Rock the Bells - San Manuel Amphitheater - Sept 7 & 8, 2013
Rock the Bells Hip-Hop Festival
Timothy Norris Danny Brown
San Manuel Amphitheater
9/7/13 - 9/8/13
This weekend was the 10th anniversary of hip-hop festival Rock the Bells. Anticipated for its reunions, game changing new artists, and ODB and Eazy-E holograms, it was two days for hip-hop fans and artists to connect. Still, we wish things had gone better.
Even aside from the (unavoidable) blazing heat and clouds of dust following everyone around like Pig-Pen, it was poorly run...
Event staff was often unable to answer our questions, and security continually changed their minds about whether or not our press credentials were valid in certain areas. Set times were changed without notice.
Attendees weren't notified when Action Bronson was switched out in favor of Fashawn, and there were many, highly noticeable technical difficulties during the biggest sets. To top off, it took over an hour to get out of the parking lot Sunday night.
Still, there were a number of performances that stood out, and here are reviews of five of those sets.
Bone Thugs-N-Harmony and Eazy-E hologram
Max Bell Bone Thugs-N-Harmony / Eazy-E
Saturday marked the 20th Anniversary of Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, a group from Cleveland that became became gigantic, particularly in L.A. Bone Thugs' popularity on the West Coast is no doubt partially due to their initial deal with Ruthless Records, co-founded by the late Eazy-E, who would've been celebrating his 50th birthday on Saturday.
Though they have nearly two decades of material, Bone Thugs knew the audience wanted to hear the hits. "1st of Tha Month" and "Days of Our Livez" followed "Thuggish Ruggish Bone," and the chronically-sated crowd exhaled plumes of enthusiasm. Still, anticipation mounted for the billed Eazy-E hologram.
After "Resurrection (Paper, Paper)" -- three quarters of the way through the set -- Bone Thugs brought out former N.W.A. DJ/producer DJ Yella. That's when hologram Eazy beamed down to the sound of "Real Muthaphuckkin G's," pacing between the quintet members. In his trademark Compton hat and khaki pants, with his digital jerri curl dripping pixels, hologram Eazy performed his verse on "Straight Outta Compton" and part of "Boyz-n-the-Hood."
The hologram Eazy also rhymed on the Bone Thugs classic "Foe the Love of $," but vanished immediately after his verse. Bone Thugs essentially closed their fantastic set with their Eazy-E tribute, "Tha Crossroads." From the voices singing along in the audience, it was clear everyone felt the hologram, much like the long deceased Wright, was gone too soon.