We Took What We Want And Left Em Quiet As Hell

As you may have heard the long standing, now traveling, Rock The Bells hip hop festival announced it’s lineup this week. Most of it is predictably cargo shorts friendly -a reunited Tribe Called Quest, Nas, Rakim, Ghost & Rae (performing tOMGether as Cuban Linx), Red & Meth, De La, Rakim and The Pharcyde alongside talented newcomers like Wale, Jay Electronica & BOB. As usual it’s a pretty great lineup, and, as usual, it’s not great enough to justify eight hours of frat boy mud wrestling.

But what’s most surprising is the small pocket of weirdly ambiguous hipster artists that were invited to the party – Spank Rock, Kid Sister, Flosstradamus, Amanda Blank, Santogold. While I won’t get into any qualitative issues surrounding these acts, their presence alone says a lot. Either Rock The Bell’s organizers are making a shallow attempt to diversify their draw or the true hip hop gatekeepers have actually grown receptive to the Urb x Hollertronix community. If it’s the former. They Sold Out, Homie. (Though I guess if somebody has to get booed off the RTB stage in the name of diversity it’s better these guys than, say, Crime Mob.) If it’s the latter, then things are beginning to get interesting. That is if you find classism interesting, because it seems like that same silent fuel that powered the first wave of underground haterdom is again coming into play. Only rather than completely dismissing the music of present day poverty (you know, where this little thing called hip hop came from) these artists have adapted it to their needs by putting a wealthy/worldly/well educated/internet savvy twist on the records that the Rock The Bells scene developed in direct opposition to. They espouse values that several of the shows headliners built their fanbase by rallying against – namely dancing, looking fly and partying (you know, where this little thing called hip hop came from).

That this axis of hipsterdom seems to fill the gap left by the Paid Dues underground stage that was held at previous Rock The Bells is also telling. This year, instead of Sage Francis and MF Doom patrons will be blessed by the soothing sounds of Flosstradamus and Spank Rock. So is this the final blow in the battle for genre dominance amongst college kids who sort of like rap but not really? Are flamboyant keffiyehs officially the new fisherman hats? And is Jay Elect’s album seriously going to be called called Abracadabra: Let There Be Light? These questions and more will be answered at the Rock The Bells festival. You bring the woodpecker I’ll bring the wood (ayo!).

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  • myspace.com/yeahirap

    I thought I was the only one bugging on that garbage they added to the list.Kid Sister is horrible frill those other artist I have not even listened to I love listening to new artist if they dope but if their in the mold that their name indicates then I may be pressed to listen to it.I have not been to rock the bells since 2004 I really want to go to this show my Goat,and number two on my list on the same bill plus Red And MEth, Rae And Ghost I would pay just for that.I think I will be showing up late on this one save myself the trouble of having to stand there for eight hours to hear some bullshit about some finger nails.

    • http://www.cocaineblunts.com/ noz

      Yeah I would gladly drop 100 bucks on a Red/Meth/Rae/Ghost show provided it took place at a small venue.

      But put them in a cornfield and no thanks.

      • Ryan

        I dropped 25 on the Red/Meth blackout tour which had a “surprise” Ghost/Cappadonna set (a full set, not 10 minutes of nut grabbing and two verses like most “surprise” sets are). The Outsidaz (sans Eminem and Rah Digga) and EdOG rocked it too. I even walked away with a Blackout tour t shirt that glowed in the dark (which I still have). Still one of the best shows I ever saw in my entire life.

  • myspace.com/yeahirap

    my bad about spelling they’re wrong the first time but I will go home to listen to the artist that I have not heard of Immortal Technique Is On There As Well Dope Mos Def Dead Prez I Am Going To This Show But The Time I Get There I Do Not Know

  • http://gooddoctorzeus.blogspot.com DocZeusX

    Ah, you’re just annoyed that it’s not 8 hours of Too Short, Three Six Mafia and D4L. They already have a concert like that and it’s called Summer Jam. And it ALWAYS sucks.

    • http://trentontakes.blogspot.com bding7

      fabolous, kanye and weezy f. is not the same as what you proposed. at least your lineup is entertaining. i have no tolerance for william h. bonney and that “brooklyn” crap.

  • http://haterplayer.blogspot.com/ fakerthanfake

    i think it’s more of the former reason. they’re trying to get that coachella money so they get those coachella artists. something they started last year by getting rage, which i saw as more of a money-maker than a statement that rage belongs to hiphop more than rock.

    the financial results of this show-promoting experience will be the final blow in the genre battle. if it works, we’ll see a lot more of those artists you love so much like pacific division. and if it doesn’t, we can still keep it real and shit.

    ps. what’s with rockthebells’ anti-south lineups? no outkast ever? not even just bigboi?

  • jollyrench

    Rakim and Nas are in my top 5, I would pay 100 bucks just to see those two.

  • Neven

    8 hours is just another day at work(if you work) come on most of us will be so high or drunk are you gonna really care about spank rock in the back round or are you gonna muscle your way to the front when your boys come out or when the others leave………….. thats what I’ll do get drunk down back and let the music keep me awake up front…………………. Plus look at the line up the PROs outweigh the no talent…………

  • http://suckapunk.blogspot.com Suckapunkin’

    What was up with the headline, you fucking tease? Get me hoping against hope for the Goodie Mob reunion and then just talk about some hipsters? What kind of bitch move is that?

  • Tray

    I don’t think classism has much to do with underground haterdom. Well, at least not my hate. I think it’s more about anti-ignorance. Now, ignorance can be a product of poverty, but it’s not a necessary product of poverty; take someone who you like, Killer Mike. Now, maybe his stuff is not the music of present day poverty (although he came out of poverty) for, in part, that very reason, maybe poor Atlantans by and large prefer Gucci Mane, but no one has an obligation to take what the poor listen to seriously, just because that’s where hip-hop originally came from. Any more than we have some obligation to not be dismissive of Tyler Perry movies because poor people like them. Personally, I prefer rap about poverty to rap about some middle-class sort of lifestyle (like a Kanye or Roots), I just don’t like stuff that’s really dumb. What defines really dumb? Well, you know it when you hear it.

    • http://haterplayer.blogspot.com/ fakerthanfake

      but if you don’t listen to what poor people listen to, you run the risk of not listening to what poor people are saying. if poor people don’t have a voice in hip-hop anymore and they fall in the margins again …. well, whats the point?

      • Tray

        They have a voice, I just don’t have to listen to all of their voices, nor am I a classist for choosing not to do so.

  • P-Matik

    “And is Jay Elect’s album seriously going to be called called Abracadabra: Let There Be Light?”

    As long as E. Badu is around it will be. Holla.

  • Mean Green

    Dayum gotta hit Target to cop some cargo shorts.

    This lineup would’ve really been dope if they added Lil’ Brother. Oh well there’s always my ‘Getback’ cd.

  • Dante

    Spank Rock is ass.

  • KQ

    i was reminded of this : a drunk el p dissing spank rock…


  • bbbones

    the chicago show is the same day as the pitchfork festival, ghost & rae are playing chicago for pitchfork and toronto for rock the bells the same day

  • Supreme Neck Protector

    From what I can tell, it’s the former– the “SAVE REAL HIP HOP!!!!!” types I know don’t feel anything one way or the other about Kid Sister and the like. The only people I see giving that shit persistent attention are hipsters who happen to like hip-hop, but would really rather be listening to M.I.A. and Gnarls Barkley all day, as opposed to the other way around.

    Then again, most of the cats I know who would completely flip for this lineup also bug out to King and Tha Carter 2 and that, so I dunno if that says anything.

  • CeezDiem

    Sheesh? Hatin’ much?

    Santogold is talented. The Cool Kids have some songs that knock. Wale is in the building. Kid Sister is basically the Urb version of Lil Mama (who youd prolly not hate on as much since she DIDNT go to college)

    I was at last years ny show, and didnt even leave the mainstage area. Sage Francis, noooooo thanks homie? Murs over Rakim? Basically the small stage only got love from kids too lazy to elbow their way into Cypress or Public Enemy.

    But your whole poverty music argument stinks. Run DMC, De La and a host of hip-hops greats didnt come out of abject poverty. They lived middle class lives. If you got talent, who gives a shit. Just dont fake the funk.

    I’m guessing as a WHITE, you wanna throw ‘hipsters’ under the bus before anyone accuses YOU of being one. Its like hip-hop McCarthyism. Be easy, kid.

    • http://www.cocaineblunts.com/ noz

      “But your whole poverty music argument stinks. Run DMC, De La and a host of hip-hops greats didnt come out of abject poverty. They lived middle class lives. If you got talent, who gives a shit. Just dont fake the funk.”

      Nah you’re missing the point. Nobody’s saying that there’s an income cut off for participation in hip hop. Middle class rappers have made some of the best music ever, but they played to the culture. I am talking about this separatist shit – kids playing Three 6 Mafia mash ups for a crowd that would otherwise be indifferent to (or despise) Three 6 Mafia. Remix gentrification.

      I’ve been called worse things on the internet than ‘hipster’. I can live with that one.

      • Tray

        So you’re a classist if you don’t like Three 6 or don’t play to their culture? I like them, but there are all kinds of legitimate reasons not to – uber-misogynist, none of the remaining members can rap, all their beats sound alike, all they talk about is causing riots in clubs and robbing people, Crunchy Black is literally retarded, etc.

  • http://www.myspace.com/sinistahmoneybagz Sinistah aka 7Body Sin aka The King Of Choco-Chicks

    damn i wanna catch the show in NYC because it’s gonna be on my birthday, and what a better way to spend it than to be around a bunch of chaos, disorder, and broads with chew-sticks and costume jewelry with racks i’d let my album sit on for decades…….

    fuck it, ya’ll get the point, i’d enjoy catching the show, so hopefully next month i’ll be able to get a ticket and join the festivities……

    Jer-z Up, Jer-z Out, Peace 2 Mankind!

  • CeezDiem


    I see your point. When it seemed like every white critic in the world LOVED dipset, i just rolled my eyes. Same with Breihan sweating the shit out of three-6 or the Clipse.

    but at the end of the day, some ACTUALLY do like it, while others just like it for the novelty. but that can be said about Mariah Carey, D4L, kanye, or anyone else that makes a jam, guilty pleasure or not. Do indie artists have to be more “real” than their major label competitors/counterparts?

    I think Rock The Bells doing some new shit is to be commended. Indie rap shit STAYS losing. And this coming from someone who has an open mind to it. These new cats are getting some attention and actually have some (gasp!) DANCEABLE songs. You mean there may be GIRLS and FUN at the indie stage this year? Perish the thought!

    There’s a difference between “Selling out” and trying to “Sell Tickets”. Complain now, but if it kept being a buncha no-one-cares emo-rap no one would come to the shit, then we’d all be reading a blog about the sad demise of the awesomest show since Smoking Grooves or whatever.

  • Dollar Wells

    I like the fact that Amanda Blank raps circles around the d-bags in Spank Rock.

  • Prophecy_Projectz

    Its kinda depressing knowing that a lineup like this is now referred to as “Cargo Short”friendly when its got some of the greatest MC’s of all time on it and ones I would think would attract a mixed audience of black and white. lol

  • rec

    This is one of the rare times I don’t fully agree with you noz. Hip Hop is turning more and more “Partisan” these days and I think addig new categories is not helping. WTF is a hipster anyway; a 21st century beatnik? I thought you were above this kinda stuff mang?! The fakes always get weeded out…eventually

  • http://rosenbergradio.com bsidewinzagain

    I think it’s worth noting that some of the hipster shit sort of apes rap music. I saw Kid Sister open up for Chromeo (how hipster is that?), and in addition to sort of sucking, her shtick seemed to be sort of making fun of 80s and 90s girl rap. Now that’s not to say that there’s no genuine appreciation, but its a fine line between appreciation and blackface, and she is walking it. When you consider the fact that hipster critics like Tom Breihan praise some of the worst elements of rap music, we shouldn’t be surprised that hipster rap has elements of the same thing.

  • KeepItReal

    “They espouse values that several of the shows headliners built their fanbase by rallying against – namely dancing, looking fly and partying (you know, where this little thing called hip hop came from).”

    1) B-boying or break DANCING, one of the core elements of hip-hop.
    2) name a point in time where hip-hop artists, regardless of wealth DIDN’T want to look fly.
    3) hip-hop was BUILT at AT parties. Kool Herc rockin at Cedar Park,179th Street & Sedgwick.

    Soooooo what’s the issue?