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Rock the Bells adds third stage

Traveling hip-hop festival to bring more acts to Southern California stop over two consecutive days

July 12, 2012|By Gerrick D. Kennedy
  • Killer Mike is among the hip-hop artists added to the bill of this year's Rock the Bells festival.
Killer Mike is among the hip-hop artists added to the bill of this year's… (Francine Orr/ Los Angeles…)

Rock the Bells is beefing up the Southern California stop of the annual traveling hip-hop festival by adding a third stage.

Chang Weisburg of Guerilla Union, promoters of the annual hip-hop festival, announced Thursday on Big Boy’s morning radio show on Power 106 that they planned to tap at least an additional 10 acts --  bringing more than 50 hip-hop acts to San Bernardino's NOS Events Center on Aug. 18-19.

Weisburg confirmed that they had already added Killer Mike, EL-P, Xzibit, KRS-One and Slim the Mobster, with more acts expected to be announced.

In May, promoters revealed they were taking a cue from Coachella’s recent experiment with déjà vu and announced this year's event would be held on two consecutive days in each of its three host cities.

After a few years in which the festival devoted headlining slots to veteran lyricists performing seminal albums in their entirety (Lauryn Hill, Nas, Cypress Hill, Slick Rick and Wu-Tang Clan have all performed classic works), this year's roster leans heavily toward more agile voices and a slew of buzzy upstarts and current chart-toppers.

A$AP Rocky, Kendrick Lamar, Mac Miller, Tyga, 2 Chainz, Yelawolf and Dom Kennedy lead the freshman class of MCs, while Lupe Fiasco, Wiz Khalifa, J. Cole, Pusha T and Kid Cudi pull from the current crop of hitmakers.

Though the festival is feeling young with this year's lineup, organizers left plenty of space for veterans on their roster. DMX and Eve will reunite onstage, Method Man and Redman are expected to perform their iconic joint disc, “Blackout,”  and all five members of Bone Thugs-N-Harmony will reunite for the first time in more than 20 years to perform a tribute to Eazy E and tackle their breakout album, “E. 1999 Eternal.”

Nas, Ice Cube, E-40 and Too $hort, DJ Quik, Naughty by Nature, Big Daddy Kane, Salt-N-Pepa, Slick Rick, Prodigy and the reunion of 1990’s East Coast collective Hit Squad round out the elder statesmen and women of hip-hop.

Sadly, Missy Elliott and Timbaland, who were previously expected to make their highly anticipated onstage reunion, have seemingly disappeared from the bill.

Last year, Lauryn Hill, Nas, Cypress Hill, Erykah Badu, Mos Def and Talib Kweli, Mobb Deep, Raekwon and Ghostface and the GZA headlined the festival.

After San Bernardino's NOS Events Center show, the festival moves to Mountain View, Calif., on Aug. 25 and 26 before it wraps Sept. 1 and 2 in Holmdel, N.J.

Ticket can be found on the festival's website.

Follow me @GerrickKennedy

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