“Hip Hop is dead” is a phrase you often hear these days, and with good reason. The stuff that comes out now just cannot match up to hip hop’s golden era of the late 80s through the late 90s.
However, with the debut of the Rock the Bells Festival 2010, we are reminded of just how good hip hop was in its classic era.
From the return of Lauryn Hill, to seeing ODB’s son Boy Jones performing with Wu-Tang, Rock the Bells seems to have really got it right this time.
The festival features such classic artists as Slick Rick, performing The Great Adventures of Slick Rick, Wu-Tang Clan performing Enter the 36 Chambers, A Tribe Called Quest performing Midnight Maruders, Rakim performing Paid in Full and KRS-ONE performing Criminal Minded. The lead act, a Mr. Snoop Doggy Dogg ends the show by performing Doggystyle as well as a few other Snoop favourites. All albums are performed in their entirety.
If that doesn’t get your juices flowing then I don’t know what will. Oh wait, how about a second stage featuring one of the best current rappers, Immortal Technique, along with Brother Ali, Jedi Mind Tricks and the Street Sweeper Social Club.
It’s enough to get anyone who lived through those times feeling a little nostalgic. Any or all of these albums could be on most people’s ‘ten greatest rap albums of all-time list’. Add in the return of Lauryn Hill, who may or may not be getting ready to embark on a comeback and you’ve got something truly special. Slick Rick is also rumored to be putting out a new album soon.
Q-Tip said it best at the opening day of the festival in San Bernadino. “Yo, I have to say this, in November 1993, A Tribe Called Quest put out Midnight Marauders and Wu-Tang put out 36 Chambers on the same day. Two weeks later, Snoop put out Doggystyle.”
That pretty much sums it up. In those days, a classic album could and did drop pretty much at least once a month. If we get one once a year now, it’s a good year.
Rock the Bells made its Canadaian debut in 2008 in Toronto, but as of yet, Rock the Bells 2010 is only taking place in California, New York, and Washington D.C.