Live: Rock The Bells Tour Announcement Party

April 23, 2008

Guerilla Union’s Rock the Bells festival is something of a live wire. After nearly starting a riot with the Wu-Tang Clan’s final united performance before ODB's death in 2004 (as you should see for yourself in the excellent Rock the Bells documentary), and then nearly burning down the Inland Empire in 2007 with a reunited Rage Against the Machine, the show has quickly become the most storied hip-hop festival in the world. As one Fader editor said of last year’s LA-area show, “It was the first time I’ve actually felt the effects of tear gas for myself.”

And so it was with such memories in mind that we got in our car and fought some tear-inducing traffic to get out to Claremont, CA for a press conference at Guerilla Union HQ to announce Rock the Bells’ 2008 squadron, as the formerly one day festival becomes a touring revue for the second year. Perhaps most notably, this year will feature the first performance by all four members of The Pharcyde since 1997 (yes, it has been that long), and appearances by A Tribe Called Quest, Nas, Ghostface and Raekwon (as Cuban Linx), Rakim, Mos Def, De La Soul, Method Man and Redman, Immortal Technique, Dead Prez, Murs, Kidz In The Hall, Spank Rock, Santogold, Kid Sister, The Cool Kids, Jay Electronica, B.O.B., Amanda Blank, Flosstradamus and Wale.

To celebrate the announcement, GU threw a secret show at a little spot called Hip Kitty—normally known for its live jazz and creamy fondue. Wale was first to grab the mic, followed by performances by Jay Electronica, Murs, Raekwon, Supernatural, and De La—who were joined by Tribe at the very end of the night. Raekwon’s customary existential ponderings (“I been to like seventy countries y’all! I been to Ireland, and y’all can’t fuck with that, y’all can’t fight an island!”) were followed by the promise of the Cuban Linx sequel with Ghostface this year (which sounds similar to something we heard in 2004), and Supernatural freestyled about somebody’s Blackberry. But the night’s best moment came when Murs introduced The Pharcyde onstage together for the first time in over ten years. They didn’t perform, but there were big smiles and thug hugs all around. A real golden hip-hop moment.

Posted: April 23, 2008
Live: Rock The Bells Tour Announcement Party