Whew, that was a close one! For a minute there, it looked like Lauryn Hill would be headlining this year's Rock the Bells tour. It's a good thing the exclusive(!) press release put out by yesterday afternoon by URB magazine turned out to be some ol' bullshit.

In retrospect, the dead giveaway should have been right there in the press release, where it says URB spoke to an insider with Rock the Bells, and they wouldn't confirm that Lauryn Hill was headlining this year's festival... but they wouldn't deny it either! (No really, it says this.) Tha fuck kind of bullshit is that? Couldn't you say that about pretty much anything? Like, "I spent some quality time this morning with Miley Cyrus, and while she won't confirm that I'll be the first grown-ass man to beat it up once she reaches the legal age of consent, she won't deny that shit either!" I could see if they presented it as a rumor, and something that could just as easily not happen (which it didn't), but they tagged it as exclusive(!) and sent it out in an email blast, as if it were all but certain.

Not that I'm complaining. I could give a rat's ass about seeing Lauryn Hill, especially at this point in her career. I wouldn't even bother still going after Lauryn Hill, if I were them. The lineup in its current state is already pretty much the best rap lineup possible, in 2010. It's a good thing they have to book so many groups only white people are interested in, so it doesn't get shot up or anything.

I was seriously thinking about checking out this year's Rock the Bells, I was just waiting to see the lineup. I haven't been since I flew out to New York for Rock the Bells '07, when Rage and the Wu were headlining. (Particularly old people might remember when I wrote about it here.) I was meaning to go the last couple of years, but it just didn't work out. They added a date in Chicago, which would have worked out well for me, but it was the same day as Lollapalooza - and obviously I'm not gonna miss a rock concert to go to a motherfucking rap concert. I suppose I could have gone to one of the dates in New York or California, but they both seem like such a long way to travel, unless it's for a very special occasion, like Rage playing one of their firsts shows since they up and disappeared for the duration of the Bush administration, and my first chance to see the entire Wu-Tang Clan (except for Ol' Dirty, obvs) perform together. I probably wouldn't have bothered, if I hadn't missed Rage and the Wu when they toured together back in the mid to late '90s.

This year, I figured I might have to check out Rock the Bells even if it was the same day as Lollapalooza. I don't have tickets for Lolla this year, and I'm probably not going, since everyone I want to see there I've already seen at least once or twice, if not a few times (and I don't even go to that many concerts), and everyone there I don't want to see I really don't want to see, even if it were free. Part of it's that I'm scheduled to have eye surgery that same week, and I'm not sure if I want to run the risk of spending that much money and not being able to go, or having it be an awful experience. Having been blind out of one eye for some time now (it's not as bad as you'd think), I'm not as worried about not being able to see as I am about being on all kinds of drugs, standing out in the blazing sun, gorging myself on the great American lager. I could fuck around and end up being that one guy you always hear about dying at one of these festivals.

Alas, there is no Rock the Bells in Chicago this year anyway. If I do go, it'll have to be one of the four dates on either of the coasts: two in California, one in DC and one in NY. I caught an interview earlier today with the guy who does Rock the Bells, and he was saying that it had something to do with favoring the cities that have been most supportive of Rock the Bells, and Rock the Bells eventually becoming a two day-long festival - presumably, a destination festival on either of the coasts, a la Coachella and the aforementioned Lollapalooza. If they can get a big-ass venue, like the ones where those festivals are held, and jack the prices up to like $200, they could probably make way more money in one day than in an entire summer of traveling state to state with a gaggle of incident-prone rappers, playing cities like Houston, where there might only be a small handful of real hip-hop fans, despite it being one of the biggest cities in America, right behind New York and LA. I wonder if they had similar problems in Chicago, another big city. I know they didn't have to cancel or anything. Did Chicago lose an entire festival, just because people in the South don't know from good rap music? Damn.

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