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Rock The Bells 2010 Recap

August 31, 2010

Hey Everybody!

UPDATE Video By JGRAFX – he was holding out on me

First of all, if you missed this concert, you must have been dead, or living under rock. I really dont see how this can be topped.  An amazing lineup, and to top that off, each artist is performing their most classic or debut album IN ITS ENTIRETY! We arrived around 11AM, and finally got inside at 12:45- Just in time for the last 20 Minutes of Slick Rick’s Performance. Rick didnt have a DJ on stage with him, but he had some dope videos playing in the background during his set, which was cool. It was kind of sad that there only about 1000 people inside to see him perform. I think this is due to the shitty gate policy/design at Merriweather, compounded with the fact that EVERYONE got a thorough pat-down at the gate. There were easily 1500-2000 people in line to get in, WHILE the concert had already started- one tiny entrance! WACK! You would think, that if your venue holds 19,000 people, you would MORE THAN ONE F***ING ENTRANCE.  seriously.  Any other arena in the area that holds at least 20k people has a minimum of 3 entrances/exits.  If we would have been inside earlier, I would have seen all of slick rick, but I got to hear Children’s Story, so I was happy. The sun was so bright on the lawn, that my pictures of Rick didnt really turn out (apologies!).

We went up to get some free monster energy drinks after Slick Rick’s set, and saw Big Sean on the Paid Dues stage. The sound at the paid dues stage was better than the main stage, that was until….

rakim on stage with technician the dj

THE GOD Rakim & Technician the DJ took the stage, performing Paid in Full.  THEN, they decided to pump up the volume a bit! Dope performance!  Of course, all the classics were played- but what was great is that he performed some other crowd favorites- and favorites of mine!  Rakim totally shocked the crowd with “The Watcher Pt 2” (Prod. by Dr. Dre) and “Addictive” featuring Truth Hurts.  Those really made my day at that point.  The Eric B interludes (chinese artithmetic/eric b is on the cut) were played around with a bit, and some joking around between tech & rakim was awesome.  While Tech was cutting shit up (dude is ILL!!) Rakim sneaks up behind him, and JUMPS ON THE TURNTABLES.  Who knew Rakim could BEAT JUGGLE!?!?!  Amazing shit right there.  So, we all think the set is over, and Rakim starts to walk off the stage- and Im thinking to myself- what about PAID IN FULL!!! So all of a sudden, Rakim goes “wait a minute tech, I think we forgot something” and then tech starts to scratch and cut up “this is a journey into sound” and the whole crowd goes NUTS.  Of course they rocked it!!

At this point, I was sunburnt beyond belief, and already like 2 Beers in, so things were getting a little hazy.  Next up was KRS-ONE!!

I tried to find some videos from the Merriweather show, but sadly, I could not.  I got a couple pics tho!  Haha, anyway,  KRS-ONE ripped up the stage, and also graced the crowd with a 20 minute sermon- VERY uplifting and educational.  The man is a genius and a legend.  From the album “Criminal Minded” We heard “The Bridge is over” and “South Bronx” which got the crowd SOOOPER hyped up, among other dope tracks.  Supernatural did a freestyle on stage with KRS-ONE & Boogie Down Productions and freestyled for a few minutes about BDP and their history.  There were some nice dedications to DJ Scott La Rock as well.  KRS-ONE did a DOPE acapella verse about the history of Hip Hop, from 1973-1986, spitting 2 bars about each year.  Also on stage, Freddy Foxx aka Bumpy Knuckles! amazing!

supernatural on stage with KRS-ONE

After KRS-ONE jumped off the stage, the long set breaks began.  What was supposed to be 10-15 intermissions, turned into 30 minute, 45 minute, and some times even 1 hour breaks with NOBODY on stage.  NOT EVEN SUPERNATURAL, who was SUPPOSED to be hosting.  I think we saw supernatural on stage three times, and thats it.  He performed with KRS-ONE, and then after that, we didnt see him again for the entire show.  Who knows where he went, but he was replaced by Peter Rosenberg of HOT97 FM in NYC.

DJ Premier

After we finally baked in the sun for about 40 more minutes, DJ Premier (or … premier blog!) and his setup was Wheeled out on stage, and he played us some Gang Starr Hits!  It kinda sucked that we had to wait almost an hour for him to come on, and then he only DJ’ed for 20 MINUTES!! WTF?!?  I was really disappointed in the length of his set, but happy to see/hear his set nonetheless!  He killed it, as usual!

Waiting….. Boriiiiinnnnnnnnng LOL.

This one dude was falling asleep LOL! I would have gotten up to go see the Paid Dues stage in between these LONG ASS BREAKS if I would have known they were going to be SO DAMN LONG.  Could we at least get a DJ out on stage to spin some classics instead of looking at a video screen of ads all damn day?  I mean, if the breaks were going to be that long, they should have paid Primo to stay out and do an hour long set!  Not only that, but if I got up to go check out the other stage, I would lost my seat on the lawn.  IT WAS THAT PACKED!!

While JGrafx held down our seats, I RAN (literally) to grab some food/beers/water and a couple of programs.  The program dude gave me some inside information that lauryn hill and Tribe were going to switch set times, which was very nice of him to tell me.  I got back to the seats, and we decided to move into the shade

So we moved into the shade, and low and behold, there was FINALLY some movement on the stage!  They were setting up for Lauryn Hill, and her band!  So we waited…. and waited…. and waited…. and waited… and finally after what seemed like an hour and a half of sound check, Lauryn’s DJ got on the set, and started hitting us with some hip hop bangers to hype up the crowd.  He was getting on the mic- asking the crowd “are you ready for miss lauryn hill!!?!?!” and people were going nuts.  He DJed for about 2 more minutes, and then all of a sudden stopped the music and walked off stage.  The Drummer, guitarist, EVERYONE got up and walked off stage.  It was totally weird.  Then, the stage crew starts to BREAK DOWN HER STAGE SETUP.  People were booing and cussing like there was no tomorrow.  Rosenberg walks back out on stage and tries to calm down the crowd, saying “Lauryn is IN THE BUILDING PEOPLE, but she is sick”.  People were getting really pissed now.  After waiting for at least 1.5 hours, then being told she is here, but wont perform yet… You do the math.

After her set was broken down and the stage was cleared, we waited another 30 minutes for Rosenberg to come back out again (Meanwhile, NO ENTERTAINMENT ON THE MAINSTAGE, just this wack DJ who kept playing the SAME 6 SONGS OVER AND OVER AND OVER AGAIN during EVERY BREAK.  It was ridiculous).  Rosenberg talks to us for a few, and then announces….


Unfortunately, my pictures from the tribe set did not come out (they were mad blurry and shitty, sorry!).  Tribe totally destroyed merriweather, and the crowd went completely INSANE.  Not only did they perform Midnight Marauders in its entirety (including all the interludes and sound effects, etc) but also did lots of other hits from Low End Theory as well!!  SO CRAZY!!!  So many surprises, I was VERY pleased.  I kept saying over and over again that we are definitely getting our money’s worth today.  (even though we had to wait through all the Lauryn Hill pump-fake drama, and the long set breaks).  All of a sudden, Ali Shaheed throws on the beat for Busta Rhymes feat Swizz Beatz “Stop The Party” and Q-Tip and Phife are dancing with their pants falling off in front of the video screen.  It was crazy!!!  Then… Busta Rhymes comes out of NOWHERE and rips his verse!!! Crazy!! Of course, they did scenario, etc.  Amazing set!! Busta also brought Spliff Star with him!

Flipmode iz da SQUAD!! Pic courtesy of DJ FACE of the TRUE SCHOOL CORP

Throughout their entire set, tip would stop the music, and get the ENTIRE crowd to say that this was TRIBE’S HOUSE!.  And he was NOT LYING.  I think the y had the most hype performance out of everyone that night… maybe excluding the Wu.  Tip got so amped up that he stripped down to his boxers and was running through the crowd.  Crazy! They also performed “Find A Way”.  So amazing!

After Tribe and Flipmode left the stage, setup began for….

Miss Lauryn Hill!

Now, after ALLLLLL the hype and reports of her performances in LA and NY, we were all seriously ready for something truly EPIC.  That, did NOT happen.  The rumor was, that she was getting a manicure and pedicure backstage, which, turned out to be true (vetted by the washington post, among others) which is why she was 3 HOURS LATE.  Then, she has the nerve to run out on stage after her introduction, and say to the crowd, and her band:  “Alright, lets go yall- we gotta make up for lost time”.  She then proceeds to play all of her hits SPED UP 400%.  WTF!?!  It was really sad and disappointing.  Peep this article for more details on this. At the end of her set, all of a sudden, NAS appears on stage to perform “If I Ruled The World” and the whole crowd went INSANE.  That definitely helped out Lauryn’s cause, because she was not capturing the crowd AT ALL until Nas appeared.  This was not hard to believe, only because we knew he was already in town for two shows with Damian Marley (930 Club in DC and Sonar In BMORE).  She had obviously lost her voice, and was acting like she didnt want to be there.  So, after a 15 minute performance of sped-up crap, she ran off stage with nas (who only did 1/2 a verse) to BOOS !!! It was sad.


The Clan had the entire place going NUTS, and made us all very happy that they were there to have fun, perform, and show us a good time.  We are all happy to see them too, after Lauryn gave us a 20-minute weak performance.  ODB’s son Young Dirty Bastard filled in for him at the show, and did a pretty good job.  He is definitely as crazy as his dad (unless he is just acting… who knows?).  Not only did the Wu have ALL ORIGINAL LIVING members present, but they also brought out Nas to perform Verbal Intercourse!  So Dope!  Also, in addition to tracks from the 36 Chambers, They also did the classic “Triumph” from Forever, along with other hits.  Other treats included “Liquid Swords” from the GZA, “Ice Cream”, and the BIG surprise, “The Rockwilder” from Method Man.  The Wu won the crowd and did an amazing set!! So Epic!!

Next up… Doggystyle!

Snoop did a great job playing All the classics- and his DJ was DOPE!!!!! I didnt catch his name from the laptop, and there were no shout-outs, but mad respect goes out to him.  Great Job!  Nice guest surprises included Kurupt, Daz, Warren G, and Lady of Rage, Warren G really shocked the crowd to come out and perform “Aint No Fun”.  Nobody expected that.  Also, Snoop did a really nice tribute to Nate Dogg, who is still in and out of treatment for a stroke.  Lady of Rage also performed  “Afro Puffs” which was awesome.  This whole era of artists is especially memorable to me, because Gin N Juice was the first cassette single I ever bought, and Doggystyle was one of the first Vinyls I ever bought as a DJ.

To Sum it all up:  Tribe and the Wu had the best performances, and held down the crowd better than everyone that night.  Its kinda funny that I couldnt get Decent pics of the two best performances, but that goes to show how live it was!  It was probably the best show I have ever been to, and I had a great time!  Until next year… ROCK THE BELLS!! HIP HOP IS OVER HERE!!

Peace yall! see you in the clubs and on TWITTER!! @djtrayze

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