Rolling Loud 2018: Saweetie

Aslesha Kumar/Staff

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Hayward, California native Saweetie was one of the newer and more diverse faces of hip-hop who performed at Rolling Loud this weekend. But aside from the fact that she’s part Pilipinx, Chinese and Black, and aside from the fact that she’s among the handful of female rappers who are on a relatively quick trajectory to success, one thing immediately stood out during her set Saturday — is that a choreographed dance performance?

Yes, instead of opting to walk or bounce aimlessly, left to right, onstage, the 25-year-old artist thought to do some thorough planning and put on a real show.

Four women — uniformly dressed in black sports bras and bike shorts — flanked Saweetie and swung their bodies in every possible direction, fast or slow to the rhythm of each song. The choreo looked like an elaborate act of seduction, but onlookers were warned — songs such as “High Maintenance” and “ICY GRL” are essentially a list of Saweetie’s demands and a reminder that most, if not all, are unworthy of her love.

Later, Saweetie debuted a song with Los Angeles-based rapper Guapdad 4000 — a surprise guest who may have been disappointing to those who were so certain it would be Kehlani or Quavo. Regardless, the new song was a bop and emphasized Saweetie’s motto: “Only way is up.”

Since rapper Cardi B signed with Atlantic Records in 2017, a new path has been permanently engraved for aspiring female artists. Whereas Missy Elliott might have relied on the demo tape in the late 1980s and Nicki Minaj on her mixtapes in the early 2000s, Cardi B outlined the sheer clout of a strong social media presence. And Saweetie is just one of the artists following suit.

Contact Lloyd Lee at [email protected]. Tweet him at @helloydlee.