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Rock the Bells ’11 Has the Best Hip-Hop Lineup Ever!


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Forget Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza, Austin City Limits, etc. Rock the Bells has the most jaw-dropping lineup this summer. The annual roving hip-hop festival has an amazing lineup that looks like the Woodstock of Rap. For the second year in a row, Ms. Lauryn Hill will headline the fest with a full album performance of The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, but that's only the beginning. Nine other classic hip-hop albums will also be performed at Rock the Bells, which will also boast an entire stage dedicated to the Wu-Tang Clan and more than two dozen of the best up-and-coming rappers in the game.

Two of the three discs in our personal Holy Trinity of hip-hop albums -- Nas' Illmatic and GZA's Liquid Swords -- will both be performed in full. (Unless B.I.G. gets resurrected to do Ready to Die, this is the closest we'll come to seeing the Trinity performed at one fest.) Nas is bringing along Pete Rock, DJ Premier, and AZ, whose verse on "Life's a Bitch" quickly wrote his ticket into rap history. On the RZA-hosted Wu stage, Raekwon and Ghostface will also tackle their legendary Only Built 4 Cuban Linx (the original, not the sequel) and Masta Killa's No Said Date. Figure each Clan member will make appearances throughout the others' sets -- GZA needs Ghostface on "4th Chamber" -- with a Wu encore to close it out. We'd pay top dollar for that stage alone, but there's an overwhelming amount more.

Cypress Hill will play Black Sunday, Mobb Deep will perform The Infamous (another Top 10 album for us), Mos Def and Talib Kweli will revive their beloved Black Star and perform their lone album together (this is the top draw at the fest for a lot of rap fans), Black Moon will end their five-year hiatus to showcase their 1993 album Enta Da Stage. That's just the full album performances. Erykah Badu, Curren$y, Big K.R.I.T., Childish Gambino (Community's Donald Glover), Random Axe, Roc Marciano, and Freddie Gibbs, are also on the bill. We're already getting anxious about how we're feasibly going to catch all these acts.

Like last year, Rock the Bells will only make four stops: Los Angeles on August 20th, San Francisco on August 27th, New York's Governors Island on September 3rd, and Boston on September 10th. Full ticket details are here.

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