Review: Rock the Bells at Merriweather

Photos courtesy of my man Josh Sisk. Excuse me, SICK ASS photos courtesy of my man Josh Sisk.

Well it sure as hell went down. What an amazing day. After rain threatened our tailgate session we headed in just in time to catch the end of Immortal Technique. As he was killing it I surveyed the scene. Forgot how dope of a venue Merriweather is. The place was packed with hip-hop heads of all ages, races, styles and levels of intoxication and stimulation. An excellent scene and stage set for a great day of music.

The first act I remember settling in for was Rakim. Now I have seen this hip-hop Hall of Famer before and wrote about it here, but once again this legendary MC did not disappoint. Raekwon and Ghost were next and of course laid it down, performing songs from Only Built for Cuban Links (a sequel is to be released soon apprarently) as well as a memorable tribute to ODB. Oh, before I go on, I only remember Wale coming on stage for a song or two it was kind of a blur so not sure what was happening there.

De La took us for a trip down memory lane and was definitely a highlight of the day. Meth and Red brought the ruckus and were crowd-walking and stage diving/flipping. DC’s DJ Kool also came out for their set (I think, the beer was flowing at this point). The Pharcyde was up next and was a high point for me as I had never seen them, and they were impressive, had the crowd singing along to every track.

My friend Deez and I did make it over to the second stage for a bit and caught most of the Cool Kids set which was dope. Come to find out our friend Roxy Cottontail was over there hosting (we should have known she grew up down the street from Merriweather! – sry Rox!). We also ran into Diplo hanging out supporting friends Blaqstarr and Spankrock. We talked about his new Santo mixtape (check out the Gun of Brooklyn cover), invited us to the afterparty at Sonar and busted our balls when we told him to keep on pushing out that good shit – “everytime i go to the bathroom man.” ha.

Back over on the main stage, Mos Def was next and every time I see this cat he seems to get better. And he even played some Blackstarr tracks where Talib was sorely missed. Speak of Blaqstarr, I’m pretty sure he came out during Mos’ set?

Then Nas came out firing, and by judging by a lot of my friends opinions he was the best show of the day, laying down his tracks with a passion and a pissed off attitude. Thanking the fans for helping his album reach number 1 and telling FOX News to fuck themselves, he played old school tracks as well as numbers from his new album. Tip opened Tribes set with a solo performance (with Mos Def’s help) promoting his new solo album. Tribe delighted the crowd with all the classics and ended the show with an emphatic exclamation point. (Full disclosure – my friends wanted to leave halfway thru Tribe’s set. Needless to say I was disappointed.) Amazing day overall.

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