Photo Credit: Shamezo Lumukanda/Magyombo.com for AllHipHop.com
With the first of its three stops out of the way, Rock The Bells made its way to the Bay Area for the next stop in Mountain View, California this past weekend. Splitting the concerts between two stages (the main stage, and the RZA-endorsed “36 Chambers”), notable performances happened at times simultaneously, but there was more than enough good music to go around. Check the recap:
Pusha T gave a quick, spirited performance, announcing his arrival with his extended verse from Chief Keef and G.O.O.D. Music’s “I Don’t Like”, and spinning into verses from “Grindin'”, and an acapella from his Alley Boy collaboration, “Your Favorite Rapper”. He also performed “Exodus 23:1”, which got a pretty solid rise out of the crowd as they realized the nature of the song.
Naughty By Nature followed, with Vin Rock and the ever-so-charismatic Treach stealing the show with his off-top commentary, high energy, and, at times, silly antics (he stopped the entire show to create an imaginary clock/time-machine to rewind time back to 1991 – the year of their self-titled second album – before dropping another classic). Running through favorites like “O.P.P” (while chucking condoms into the crowd) “Hip Hop Hooray”, and more, they entertained from start to finish.
On the main stage, Tyga ran through several of his club bangers while performing solo, followed by Kendrick Lamar and his TDE brothers Ab-Soul, ScHoolboy Q, and Jay Rock. They were all introduced individually, and performed two to three solo songs apiece, but unfortunately they didn’t perform a Black Hippy collaboration (although it seemed like ScHoolboy Q was wanting to, as he was rhyming along to “Say Wassup” as they exited the stage).
Mac Miller was also on hand to run through a few of his songs, such as “Donald Trump” and “Frick Park Market”, and more. Back on the Wu Stage, Salt-N-Pepa was putting it down as if no time has elapsed since their last musical output whatsoever, performing crowd favorite “Push It”, and more.
DMX gave one of the more memorable performances on the 36 Chambers stage, performing regular smashes like “Ruff Ryders Anthem” and acapellas spreading the positive-vibe his concert gave off. Climbing up the speaker system on the side of the stage, he continued to rock, but nothing throughout the entire day got a bigger reaction than “Party Up”, although J. Cole’s set came relatively close.
Speaking of, J. Cole’s performance was one worth paying for solo. One of the bigger stage set-ups (it took about 20-25 minutes to change the set over), Cole came out and performed songs like “Lights Please”, “In the Morning”, and “Work Out”. He also performed verses from “Grew Up Fast” and “The Cure” over different, live instrumentation, to the pleasure of the crowd.
Meanwhile, on the 3 Chambers stage, Ice Cube and WC were ripping the show. Despite several warnings that they were out of time (“Yeah, I don’t give a f**k about that sh*t”, Cube said to W.C. at one point), he brought out his sons OMG and Dough Boy to perform cuts from Cube’s latest LP, I Am The West.
There were a few other acts of note as well, such as Yelawolf, A$AP Rocky (but no 2 Chainz appearance due to circumstances, we wish him the best), Juelz Santana and Dipset, Prodigy, and more, but the main event for the first night for most seemed to be the Method Man and Redman performance. Speeding through exclusives from their Blackout! album (and a few from Blackout! 2), slinging water into the crowd, and even crowd-surfing at one point, the performance was one of the great highlights of the entire festival, and although Kid Cudi was performing on the main stage, it was hard for that to match the energy of the crowd at the 36 Chambers late into the night.
One thing to note: almost every artist gave props to the legends before them, with special attention being shown to Tupac and Easy-E due to the concert location and artist affiliation. Regardless of the reasoning, it was good to see the artists show genuine appreciation. With a busy day in the books, day two on paper looked to be just as incredible.
We’re nowhere near finished our Rock The Bells coverage! Check back for Flicks and more recaps in the coming week.