This year’s Rock The Bells really is the Costco of hip-hop festivals. Pretty much anyone who’s anyone in the hip-hop world (plus some dead rappers) will be at Mountain View’s Shoreline Amphitheater this weekend. There is literally something for every kind of hip-hop fan out there, with more artists packed into those two days than weed in a Juicy J blunt.
Perennial RTB performers Wu-Tang Clan, Doug E Fresh & Slick Rick, Rakim, Bone Thugs N Harmony, and KRS-ONE will holding it down for the old school. Meme-rap stars Riff Raff, Danny Brown, and Trinidad James will bring their WTF-brands of rap. On the rise Brooklyn youngsters Flatbush Zombies and Joey Bada$$ will be present.
And even though the backpack era is over, mid-aughts underground luminaries such as Talib Kweli, Immortal Technique, Brother Ali, and Tech Nine will transport you back to a not so distant 2005. Headliners Kid Cudi, the entire A$AP and Black Hippy crews, hyphy super duo E-40/Too $hort, and Girl Talk (who might throw down a more hip-hop influenced set) will cap off the long weekend.
But the talk of the festival is not anyone listed above or anyone who has a heart beat. Hologram versions of Easy-E and Ol’ Dirty Bastard will appear in intangible 3D form. To catch a preview of their set you can watch performances of E and Dirty from last weekend’s Rock The Bells LA.
It’s easy to snark or scoff at a somewhat preposterous idea, but as someone who was witnessed hologram Tupac the first weekend at Coachella, I can fully attest that hologram rappers is as awesome as it sounds. I distinctly remember one guy in the crowd who literally thought Tupac had come back from the dead — granted he may have been tripping hard. So make sure to circle the two hologram shows on your setlist.
If you’re planning to travel via Caltrain, know that trains only leave from SF at the 15 of the hour. More importantly, the last train to leave Mountain View on Saturday is 10:49 and the last train on Sunday is at 9:19. Plan accordingly as you sure as hell don’t want to pay for a $120 cab back to the city.
Saturday recommendations: Tyler The Creator, Chief Keef, Supernatural, Action Bronson, Pusha T, Flatbush Zombies, A$AP Mob, E-40 & Too $hort
Sunday recommendations: Juicy J, Deltron 3030, Rakim, Riff Raff, Earl Sweatshirt, Trinidad James, Danny Brown, Joey Bada$$, Black Hippy, Wu-Tang Clan.
2013 Rock The Bells Festival
Sat/14, Sun/15, $65.50-$239
1 Amphitheatre Pkwy, Mountain View