Midway through his Friday night performance at the Rolling Loud festival in Miami Gardens, Florida, rapper Kid Cudi was sick and tired of audience members throwing water bottles and other debris at him during his headlining set.
When a water bottle hit his face, Cudi — filling in as a last-minute replacement for Kanye West, his collaborator-turned-rival who dropped out of the festival — had an expletive-laden message to fans: “I’m leaving” the next time an item hits me or gets thrown onstage.
“Don’t [expletive] with me,” the 38-year-old artist said, according to a fan’s video from the show.
About two seconds later, a bottle whizzed by his head; Cudi dropped the microphone and walked offstage, just about 30 minutes into his set, to the surprise of the thousands of fans at Hard Rock Stadium. Some booed, while others immediately chanted for West, who now goes by Ye. West eventually showed up in a surprise appearance Friday night, not long after Cudi stormed off.
Video of the incident went viral, and critics have decried those in attendance, specifically West’s fans, for disrespecting Cudi during his set.
“Don’t ever disrespect Cudi,” Complex Music wrote in a tweet.
A representative for Cudi, real name Scott Mescudi, did not immediately respond to a request for comment early Saturday. Officials with Rolling Loud did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Cudi and West had a decorated creative partnership until their very public falling out earlier this year. After West criticised Cudi on Instagram for his friendship with comedian Pete Davidson, who is dating Ye’s ex-wife Kim Kardashian, Cudi vowed to never work with West again and called him a “dinosaur.”
“You’re whack for flipping the script and posting this lie just for a look on the internet,” Cudi tweeted in February. “You ain’t no friend. BYE.”
In April, Cudi noted that the collaboration between him and West on rapper Pusha T’s “Rock N Roll” would be the final song featuring them.
“I did this song a year ago when I was still cool [with] Kanye,” Cudi tweeted. “I am not cool [with] that man.”
Rolling Loud co-founders Tariq Cherif and Matt Zingler said in a statement earlier this week that they had worked with West and his team on his performance for the first night of the festival until the rapper decided to back out for reasons that remain unclear.
“This is the first time a headliner has ever pulled off our show and though we don’t take it lightly, we wish him the best,” Cherif and Zingler said, according to Pitchfork.
It wasn’t the first time West backed out of a headlining performance at a music festival this year. He canceled his performance at Coachella 11 days before he was scheduled to take the stage, according to Variety. A production and design company sued West this week for $7.1 million, claiming in a California court that the rapper did not pay them for his canceled Coachella performance or the release show for his album ‘Donda 2.’
But even with West backing out of Rolling Loud, the co-founders were excited to have Cudi take his spot.
Before the show, Cudi expressed his excitement for headlining Rolling Loud, tweeting out photos of fans ready to see him take the stage.
“Who’s ready for face melting madness?” he tweeted about 90 minutes before his set.
Cudi was just four songs into his set when the bottles and debris began flying, according to fans’ accounts on social media. As videos of the incident spread on social media, critics blasted fans in attendance for forcing Cudi to end his set early.
“Y’all are out here disrespecting Kid Cudi and that proves to me you have no home training or taste in music,” tweeted Ashley Nicole Moss, a host for Sports Illustrated.
Shortly after he left his stage, rapper Lil Durk brought out a surprise guest during his set: West. Despite backing out of his headlining set, West took the stage to perform ‘Father Stretch My Hands, Pt. 1’ — a hit featuring Cudi’s vocals.