LL Cool J is bringing together rap’s finest for one day as his “personal love letter to Hip-Hop” returns to his hometown of Queens.
The new Rock The Bells Festival, will take place on Saturday, Aug. 6 at Forest Hills Stadium. The one-day historic event was announced on Monday (April 4) on LL’s Rock The Bells Radio by himself and the pioneering female emcee, Roxanne Shanté—who will host. The festival will feature performances by Ice Cube, Rick Ross, Lil Kim, The Diplomats: Cam’ron, Jim Jones, and Juelz Santana, Fat Joe, Remy Ma, Jadakiss, Scarface, Trina, N.O.R.E, Digable Planets, and more. Music will be provided by DJ Mister Cee and DJ Scratch.
“This festival is my way of showing love to the community of Hip-Hop and celebrating the incredible journey this culture has taken, going from DJ Kool Herc’s Sedgwick Avenue rec room, to the global phenomenon we all cherish today,” LL expressed in a statement. “Getting to bring some of the most iconic and influential Hip-Hop artists to the same stage, in my hometown and the city that started it all, is an honor and I can’t wait for everyone to see what we have in store for them.”
When speaking on the festival to Billboard, the-54-year-old shared, “I found that [fans] want to celebrate the culture, but they want it done in the right way. So the same way that The Stones get treated, Paul McCartney gets treated, and Bob Dylan gets treated, I wanted to see these artists treated that way.”
“The Rock The Bells festival is going to be different from any other festival you’ve attended, bringing great people, great vibes, and great music together to represent and celebrate the originality and greatness of Hip-Hop. With me as your host, you are guaranteed to have a nice day making Hip-Hop memories from dusk till dawn. Plzbelieveit baby,” The “Roxanne’s Revenge” rapper added in a statement.
Registration for pre-sale tickets was made available on Monday (April 4) at 10 a.m. ET and general tickets will be on sale this Friday (April 8) at 10 a.m. ET. Several VIP ticket packages will also be available for purchase. Rock The Bells will donate partial proceeds to the Universal Hip-Hop Museum in the Bronx, “whose mission is to celebrate and preserve the people, artifacts, and stories that echo from 1973 to the present.”
The festival will also kick off a week of live events, activations, and programming to celebrate the anniversary of Hip-Hop. For those unable to attend the festival, live coverage will be aired on Rock The Bells Radio, SiriusXM (Channel 43).
On the heels of the announcement, LL shared more details on his forthcoming album with fellow Queens legend, Q-Tip. “What I will say, for the record, I can’t tell people what it is, but I can tell people what it isn’t. What it isn’t is me and Q-Tip in a time warp. What it isn’t is me and Q-Tip chasing trends. You can use deductive reasoning from there and figure out the rest […] The songs that I wrote on the new record that’s coming have meaning. It’s coming from a whole other place. I think that it’ll hopefully touch people in a way that they can’t ever imagine. I don’t even think people can imagine or understand what this is,” the two-time Grammy winner explained.
“I’m gonna go a step further and Tip hates when I do this because he likes to facilitate my creative needs in terms of the music but I think he quarterbacked a masterpiece, B. I think what he did, forget me showing up on a record. It’s like he was the director in the movie and I was the actor. He directed a crazy movie, man.”
In a separate interview, The Abstract said of collaborating with the veteran rapper, “It’s been a blessing to get to work with your heroes. It’s everything to me. I tell him all the time, ‘You the archetype.’ He was the first superstar solo MC […] He put the fire in the back and to have the pleasure to build with him is amazing. I can’t wait for everyone to hear it.”
Watch the official trailer for Rock The Bells Festival featuring Ice Cube and Omar Epps below.