Sad day in the industry. On the brink of celebrating their ten years in the game, Guerilla Union has announced the Cancellation of Rock the Bells in Washington DC and New York. Due to lack of ticket sales the 2-day festival has pulled the plug on both locations to prevent what they’re calling a “devastating financial loss”. GU Capo Chang Weisberg had this to say:
First and foremost, it is with great sadness and disappointment that we must cancel the Washington, DC and New York City Rock the Bells dates due to lack of ticket sales. I, along with our staff, the artists, and all of the sponsors, media partners, local promoters, and radio stations involved are thankful for our supporters and the fans that planned on attending. It’s extremely unfortunate that we can’t complete the last half of the 10th Anniversary Rock the Bells tour. We did everything in our power to save the show. Unfortunately, the financial loss would have been devastating. I am truly sorry we could not produce the show for all the fans who did buy their ticket in support of.”
Full refunds will be honored at the location where fans purchased their tickets
I’m sure more info will arise on what caused this mis-haps but until then let’s remember RTB for what it was this year. Lacking somewhat but still maintaining.
Words by Bubbavelli & Socal
Photos by Socal
With the rise in popularity of Coachella, more and more music festivals are popping up every summer. Everyone from artists to press outlets are finding a way to get a cut of the action. Music festivals are not a new concept by any means; Woodstock can be considered the originator and the still-standing Lollapalooza are both historic examples. Every genre has one, whether it is country or heavy metal. Hip-hop is starting to catch on to the trend and this year marks the ten-year anniversary of one of the originators in the genre, Rock The Bells.
This year is the second time the festival carries through the weekend. Throughout its history, Rock The Bells has given the opportunity for fans to see classic acts such as Wu Tang, Black Star, or Lauryn Hill while also, as of recently, featuring many already established or up-and-coming acts split between three stages. Being the tenth anniversary, it calls for some big acts along with bigger surprises. With that, the main event seemed to be the holographic performances of Eazy E and ODB. Other than those two, the roster seems pretty tame, mostly being comprised of acts from last year’s Rock The Bells or this year’s Paid Dues.
And so it begins, Rock The Bells 2013 at the San Manuel Amphitheater in San Bernardino. The sun is hot, the grass is dead, and the concessions are over priced.
While waiting for our press passes, a girl passed out in line and I’m sure was the first of many. At least she got free water. Eventually we made our way inside. I split away from my photography friends to fully immerse myself.
For the most of Day one, I loitered around the Fool’s Gold stage so I can get a prime spot for when Pusha T came on at 5:45. Being the humongous Clipse fan I am, I made sure that was the only act I NEEDED to see. Leading up to neighborhood Push, I saw some great acts and also some that I never want to see again.
Seeing as we didn’t make it in until around 1:40, the first act I fully saw was Riff Raff. I’m not that big of a fan of the outlandish white rapper but there are some songs from him that I do enjoy. Time to see what he’s about. Eventually he comes out and is definitely as ridiculous in person. Adorned in multiple gold chains, gold pants, a shirt with one sleeve ripped off, and seemingly expensive sneakers, the Neon Icon brought the rice out. He performed a set of what I assumed to be his greatest hits. Deion Sandles was the only song I was able to recognize along with the superb Lil Mama I’m Sorry. The fans ate up every second; he even brought out Lil Debbie to perform one of their collabs.
I really wish he didn’t do that.
Don’t get me wrong, Lil Debbie is stupidly attractive but that’s where it starts and ends with her in my opinion. I don’t think I could call what I saw a performance. Mostly, she just pranced on stage, recited the occasional line, but mostly just stood there and looked pretty.
His set eventually ended with no announcement really. He just pretty much walked off stage. After a break, it became time for Flatbush Zombies to grace the stage and gave one of my favorite performances. The energy is easily what made it so great. Rather than the typical head-bobbing and occasional hands in the air, everyone was jumping around and full-on mosh pits formed. They performed their hits, transitioned into SCOSA with Nirvana’s Smell Like Teen Spirit, and played a couple new songs off Betteroffdead, including Palm Trees. Although their set was very similar to their Paid Dues one from earlier this year and presumably any other set they’ve done recently, it was great seeing them and their vibrant energy again.
Next up was Chief Keef. If I didn’t already know the schedule than it was apparent by the plethora of white people surrounding me screaming out, “Sosa!”
In very small increments I can tolerate Chief Keep.
This will be interesting.
Chief Keef’s whole set could really be summarized as just an interpretive dance performance while his friend’s rapped for him. He spit the occasional bar or two but mostly the rest of GBE – who I can’t differ from each other except for Lil Reese who was there – would rap for Keef. The icing on the cake was his closing statement.
“It was cool rocking with y’all but this might be the last time I see everybody. I might get locked up in twelve days”
For some reason, I couldn’t help but bust out laughing. I’ve seen enough episodes of OZ to never wish prison on anybody but the fact that was the way he closed his already ridiculous set was too much to handle.
And now came my personal main event. Pusha T, Pusha ton, Push a ton of that shit that’ll make your nose run. Clipse are a big reason I have such a deep appreciation for good rap music. Not only do I still catch nuances in their music to this day, Pusha T has been rapping about selling cocaine for fifteen years and it has not become stale at all.
Push came out to his verse from the I Don’t Like remix. While it wasn’t the extended version, it was still awesome to start off. From there, he transitioned into Grindin, which was the only song from Lord Willin that he performed. He also did a medley of his GOOD music verses that was great, along with the biggest songs from Wrath of Caine and Fear of God. Halfway through, he spit his verse from Alley Boy’s Your Favorite Rapper that was thunderous. I caught myself being reminded of songs that I almost forgot which is one of the indicators of any good set. My only gripe had to be the fact nothing from Hell Hath No Fury was performed. Imagine being right in front for Keys Open Doors? YEEEUGH.
From there, I could care less about the lineup for the day. Right after Pusha was Bone Thug’s set and thought I might as well head over and catch Eazy E’s hologram. I’m a casual Bone Thugs fan so it’ll be nice to see them perform the classics. About midway through their set they brought out Eazy appropriately enough to We Want Eazy. They also played the beat to Real Motherfuckin G’s which was extremely pointless considering that would’ve never been played. Hologram Eazy did a couple songs, his verse from Straight Outta Compton, Boyz in the Hood, and his verse from Foe the Love of $, and he was gone.
Don’t get me wrong; it was pretty cool but just a novelty. It’s clearly obvious that they built the show around these considering how bland the lineup is. Once the initial thought of “wow that’s pretty awesome” is overcame, then a realization comes shortly after that it is no different than listening to their verses alone. There are so many variables that come with the way an artist conducts a performance that a hologram is pretty pointless and could NEVER recreate that.
After Bone Thugs I thought I’d go back to the Fool’s Gold stage to catch A-Trak dj instead of seeing Black Hippy. I thoroughly enjoy each member separately but their Black Hippy sets are pretty boring and predictable so I thought I’d just lay low in the cut at A-Trak. Regardless of everyone being at Black Hippy, he still put on a great show. He spanned a variety of genres and did a bit of turntablism, which was nice to see considering that’s his foundation.
Socal Update: While Bubbs was m.i.a for Black Hippy, I hit the main stage to catch their performances. What at first seemed like a typical Hi Power performance – Jay Rock, Ab-Soul, Schoolboy then K-dot, it quickly became evident that something was different. Jay Rock did two songs and shot off stage…so there’s that. Next, was the Black-Lip’d Bastard and his mellow stage presence which quickly turnt up as he FINALLY brought out Danny Brown for Terrorist Threats. What a treat for any Ab fan as that pretty much wraps up our bucket list of, “if Ab ________, that would be tight”. In the end I had no real complaints about Ab’s set. Schoolboy was up next, and like clockwork, channeled his inner comedian and went in on Kendrick with sly jokes followed by fan favorite singles. He even tied the two together by doing Collard Greens without the Black Hippy front-man which would’ve been a dope treat. Last but not least it was Kendrick Lamar who greeted us to a live band performance which in some ways is cool but more often than not, its not. I myself prefer to hear the track as they sound on the album I purchased. And to make matters worse he spit his verse from A$AP Rocky’s F**kin’ Problems twice…in a row!
After that, I made my way over to Kid Cudi’s set considering he was closing out day one. After his stage was set up and a warning to not record anything, the man on the moon came out. He ranged from his Man on the Moon mixtape to Indicud. After a couple songs, I made my way to the press lounge to rest until we left. After a pretty great day one, it’ll be interesting to see if day two can top it.
For day 2, we at A07 ran a little late. We didn’t get there until around 2:30 so we missed everything leading up to then including Freeway and Freddie Gibbs, among others. At least we got there for Danny Brown.
With that being said, I ran over to the Guerilla Union stage to make sure I didn’t miss much. I’ve been meaning to see Danny Brown for the past two years, I’d be damned if I missed him today.
While he only had a half an hour, he did more in that time than most can do with an hour-long set. He did songs from his breakthrough XXX, along with some loosies like Blueberry and Express Yourself. Although, he didn’t perform his new single which is a bit disappointing.
After, I decided to walk up the grueling hill and make my way to the main stage and catch Dilated Peoples. I didn’t catch much but it was nice to see one of the rap groups from my childhood.
Trap music has recently been the wave in the EDM world and for some reason they had a place at Rock The Bells. No not trap music, the booming hip-hop sound that came out of the south depicting the art of selling drugs; but trap music, the new flavor of the month in EDM culture that samples the original and makes it obnoxious. Mimosa is one of these DJs apparently and conducted a set. Honestly, I just stood there waiting for the next act to come out.
That next act was a classic. Slick Rick & Doug E Fresh were to grace the stage together. First Doug E Fresh came out to to pump the crowd up and do some beatboxing. Staying true, Slick Rick came out in thirty chains and sunglasses. He performed his classics along with his verse from Outkast’s Da Art of Storytelling Part 2. It was great to see but it was apparent old age has been taking a toll on Rick the Ruler. Throughout most of the set, he seemed to struggle with staying on beat. Maybe he’s saving energy. After some time, Slick Rick left the stage only to return with the trademark eye patch. Doug E Fresh then came out and it was apparent as to what was going on. It was time for The Show. Although Rick didn’t really perform to his full potential, it was still great to see. After, Doug E Fresh graced the stage one more time, only to break down the history of the dougie to Teach Me How To Dougie. Dougception if you will.
Seeing as the next anticipated act didn’t come on for another hour and there’s a hill separating the man and side stages, I was stranded down there due to my own laziness. Waiting for Deltron 3030, I either stay at the Guerilla Union stage and watch Trinidad James or make my way to the 36 Chambers stage and wait for Joey Badass to get the hell off. I contemplated suicide for that hour.
I don’t see how people chose to see ASAP Mob over Deltron 3030. It was disappointing to see such a sparse crowd considering how legendary Deltron is. I also fell in love with the adorable woman in the horn section but that’s neither here nor there.
Dan the Automator acting as conductor while Kid Koala does the cutting and Del The Funky Homosapien performing in a helmet amidst a full band was perfect. They did a combination of new material among all the classics off their debut record. Then closed in the most perfect way possible with The Gorillaz’ Clint Eastwood.
The sun is down but that doesn’t mean the “turn up” should stop. E40 and Too Short performed on the Guerilla Union stage keeping the energy alive only for Juicy J to grace it next. Outside of being with my friends, I don’t listen to Juicy J very much but I have an appreciation for his energy. He seemed to do all his popular solo songs along with the classic Slob on my Nob and his verse from recent, popular Three Six singles. There was also a failed twerk segment and a girl flashed the stage so all-in-all an eventful performance.
Finally, it came time for the big finisher. I’ll finally see the group that cultivated my love for the art. So many classic albums to draw material from, so many possibilities. After a building of anticipation, RZA came out and addressed the crowd. It’s time.
The rest eventually graced the stage but something wasn’t right. Where’s Lex Diamond and Tony Starks? Possibly the two most talented rappers in the whole group are missing. Then the group has the audacity to try and rap their verses for them. WHY PLAY CREAM IF RAEKWON ISN’T THERE. WHY TRY AND KEEP UP WITH THE DENSITY OF GHOSTFACE’S VERSE AND RAP ALONG TO TRIMUPH. WHY.
Oh it didn’t stop there.
Throughout the whole night, the music was off. Most of the songs were sped up for whatever reason. I originally thought GZA was struggling to keep up with Liquid Swords due to old age just like Slick Rick earlier but nope, just shoddy set up. Eventually, the music just stopped completely. Method Man was the only one trying to keep the crowd occupied and spit some accapella verses. Eventually, he got fed up and threatened to leave the stage.
“This shit should not be happening Chang”
Method Man was completely right. This type of shit SHOULD NOT be happening at the closing performance of a festival, let alone the tenth anniversary. It’s understandable that things happen but not like this. People paid good money – $200 for regular tickets alone – and to have the sound cut out at a festival momentarily for the final performance is disappointing.
The sound came back eventually but it just wasn’t the same. They eventually brought the ODB hologram presumably as a hail mary and even that couldn’t bring back the mood. As a surprise, Redman was brought out to perform Da Rockwilder and just wasn’t exciting due to all the disappointments surrounding the set. Couple the fact with RZA mistakenly addressed us as Coachella and I couldn’t help but be the guy boo-ing.
I stood there in my Diamond Supply x Raekwon shirt in disbelief. I don’t think I’ve been more let down in my life and I come from a single-parent household.
Regardless of whose fault all of that was, it sort of ruined Rock The Bells. A weekend of acts mainly comprised of yesteryear’s Guerilla Union festivals only to be anchored by a gimmick just wasn’t as exciting as my first attendance last year. Hopefully next year they just don’t try to cash out on us fans again.
Rock the Bells X
Its about that time again to drop some free ish on the folks who keep us high on their radar!!! We’ve teamed up with our friends @ Th3 Company in association with Paid Dues to give you an opportunity to come up on a pair of tickets to this years Paid Dues Festival on Saturday March 30, 2013.
The winner will be the premiere recipients of 2 tickets to this years festival. By far our biggest giveaway to date, Guerilla Union was courteous enough host this awesome giveaway with us in a continued effort to show all of our supporters that we are extremely thankful for all of their support. One lucky winner will get the opportunity to see live performances from TRINIDAD JAMES, TALIB KWELI, JUICY J, MOBB DEEP, SOULS OF MISCHIEF, BLACK HIPPY, MACKLEMORE & RYAN LEWIS, TECH N9NE, IMMORTAL TECHNIQUE, HOPSIN, DOM KENNEDY, DE LA SOUL, JOEY BADASS and more.
Just fill out the the submission form. The more points you accumulate, the better your chances of winning. You can also gain points daily by coming back and hitting the twitter link button
For more information you can check out the following:
Powered by Monster Energy, GU is linking up with partner in crime/sponsor Capcom to bring you a college tour unlike any other. Get you bucks ready as GU brings MMG’s own Rick Ross, Wale, Meek Mill, and Machine Gun Kelly on a 5 city college tour. Date are below:
11/08 – University of New Orleans – New Orleans, LA
11/11 – University of Texas at Austin – Austin, TX
11/18 – George Mason – Fairfax, VA
11/30 – San Jose State University – San Jose, CA
12/02 – San Diego State University – San Diego, CA
Tickets are available now @ Live Nation
Guerilla Union and Datpiff, the authority in free mixtapes, have teamed up to present the first-ever DJ Muggs’ Rock the Bells Official Mixtape hosted by Supernatural.
The mixtape features exclusive tracks from Rock the Bells artists such as Atmosphere, DMX, Xzibit, Fashawn & Murs, Prodigy, Hit Squad and more, including the first release from hip hop pioneers Deltron 3030 in over a decade. In addition, renowned Wu-Tang Clan leader RZA will be treating listeners to the first and never before released single off the soundtrack for his upcoming Universal Pictures feature length film The Man with the Iron Fists.
The DJ Muggs’ Rock the Bells Official Mixtape is now available for free download at DatPiff.com
1. Supernatural – Chasers
2. Cassie Veggies – Y.N.M. (ft. Niko, G4, & Rocket Da Goon)
3. Murs & Fashawn – Slash Gordon
4. Atmosphere – Millenium Dodo
5. Deltron 3030 – The Agony
6. Ice Cube – Reckless in the Booth (ft. OMG)
7. Supernatural – Street Hustle
8. Slim the Mobster – These Bitches (ft. Twista)
9. Xzibit – Platinum Patron
10. First light (Pep Love & Opio) – Lighters (ft. Hieroglyphics)
11. KRS-One, Supernatural, Murs, Sick Jacken, Chali 2na, Tech N9ne & Everlast – Rock The Bells Anthem
12. RZA – Blowin In the Wind (single from Man with the Iron Fists)
13. Prodigy of Mobb Deep – Change
14. Sean Price – Haraam
15. Hit Squad/Goon Dox-PMD & Sean Strange – Stand Up
16. Keith Murray – LA LA
17. DMX – Get Your Money Up
18. Supernatural – Water
19. DMX – Fuck U Bitch
20. Sick Jacken & Murs – Paid Dues Anthem (ft. Supernatural)
21. The Grouch & Eligh – Destination Unkown
22. I Self Devine – Exist to Remain
23. Watsky – Work
ROCK THE BELLS 2012 FESTIVAL SERIES DATES & VENUES:
08/18 – 08/19 – San Bernardino, CA – NOS Events Center
08/25 – 08/26 – Mountain View, CA – Shoreline Amphitheatre
09/01 – 09/02 – Holmdel, NJ – PNC Arts Center
Part 2 of our re-cap from this years Paid Dues featuring Kendrick Lamar
“F*** Ur Ethnicity” – @kendricklamar
Part 1 of our re-cap from this years Paid Dues featuring 3-6 Mafia, Los Rakas, & DJ Quik.
“Poppin My Collar” – @DJPAULKOM, @therealjuicyj
“Soy Raka” – @LosRakas
“You’z A Gangsta” – @djquik
This years was arguably the best Paid Dues to date. So many dope performances. Guerilla Union definitely out-did themselves this time around from setup to execution. Every aspect of the overall operation was on point, safe, & secure. The shows were incredible!!!. Our journey this year took on a all day from Hotel to show BTS cover of Panama’s own Los Rakas which we’ll debut on a separate video as well as Part 2 of our coverage. Big shout outs to all who showed us love throughout the day: Krondon, Bizzy Bone, Camron, Los Rakas, Rich N Rude, ASAP Mob, Fashawn, Mac Miller, Kendrick Lamar, DJ Quick, Dilated Peoples, Guerilla Union, Three Six Mafia, & most of all the fans, crowds, and attendees b/c you made the show what it is…Until next year!!!
This Saturday March 10, Murs, Guerilla Union staff, and like-minded volunteers(YOU) will have the opportuniy to help build a house for a family in need. This weekend is the 2nd annual PAID DUES HABITAT FOR HUMANITY PROJECT! Last year, 25 extraordinary Paid Dues fans came together to raise the first wall on a HFH GLA home in Lynwood and this year is sure to exceed expectations. For so many years Guerilla Union has consistently unified all genres music by putting some of the most incredible shows to date. They have also been a catalyst for educating, empowering, and encouraging people on the values of helping others, teamwork, diligence, & creating opportunity. This is great way to exhibit some of those values and show your gratitude by participating. Details are as follows:
2ND ANNUAL PAID DUES HABITAT FOR HUMANITY REGISTRATION DETAILS
DATE: Saturday, March 10
TIME: 8am – 4pm
COST TO REGISTER: $250
-Opportunity to work alongside Murs and GU staff
-VIP ticket to PD (includes: access to VIP pit in front of main stage, artist meet-n-greet, 2012 festival t-shirt, backpack, poster, souvenir credential, two drink tickets (under 21 non-alcoholic), access to private full bar, VIP restroom facilities)
-Commemorative Paid Dues Habitat for Humanity Project t-shirt
-Autographed limited edition 18×24 Paid Dues poster
-Photo opportunity with Murs
-Side-stage access to Living Legends’ performance at the festival
-Be an “Honorary Paid Dues Habitat for Humanity Project Photographer”—photos and write-up of experience will be posted on Paid Dues and Habitat for Humanity websites
*NOTE: only 15 spaces available for volunteers
You can also support the cause by donating a monetary, 100% tax-deductible contribution. Any donation will make a BIG difference!
DONATE TO THE 2ND ANNUAL PAID DUES HABITAT FOR HUMANITY PROJECT HERE
Last Years Footage:
For more information about the Build Project, to Register, or to Donate, visit:http://www.regonline.com/builder/site/Default.aspx?EventID=1052930
For more information about Paid Dues:
For the first time, the Cypress Hill Smokeout is offering Early Bird tickets along with a special lay away option! You better hurry—Early Bird Pre-Sale will be available for a limited time only. THE FESTIVAL IS SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 5, 2011 @ NOS EVENTS CENTER
SAN BERNARDINO, CA
-Early Bird Pre-Sale Begins: Saturday, July 16 @ 10:00 am PST
-Early Bird Pre-Sale Ends: Friday, July 29 @ 10:00 pm PST
Guerilla Union presents Dr. Greenthumb, Tommy Chong, and Snoop Dogg’s Spring Gathering 2011 Music Festival & Medical Marijuana Expo Powered by WEEDMAPS.
Promised you bigger and better-so we’re giving you bigger and better! One would only expect the best when you have Snoop Dogg as a recently added partner and ambassador of the festival. The Doggfather himself will be joining fellow partners Dr. Greenthumb and Tommy Chong!
Live and all on one stage, June 11 at the NOS Events Center:
TRAVIS BARKER with MIX MASTER MIKE
And more to be announced!
In addition to this all-star lineup, Guerilla Union and Medicine and Music Project will be providing a safe and secure onsite consumption area for medical marijuana patients. If you didn’t go to Cypress Hill’s SmokeOut Festival 2010, then you can only imagine how ground-breaking this is! Stay posted for rules and procedures at www.springgathering.com.
Partake in yet another momentous event and get your tickets to Spring Gathering! Guerilla Union subscribers get first dibs on pre-sale tickets THIS Friday!
PRE-SALE Friday, 4/8 @ 10am PST – 10pm PST
ON-SALE TO THE GENERAL PUBLIC
Saturday, 4/9 @ 10am PST
For more information, visit
TELL GU WHO YOU WANT TO SEE AT SPRING GATHERING 2011!