Since their debut Rolling Loud event back in 2015—a same-day, smaller edition which took place in Wynwood, Miami—founders Tariq Cherif and Matt Zingler have successfully turned the festival into a globally-recognised, in-demand brand. And now, they’re launching their first ever Rolling Loud in Europe after two years of waiting for Covid-19 to subside.

Starting out as touring specialists based in Florida under company name Dope Entertainment, Matt and Tarek already had a knack for booking the right talent and throwing memorable events, but more importantly, they understood how to tap into the underground hip-hop scene—a quality that would draw audiences to Rolling Loud events for years to come. Booking artists who started out as SoundCloud rappers—often before they’d go on to become megastars, like they did with an up-and-coming Travis Scott seven years ago—they have well and truly solidified their position as hip-hop tastemakers. Their tendency to include local talent on the same bill as established artists has also helped set them apart from the rest.

Rolling Loud’s Portugal edition, which takes place on July 6-8, lists American heavyweights such as J. Cole and A$AP Rocky alongside UK stars like Central Cee and Skepta. The line-up continues the Rolling Loud tradition of honing in on local talent by featuring Portuguese acts like Minguito and Lon3r Johny. Ahead of the first ever Rolling Loud event in Portugal, we caught up with Matt Zingler to discuss the U.S. to Europe transition, staying connected with underground rap scenes globally, and the future of one of rap’s biggest festivals. 

“An artist is only as strong as the people working behind them.”
—Matt Zingler