Top Five Acts You Can't Miss at Rock The Bells

Categories: Hip-Hop, festivals
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OC Weekly
Nas and AZ at Rock the Bells 2011

The twilight of the summer festival circuit is fast approaching, and hip-hop's foray into all the sweaty, sometimes expensive action -- Rock the Bells -- is just a few days away. As always, the lineup for this year's festivities spans across all sides of the genre, and Guerilla Union is offering up a schedule of performers varied enough for anyone to find something enjoyable to see at any time of the day. You could be hyped up to see Dipset, and are currently sorting out your collection of variously colored bandanas and American flags to accessorize your outfit with. You might want to just get stoned and stagger to Bone Thugs, Method Man, Redman, and Kid Cudi. Perhaps you just want to indulge in your KDAY reveries with Xzibit, DJ Quik, and Ice Cube or pretend like you're listening to a live Power 106 broadcast with Wiz Khalifa, J Cole, E-40 and Too Short. Maybe you want to dig deep down into the poet's lounge lyricism with KRS-One, or get gully and take your ears to the street with Wu Block.

Or, you could just be in attendance to enjoy the swansong of the summer festival season and will end up bouncing between booths, places where they sell food and alcohol, and the areas where you hear "Rack City," and "O.P.P." All of that aside, there's at least five acts you shouldn't allow yourself to miss out on, regardless of where you may end up this weekend, and that is why we have compiled this list.
5. El-P
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El-P is indie hip-hop's most intense elder statesman, and has several admirable endeavors under his belt. In his climb to the end of his thirties, the Caucasian New Yorker has released classic solo albums such as 2002's "Fantastic Damage" and 2007's "I'll Sleep When You're Dead," and added strokes of brilliance to group efforts such as 90's group Company Flow and paranoid indie-hoppers Cannibal Ox. Outside of the creative side of music, he's also been one of underground hip-hop's most involved businessmen, having ran the seminal label Definitive Jux for a long period of time. Five years after the release of his last album -- and five years older -- El-P seems to be in his prime. Having handled production duties on Killer Mike's phenomenal "R.A.P. Music" and just finished putting out his own equally great "Cancer 4 Cure," El-P's career looks to be devoid of any slumps or slowdowns, and he's just as relevant and sharp as ever.

4. Deltron 3030

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Together, notable musical progressives Del Tha Funkee Homosapien, Kid Koala, and Dan the Automator make up the space-hop team Deltron 3030. For those in the know, you are already familiar with how the story unfolds: three incredibly talented professionals unite like Voltron for one legendary album, then kind of just separate into their own lanes before coming together for another triumphant glide to glory over a decade later. For those who think Deltron 3030 just sounds like the name of a shitty computer program, peep this: going to watch the futuristic trio perform will be like witnessing the Native Tongues posse throw a show in the early 90's, but in the year 3000. Not just that, but as of late they have been performing songs from the highly anticipated sequel to their original classic, and have successfully utilized an entire orchestra during a recent Canadian set. Come on, how many hip-hop acts can implement a full-fledged army of instrumentation in their live show and not come off as pretentious? Exactly.

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