Rock the Bells Day 2 - San Manuel Amphitheater - September 8, 2013
|Front: A tired, but still personable Danny Brown. Back: A very, very awkward individual.|
|"Debo" at the Monster Energy area|
The ASAP Mob Knows How to Perform
While most acts with live instrumentation didn't seem to utilize their live instrumentation very well, the NYC-based ASAP Mob -- primarily ASAP Rocky -- sounded at home rapping over a live band. While ASAP Ferg, Nast, and Twelvyy all got their shot at riling up the crowd, it was ASAP Rocky who shined and showed his natural abilities as a performer. ASAP Rocky performed current favorites such as "Wild for the Night," but he thrived when playing songs such as "Wassup" and "Peso" while trouncing around on-stage like a polished rock frontman. The backing band only added to the codeine-coated atmosphere of his older hits, and Rocky once again showed that with the levels of charisma and style he has he was just born to be a star on a stage.
Best Hip-Hop Elder to Take the Stage: Juicy J
By now, most of us know how the story of Juicy J goes. After years of floating around and risking falling into a vacuum of irrelevancy, Juicy J saved his career from the brink of bar shows by tweaking and transforming his sound to evolve with age and usher in an era of drug-and-dance friendly hip-hop. Now, at Rock the Bells, Juicy J was allowed to get things going trippy. Juicy J began his set with "Stop It" and "Smokin, Rollin," two tracks from his new album Stay Trippy, and rolled through verse after verse of party-inciting drug-rap that the crowd in turn ate up like Xanax bars.
At the age of 38, Juicy J can perform marathon sets and keep his energy at a manic pace that most younger emcees can't match. Whatever he's doing to make himself a never-ending source of turn-up and crowd-pleasing power is working, because he's about to enter his 40's as one of the strongest rappers in the mainstream and one of the most relevant veterans in rap.