LL Cool J has an announcement to make, but first he has to make a quick stop at the bodega to pick up a few things.
Featuring performances from LL himself as well as hip-hop heavyweights such as Ice Cube and Rick Ross, the Aug. 6 fest will be held at Forest Hills Stadium in Queens. Roxanne Shanté is hosting the event, named after LL’s iconic 1985 song of the same name. Other artists on the lineup include Fat Joe and Remy Ma, Jadakiss, N.O.R.E., Trina, Digable Planets, Lil’ Kim, and Scarface. Jim Jones, Juelz Santana, and Cam’ron will give a not-to-be-missed set as The Diplomats, and more performers will be revealed as the date nears.
“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,” said LL Cool J. “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.”
In a conversation with Billboard, the 54-year-old said, “The energy and the goal has always been to elevate hip-hop culture and classic hip-hop culture and not allow all of these talented artists that we have be pushed to the sidelines just because at the current moment they might not have a song at the top of the Billboard charts. That doesn’t mean that they’re not valuable. … 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.”
Rock the Bells is to be produced by LL’s lifestyle brand and co-produced by AEG. “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,” said Shanté. “With me as your host, you are guaranteed to have a nice day making hip-hop memories from dusk till dawn. Plzbelieveit baby.”
The new Rock the Bells is not to be confused with the now defunct hip-hop event that ran from 2004-2013, as LL filed a lawsuit against the team behind the fest in 2018. The rapper and actor claimed the founder and promoter attempted to trademark the name in 2004. LL won the suit in 2019, per Billboard, allowing him to be the exclusive owner of the trademark.
Registration for pre-sale tickets kicked off today at 10 a.m. ET here; general admission tix are on sale Friday, April 8 at 10 a.m. ET. Check out the lineup below.