Guerilla Union announced the line-up for their 2011 Rock The Bells Festival Series with their official launch party on Tuesday night (May 24) at Hollywood’s House of Blues on Sunset.
While there’s an array of seminal and up-and-coming hip-hop artists on three stages, it was the headliners who got the attention, which include Ms. Lauryn Hill, Nas, Erykah Badu, and Cypress Hill.
This year’s festival will make stops in 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. Then, it will to the east coast for a show in New York on September 3 at Governor’s Island, before wrapping in Boston on September 10.
After some historical moments last summer, where a number of Rock The Bells’ headliners performed their most influential albums in their entirety, the tradition will continue this year as well.
Hill will be performing her landmark, multi-platinum selling album, The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill; and Nas will perform his breakthrough debut album, Illmatic with special guests AZ, Pete Rock and DJ Premier.
“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,” Nas explained. “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; Mos Def & Talib Kweli Are Black Star performing their 1998 self-titled debut album; Raekwon and Ghostface teaming up for critically acclaimed, platinum selling Only Built 4 Cuban Linx; and Mobb Deep will be performing their classic 1995 sophomore release, The Infamous.
That’s one hell of a line-up right?
“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 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.
There will also be the 36 Chamber Stage, which 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.
In addition to the festival dates, Guerilla Union has teamed with new strategic partner House of Blues/Live Nation for an intimate Rock The Bells club tour featuring select artists on dates surrounding the festival shows. Further details about the club tour was unknown at press time.
Hosts include RZA, Murs, and MC Supernatural. For more info, visit RockTheBells.net.
Artists confirmed for the 2011 Festival are as follows:
Ms. Lauryn Hill – The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill +
Nas – Illmatic +
Cypress Hill – Black Sunday +
Mos Def & Talib Kweli Are Black Star +
Raekwon & Ghostface – Only Built for Cuban Linx +
Mobb Deep – The Infamous +
The GZA – Liquid Swords +
Souls of Mischief – 93 ’til Infinity +
Blu & Exile
Masta Killah – No Said Date +
+ notes full-album sets
* notes performance on select dates only
Tour dates are as follows:
8/20 – San Bernardino, CA @ San Manuel Amphitheater
8/27 – Mountain View, CA @ Shoreline Amphitheatre
9/03 – New York, NY @ Governor’s Island
9/10 – Boston, MA