The 2011 installment of the famed Rock the Bells festival already looks to be one for the books. Modeled on last year's "classics" theme, 10 acts are slotted to perform classic albums in their entirety, including Ms. Lauryn Hill's Miseducation, Black Star's eponymous release, Raekwon's Only Built 4 Cuban Linx with support from Ghostface, and the most intense of the hip-hop legend-gasms: AZ, Pete Rock, and DJ Premier joining Nas for his performance of Illmatic.
A screenshot from the "Wings" video, courtesy of Zia Mohajerjasbi.
But Seattle's own Macklemore can also be found in this top-to-bottom-solid mixture of both fresh and seasoned talent, standing out as the second artist to represent the Town in eight years of Rock the Bells (the Blue Scholars played it in 2008). He's also billed above Big K.R.I.T. and Freddie Gibbs, two of the best up-and-comers doing it--a great look for Mack, as well as his here-uncredited sonic partner Ryan Lewis.Other performers include Cypress Hill, Erykah Badu, Mobb Deep, Genius/GZA, Immortal Technique, Slaughterhouse, Mac Miller, Curren$y, Souls of Mischief, Childish Gambino, Blu + Exile + Fashawn, Evidence, and hosts RZA and Murs. The full lineup and updates can be found at Rock the Bells' website.
The festival, untethered from SoCal since 2006, will touch down in Los Angeles on Aug. 20 and San Francisco on Aug. 27 before heading east to New York and Boston in September. For a lineup like this one, you can bet I'll be making at least one trip to California this summer--and if you feel the same, presale tickets are available beginning June 3 with regular sale following the next day.