LL Cool J Announces Inaugural Rock The Bells Music Festival - Rolling Stone
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LL Cool J Turns Quick Bodega Run Into Rock the Bells Festival Lineup Announcement

The inaugural event in Queens, New York will feature appearances from Ice Cube, Lil Kim, Rick Ross, Jadakiss, Fat Joe, Remy Ma, and more

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. There’s the Rick Ross cigar, the Jadakiss chapstick, a few Digable Planets gumballs, a canister of Fat Joe and Remy Ma espresso ground coffee, Lil Kim chocolates, a DJ Scratch card, and the DJ Mister Cee peanut butter. Everything he couldn’t find there, he’ll just pick up in Queens, New York, where he’s headed with Ice Cube in the official trailer for his first Rock the Bells music festival.

The inaugural concert from LL Cool J’s hip-hop platform is scheduled to take place in the rapper’s hometown of Queens, Aug. 6 at Forest Hills Stadium.

“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,” LL Cool J said in a statement. “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.”

The fest’s lineup is packed with hip-hop legends like LL Cool J with DJ Z-Trip, Ice Cube, Rick Ross, Lil Kim, The Diplomats (featuring Cam’ron, Jim Jones and Juelz Santana), Fat Joe and Remy Ma, Jadakiss, Scarface, Trina, N.O.R.E, and Digable Planets. More performers will be announced in the lead-up to the festival, which will be hosted by hip-hop pioneer Roxanne Shanté with music by DJ Mister Cee and DJ Scratch.

“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,” Roxanne Shanté said. “With me as your host, you are guaranteed to have a nice day making Hip-Hop memories from dusk till dawn. Plzbelieveit baby.”

Tickets for Rock the Bells will go on sale Friday, April 8 at 10 a.m. ET via the official Rock the Bells website. Portions of the ticket proceeds will benefit the Universal Hip-Hop Museum in the Bronx.

Named after his classic 1985 single “Rock The Bells,” LL Cool J’s new fest is not to be confused with an older event organized by Guerilla Union that also went by “Rock the Bells.” Guerilla Union’s Rock the Bells ran from 2004 through 2013, but LL Cool J wrangled back the rights to the name after filing a succesful petition to cancel the company’s trademark. Guerilla Union, however, continued using the Rock the Bells name on its website and social media channels, prompting LL Cool J to file a trademark infringement lawsuit in 2018; he officially prevailed in court the following year.


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