Woo! I’m still feeling the effects of musical euphoria, bellas and fellas — Rock the Bells at Miami’s Bayfront Park was utterly incredible. I had a time and a half. I gotta echo brilliant music blogger Vivrant Thang — this was the best hip hop concert I’ve been to… since last year’s RTB. Heh. No, but in all seriousness, the performances this year meshed together better, the crowd energy didn’t flag noticeably, there wasn’t a big lag time between acts, and everyone seemed really genuinely happy to be there.
Miami being sweltering in the summertime, I slathered on the sunscreen — for you bellas who’ve been asking what I use for sunscreen — honestly, whatever I’ve got, which is usually whatever product du jour that I’ve been sent to review. This weekend, on my face I used MyBlend Power Veil SPF 40, a thin, light sunscreen which is part of a pricey anti aging skin care line that is sold at Saks Fifth Avenue. It’s super expensive, so be forewarned. If I hadn’t recieved samples of this stuff, I probably wouldn’t be able to justify purchasing it. In fact, I totally wouldn’t be able to afford a $75 bottle of sunscreen. Seriously! We’re in a recession here. For regular, affordable sun protection, I adore Neutrogena’s Ultra Sheer SPF 55, and Age Shield SPF 30/45. For Rock the Bells body protection, I sprayed the Fresh Cooling Body Mist sunblock on, and I was good all day long. Good stuff, at drugstore prices.
It took me forever to get ready and in my desire to avoid the early day heat, we left for the show around 5. Didn’t expect Miami’s metro rail to take FOREVER, but it did… so instead of catching De La Soul, Raekwon and Ghostface, we got there smack in the middle of Mos Def’s set. Which was loose and random, but pretty good — didn’t catch Ms Fat Booty or Umi Says, but his DJ was spinning hot Jamaican fire so this Caribbean chica was very happy. Zunggu zunggugu zunggu zeng!
The crowd was super laid back and very friendly, despite the stifling heat. And randomly on the grass, I totally met the winner of the ticket giveaway! She recognized me and we took pictures together. Then it was off to find a closer spot for The Pharcyde.
For anyone who wondered or doubted the fire of the Pharcyde, let me tell you — those dudes turned it OUT! It was for me, the happiest and then saddest part of the concert. Happiest because they performed every track I wanted them to — Ya Mama, Drop, and even What’s Up Fatlip ( which is one of my favorite rap videos of all time). The group was obviously happy to perform together, and they teased us with the encore. FIRE — they did Pack The Pipe which I swear I haven’t heard since sophomore year of college. And of course they closed with Passin’ Me By, which was just perfect. I was the happiest bella, I swear. I got both performances on my Flip Video Camera, the one I won in this year’s Glam Network Awards, and I was so excited like YES!!! I will upload these on YouTube tomorrow!!
I didn’t realize that I’d lost my camera until Method Man and Redman took the stage. Then I was so, so sad. You know when you’ve had too many drinks and you lose something, how it’s like utterly devastating? That’s how I felt. I searched my purse, where we were sitting, everywhere… gone. Did I just lose it? Did someone steal it somehow? I don’t know. So I’ll just put this out to the universe, and hopefully it’ll somehow come back to me if it’s meant to be — If you were at Rock the Bells in Miami on Saturday night and you found a pink and white Flip video camera that’s filled with a bunch of live music clips and videos of me playing with an adorable striped cat — it’s mine. Please return it. E mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You will make my day.
Who rocked Rock the Bells the hardest? Without a doubt, Meth and Red. Wow. Peep this video for a taste. Both brothas looked great, and brought that wild energy to the stage. Meth didn’t stage dive, but he raced around the audience and let the crowd embrace him. And I was right there! It was amazing. And like Vivrant Thang, the ODB tribute got me a little misty eyed.
I missed most of Nas — following the where’s-my-camera sadness, I needed a corn dog and a cocktail to lift my spirits. But the crowd was eating him up — Sly Fox went over very well, and If I Ruled the World always gets the audience rocking. We weren’t as lucky as New Yorkers were — good grief, what a night of legends y’all got in NYC! Jay Z joined Nas, which I am sure was sick. And Talib Kweli joined Mos Def, which would have made his Miami performance that much better. Slick Rick joined Meth and Red and performed La Di Da Di! New York got everything I dreamed of — I would have lost my everloving mind if Busta had charged the stage during Scenario. That didn’t happen for us in Miami. But it was still a lovely evening.
Q Tip emerged on stage wearing a backpack, and performed a intense solo set — me and my amiga Raina were cracking up at this chick (who Method Man had incorrectly identified as Brooke Hogan), dancing in front of us. I didn’t know this before, but apparently Vivrant Thang was apparently written just for her. She was giving the crowd some of that You Got Served flavor. Too funny! But that’s what happens when hip hop takes you over. People stopped trying to look cool and started acting the fool. ATCQ brought out all the hits — â€œBonita Applebum,â€ â€œCan I Kick It,â€ â€œElectric Relaxation,â€ “Find a Way.” The highlight for me was â€œOh My God,â€ but I couldn’t find a good enough live version. So here’s the original video.
So much fun. I’m still bummed out about my Flip, and mad at myself that I missed De La Soul and Black Sheep, Ghostface and Raekwon, and Dead Prez — did they do Be Healthy? If you were there, let me know. That’s one of my favorite Dead Prez joints. But all in all, RTB was a brilliant experience. Click here for Justin Namon’s slide show, and Esther Park wrote a stellar review. So glad I didn’t get there at 1 p.m. to see The Cool Kids, cause apparently they didn’t show up! And my homie Jacob Katel interviewed Dead Prez and Immortal Technique backstage, and man, they had some stuff to say. Dudes are intense.
Big props to the peeps at SanDisk, and especially to Chang Weisberg, the man behind the festival. I saw him all over the venue, but felt too shy to stroll on over and say thank you. So I’ll say it here on the internet — this hip hop fan appreciates what you’re doing, man. Keep up the great work.
If you’ve been to any of the stops nationwide, holla back! Let me know how your Rock the Bells experience went. I’m already ready for next year!