On Saturday, Rock The Bells held its first-ever live concert festival in Queens, NY, bringing together classic Hip-Hop acts for a celebration of music and culture for fans of all ages to enjoy.
Founded in 2018 by Festival headliner LL Cool J, Rock The Bells has a mission to elevate Hip-Hop culture from its roots to the modern day via content, commerce and experiential moments. Saturday’s event at Forest Hill stadium far exceeded that goal, with families, fans, and Hip-Hop heads young and old gathered in unison to rap along with artists like Roxanne Shante, Scarface, N.O.R.E., Lil Kim, Ice Cube and many more.
Despite sweltering 93-degree temps, 13,000 fans packed out the Queens amphitheater and braved the heat as the show began with performances from Digable Planets, Large Professor, and a masterful set from DJ Scratch.
After appearances from Down South heavy hitters Scarface and Rick Ross, it was time for the ladies of Hip-Hop to take over. Trina captivated the crowd with an all-too-brief set on stage featuring her classic verse on Trick Daddy’s “Nann,” and her more recent verse on Latto’s “B*tch from the Souf (Remix).”
Even more femcee energy hit the stage next as Remy Ma, joined by frequent collaborator Fat Joe, took the stage and rocked the crowd with her hits “Conceited,” “Whuteva,” “Lean Back,” and “All the Way Up.” Remy even shared a special moment with her 3-year-old daughter Reminisce MacKenzie, decked out in Burberry and timidly waving to the crowd on cheering her mother on.
Next, the three-peat of girl power was punctuated by a high-energy performance from the Queen Bee herself, Lil Kim. Taking the stage in a two-piece sequined Dolce & Gabanna outfit with flag wavers, a team of dancers, a DJ and a live band, Kim pulled out Hip-Hop classics like “Big Momma Thang,” “I Can Love You,” “The Jump Off,” “Lighters Up,” and was of course joined by Lil’ Cease for “Crush On You.”
The evening was closed by crowd-rocking performances by Busta Rhymes, Ice Cube, and of course, LL himself, who was presented with presented with a key to the city and a proclamation acknowledging his influence and impact on the culture. Proceeds from ticket sales were donated to the Universal Hip-Hop Museum in the Bronx. While currently under construction, the museum’s mission is to celebrate and preserve the people, artifacts, and stories that echo from Hip Hop’s birth in 1973 to today.
Take a look at some of the most memorable moments of the Festival below: