Rock the Bells!
If you are wondering “what is Rock the Bells?”, then you are in for a hip hop treat my friend! Rock the Bells is like a mini one-day rap music festival that is held in a few cities across the U.S. every summer. It began back in 2004 and has featured many huge hip hop artists throughout the years. It’s a great way to go and see many of your favorite rap artists in one place performing their hits.
Rock the Bells does not throw together some low-level show with mediocre artists. Here is a nice list of some of the major artists that have performed at Rock the Bells concerts throughout the years: Wu-Tang Clan, Redman, A Tribe Called Quest, Xzibit, Cypress Hill, Jurassic 5, Nas, Gang Starr, Mos Def, Talib Kweli, De La Soul, Immortal Technique, Rage Against the Machine, The Roots, Rakim, Public Enemy, Dead Prez, Ice Cube, and House of Pain just to name a few! That is hip hop royalty right there! Anyone who listens to an ounce if hip hop can find something that they like.
I went to last year’s Rock the Bells on Governor’s Island in NYC. It is just a short ferry ride from Manhattan. I was pumped and it exceeded my expectations. Last year they started a new format where the artists play one of their classic albums from front to back. This is an awesome idea for people who bought these classic albums and played them over and over again. It really takes you back in time. The artists also usually threw in some other classic songs from other albums to please the crowds. I was lucky enough to witness the following artists: Clipse, Wiz Khalifa, Slick Rick, KRS-One, Rakim, Lauren Hill, A Tribe Called Quest playing the album Low End Theory, Wu-Tang Clan performing 36 Chambers (they also played other songs such as Triumph), and Snoop Dogg performing his classic album Doggystyle! There are also always some little surprises at these shows. Warren G was with Snoop Dogg and Busta Rhymes came with Tribe. I also heard that in the LA show last year Dr. Dre showed up and performed Nuthin’ but a G Thang with Snoop. On top of that, celebrities such as Jay Z, Beyonce, Chris Rock, Mary J. Blige, and many more were there just to watch the show in NYC!
This years shows are in LA, San Francisco, NYC, and Boston. If you live near any of these cities I would definitely think about making the trip to see one of these amazing shows. I will be attending the NYC show (Sept. 3, 2011) again on Governor’s Island this year. This year’s show promises to be another terrific one. It will be hosted by RZA and Boy Jones (ODB’s oldest son) among a few others. The line-up currently includes Immortal Technique, GZA performing Liquid Swords, Raekwon + Ghostface performing Only Built for Cuban Linx, Mobb Deep performing The Infamous, Common performing Be, Black Star (Mos Def + Talib Kweli) performing Black Star, Erykah Badu performing Baduizm, CYPRESS HILL performing Black Sunday, LAUREN HILL performing The Miseducation of Lauren Hill, and NAS performing ILLMATIC! That’s quite a show if you ask me. This year RZA also created a side stage called 36 Chambers Stage that will feature primarily members of the Wu-Tang Clan.
Tickets in NY are usually around $100 and you can spend about another $100 for VIP tix. VIP includes a backpack, t-shirt, poster, private bar with 2 free drink tickets, VIP restrooms and seats, and a Meet & Greet with some of the artists! Well worth the price if you ask me. Hopefully I’ll see you there!