Over the last three years, Rock the Bells has been the scene for some of our best moments here on Live Fix. And now that Guerilla Union announced the info about the “classic album” headliners for this summer’s tour dates, I’m feeling both excited and somewhat bummed out.
Let me say first that it’s always good for new, young and long-time hip hop fans to be reminded of the rap’s roots and realize that hip hop wasn’t always so auto-tuned in the mainstream. And I have total respect for the classic hip hop albums and the artists who pioneered each evolution of hip hop.
But at the same time, I’ve always had a hard time accepting the reasons why veteran hip hop groups decide to put on concerts where they play their entire classic album as a tribute, especially on a tour like Rock the Bells that’s suppose to represent cutting-edge live hip hop and not just celebrate the past.
When you look at the current state of mainstream hip hop today, doing a concert tour like this year’s Rock the Bells seems to imply that the contemporary crop of (indie and mainstream) hip hop isn’t good enough to headline. And it also implies that today’s artists don’t have anything new to say or fresh beats to unveil. And I know that’s not the case at all, because there’s a whole army of artists that are making revolutionary hip hop music.
So I wonder why Rock the Bells decided to go the classic album route this year. Did the fans speak up and vote or was the decision made by the higher ups to go with a sure shot classic bill that they know all fans would flock too?
But it’s not all old school for Rock the Bells, because it looks like there will be others on the bill besides the classic four headliners. Solid acts like Brother Ali and Immortal Technique will bring their contemporary and fiery flavor to the tour. That said, we’ll sit back for a moment and wait and see how the fans respond before we make any final judgments on the bill.
As noted on the Guerilla Union website, here’s all the info on tour dates and which artist is performing what classic album.
Where’s It Going Down?
- NOS Events Center in San Bernardino, CA. August 21
- Shoreline Amphitheater in San Francisco on August 22
- Governer’s Island in New York on August 28
- Merriweather Pavilion in Washington D.C. on August 29
Who’s Performing What?
Wu-Tang Clan will perform Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers).
Rakim and Eric B will perform Paid in Full.
Slick Rick will perform The Great Adventures Of Slick Rick [Explicit].
Why No Chicago Stop?
For now, I’m feeling bummed out since the Rock the Bells tour isn’t coming through Chicago like it has the last few years. Not sure why they decided to do that. Maybe it was because the fan turnout in Chicago last year wasn’t up to par, or maybe it was a scheduling issue?
Either way, again, we’ll hold tight and see if they do add a Chicago date to the tour once the Windy City hip hop fans express their disappointment.
Got Somethin’ To Say?
Do you think it’s a wise move by Rock the Bells to have the headliners only perform their classic albums? Who would you like to see headline instead?
Do you expect it to be a place of mourning like it was last year after Michael Jackson died a few days before the festival kicked off in Chicago?
Get the Rock The Bells Mobile App
If you’re planning on going to Rock the Bells, you’ll also want to check out the Live Fix summer music festival mobile app guide that includes the Rock the Bells app info.