associate what he’s doing with violence and negativity,” he said. “They don’t respect that he’s an artist and entertainer trying to better himself and feed his family at 19 years old.”
This isn’t the first time the NYPD has meddled to have artists removed from Rolling Loud.
In 2019, the festival dropped five rappers from its lineup at the behest of the NYPD.
22Gz was on the ban list that year as well.
All three of the rappers removed from this years’ festival perform a genre of rap called Drill, which characteristically depicts gang violence.
In February, Mayor Eric Adams blamed the genre for perpetuating gun violence in New York City.
“We pulled Trump off Twitter,” said Adams. “Yet we are allowing music, displaying of guns, violence. We’re allowing it to stay on these sites.”
U.S. law enforcement and the NYPD in particular have a long history of surveilling rap artists and fans.
Between 1999 and 2004 the FBI investigated Wu-Tang Clan, which is a hip-hop collective that is not gang affiliated, for gang activity.
In 2004, The Village Voice reported on an active NYPD “Rap Intelligence Unit.”
As recently as 2019, The New York Post reported on the NYPD’s Enterprise Operations Unit, known among cops as the Rap Unit. The Post found police were monitoring rappers who were not suspected of any crime and sending undercover officers to hip-hop concerts.