If you are looking at your calendar, perplexed as to where this year went, you are not alone. The fall brings promises of hot album releases and of course, the end of the summer’s ultimate hip-hop fest, Rock the Bells (RTB). Making plans to attend my 5th year, I switched things up and will go to LA’s and SF’s to compare and contrast. With the availability of single day tickets (a plus), this helped out in my decision.
Attending Sunday’s show in the same venue as March’s Paid Dues festival, I was a little leery . Mildly frustrated about the Paid Dues traffic, parking situation and the location of the VIP area (first world probs, yes, I know) last time around, all of those concerns evaporated yesterday. Arriving around 2 PM, there was virtually no traffic, I parked close and they moved the larger VIP area into a place that made better sense, making it a little easier to visit three stages (which weren’t side-by-side, another improvement). Throughout the day, folks regaled me with stories of how dope the Eazy E hologram was during the Bone Thugs set and how wrecked people were the day before.
Planning my day around meet and greets (there was an impressive group in the VIP lounge all day) with as many performances as I could see, I knew it was going to be busy. I somehow met Rapsody , 9th Wonder, Freddie Gibbs, Dilated Peoples, Casey Veggies, Joey Bada$$, Medusa, Dom Kennedy, Deltron 3030 and Doug E. Fresh. I also witnessed Prof, Futuristic, D-Why and Dizzy Wright (who repped with his Funk Volume crew earlier in the day) freestyle in a cypher hosted by Kel Mitchell. Set wise, I saw Danny Brown, Dilated Peoples (who brought out Fashawn), J. Cole, Rakim and Wu Tang Clan’s set featuring an initially tech-challenged ODB hologram. Virtual OBD joined Wu for two songs after an abrupt delay that clearly frustrated Method Man but once it was resolved, it looked impressive onstage. Tired, tanned and thankful, I had a lot of fun. Am hyped to see what lies ahead in Mountainview!