The lineup for this year’s Rock The Bells has finally been released. Confirmed headliners performing full album sets include Ms. Lauryn Hill, Nas, Cypress Hill, Souls of Mischief, Mos Def & Talib Kweli are Black Star, Raekwon & Ghostface and more. The infamous festival will only be making stops in four major North American cities including Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York and Boston this year.
This year’s festival will head to four major North American markets. Kicking off in the Los Angeles-area on August 20 at the San Manuel Amphitheater, ROCK THE BELLS will then head to San Francisco on August 27 at Shoreline Amphitheatre. The festival moves to the east coast for a show in New York on September 3 at Governor’s Island (co-promoted with Bowery Presents, Highline, Mad Dog Presents) before wrapping in Boston on September 10.
ROCK THE BELLS featured a number of headliners performing their most influential albums in their entirety for the first time in the history of hip-hop entertainment last summer. The tradition continues this year with Ms. Lauryn Hill performing her landmark, multi-platinum selling, multi-GRAMMY winning album The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill and Nas performing his breakthrough debut album Illmatic with special guests AZ, Pete Rock and DJ Premier. Nas says about performing Illmatic this summer, “For years people have been asking me to do Illmatic in so many ways, from stage plays to movies to books, but the time wasn’t right. Where music is going now, the time is right. This will be my biggest production and it only makes sense to do it on the best rap tour which also happens to be a brand I’ve built and am a partner in. Can’t wait to kill it with my comrades AZ, Premo & Pete Rock!”
Full album sets can also be expected from: Cypress Hill performing their 1993 multi-platinum album Black Sunday, featuring modern rock radio mainstay “Insane In The Membrane”; Mos Def & Talib Kweli Are Black Star performing their 1998 self-titled debut album; Raekwon & Ghostface teaming up for critically acclaimed, platinum selling Only Built 4 Cuban Linx and more.
“I am excited that this year’s Rock The Bells will continue its rich history and tradition by presenting the best and most ambitious festival programming in Hip Hop,” says festival co-founder and Guerilla Union head Chang Weisberg. “The bar has been set high and this year’s line-up will certainly stake its claim. With ten of the biggest records in the history of the genre and the freshest new talent bubbling from the underground, this summer’s Rock The Bells is another dream come true.”
ROCK THE BELLS will feature three main stages this year. The two returning stages are the ROCK THE BELLS STAGE and the PAID DUES STAGE, which will feature independent hip-hop acts that performed at the Paid Dues Festival this past April in San Bernardino and new artists-on-the-rise. Paid Dues Festival creator Murs says, “I am excited that I once again have the privilege of hosting the Paid Dues Stage. We will have the honor of showcasing some of the best talent in independent hip hop as part of the worlds largest and longest running hip hop festival… the Paid Dues stage is gonna be the one to watch this year.”
The 36 CHAMBERS STAGE is a new addition to the festival and will primarily feature members of the Wu-Tang Clan as well as artists selected by stage curator and Wu-Tang Clan mainstay RZA. A fourth stage that will also be added to most markets is the GRINDTIME NOW STAGE, which will feature battle-style performances.