Every year around this time, rumors are swirling of what the next installment of Guerilla Union’s Rock the Bells will bring. While information leaked earlier on the day of the lineup announcement that Lauryn Hill would be performing The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill in its entirety turned out to be incorrect, the leaked information did reveal one important piece of information: The theme of this year’s Rock the Bells.
The main stage at this year’s Rock the Bells will feature artists performing four classic albums in their entirety. Slick Rick will be performing the Great Adventures of Slick Rick. Krs-One will be performing Criminal Minded. Rakim will be performing Paid In Full. The Wu-Tang Clan will be performing Enter the 36 Chambers. This is a once in a life time chance to see these artists perform their seminal works in their entirety.
Chang Weisberg revealed that the idea for having artists perform their albums in this manner started at this year’s Smokeout, where Cypress Hill performed Black Sunday in its entirety. This was a powerful experience that helped him to see how the fans would react to something like this. The performing of an album from start to finish is nothing new; Roger Waters has been performing Dark Side of the Moon and The Wall. This has been something that Chang Weisberg and his staff have been dreaming and having many conversations about. Thankfully for fans this dream is coming together. Rza stated that having never performed 36 Chambers in its entirety before was an enticement to be a part of this very special Rock the Bells. While he stresses that it will not be easy to fill ODB’s part and is still not sure how they will do it, he did say that if anyone can do it, it’s his son: “He is my first choice.”
While some fans of this festival series will be surprised to see that number of cities that will host Rock the Bells will be limited to four (Los Angeles (returning back to the original Rock the Bells home, The Nos Center), Washington, and New York, Weisberg states that the decision to do so was directly related to their long term goal: “These four cities have been the most supportive. We picked two cities on the east, and two on the west because the long term goal is to be able to turn Rock the Bells into a two day festival. “
Weisberg stresses that fans should continue to check the website (http://www.rockthebells.net/) for additions to the lineup. While Rza and Weisberg both stressed that they want to see Run DMC on the bill, they want to stress that anything could happen and if not this year, perhaps somewhere down the line. With so many classic albums, Weisberg admitted that this year’s approach could create a lot of momentum.
In addition to these artists performing their classic albums, fans can look forward to hearing some Rock The Bells/Paid Dues veterans as well as artists who are making their debut: Street Sweeper Social Club, Murs and 9th Wonder, Wiz Khalifa, Clipse, Immortal Technique, Jedi Mind Tricks, Brother Ali, DJ Muggs and Ill Bill, Big Sean, Yelawolf, and it will be hosted by Supernatural and DJ Rocky Rock. Bboys and Bgirls will also be given the spotlight through the top international break dancing platform Freestyle Sessions. When URB asked Chang Weisberg if there was any discussion for Premo to perform and do a tribute to Guru, Weisberg responded, “We are 100% in talks. We were not able to get anything done before the lineup came out because he is in Australia. “Fans are encouraged to check the lineup over the next couple of weeks to see if Premo or any other additions will be made.