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 bella@afrobella.com. 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 — “Bonita Applebum,” “Can I Kick It,” “Electric Relaxation,” “Find a Way.” The highlight for me was “Oh My God,” 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!

Filed Under:
Tagged With:


Wes says:
August 4, 2008, 12:23 pm
Glad you had a great time- Seems like it was THE place to be in Miami!!
Mrs.Mckinzie says:
August 4, 2008, 12:34 pm
Bella, I am so pumped right now as if I was there too.Next year I must be there if it comes through Maryland again,and I hope that you find your camera.
Vivrant Thang says:
August 4, 2008, 1:03 pm
Bella Bella Bella! First off, you've totally got me cheesin' over here by calling me a "brilliant" music blogger. If only! LOL! Much appreciated. Secondly, I SO feel your pain re: your phone. I REALLY hope that someone finds it. Been there before and it's painful! I knew you would have an absolute ball. I think it has to be blazin hot for RTB to go off right. LOL! And yes, Meth and Red and Tribe were indeed the faves at all the stops it seems. I am already on pins and needles waiting on next year. I think it's going to be bigger next year because of all the great feedback everyone is giving it. I'm sad you missed most of Nas. I have video up (bootleg as I don't know what!) on my channel of practically his entire performance. I was feeling Sly Fox. "One Mic" was intense. And yes, Immortal Technique is even more intense. Whew! What IS in Tip's backpack? LOL! I was wondering that throughout the whole performance. I am SO mad at that NYC show. I would have died. Here's a couple of live vids of "Oh My God." Top one is mine. Again, real bootleg (I SO need a tripod) but I think the spirit was captured :) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i0KaKGOHmHU http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fGIpabHqnBQ You should have gone over and met Chang! You never know what may have come out of it ;) Free tix to RTB fo life! LOL!
Chandra says:
August 4, 2008, 2:15 pm
I was at the NY show last night and it was BANANAS!!! The best concert I've been too -- EVER!!! Worth every penny! And here are some other guest stars: Biz Markie, Drez from Black Sheep and Q-Tip joined De La Soul on stage. Plus, Pharoah Monch joined Mos Def. And then....EPMD joined Method Man and Redman! It was sick!!!!
The Frugalista Files says:
August 4, 2008, 3:26 pm
I'm so glad you went. This Frugalista couldn't spring for tickets but your review took me there!
bella says:
August 4, 2008, 8:19 pm
I heart your blog, Vivrant Thang! You've got a GREAT YouTube channel. I aspire to your greatness... as soon as I get myself a new video camera!
auragirl says:
August 5, 2008, 8:09 am
jealous, jealous, jealous! i'm sure the show was sick! i will definitely be up in the spot for next year's tour. glad you had fun bella...hope your camera turns up! :-) *listening to "award tour" as we speak!*
sdg1844 says:
August 5, 2008, 9:27 pm
I am SO hating on you right now Bella! I'm an NYC chick and I think I would've lost it completely over these acts especially Tribe. Electric Relaxation is my jam forever! http://realsimpleliving.wordpress.com/
danny says:
August 7, 2008, 12:22 am
glad to hear you had a great time. de la soul did a great set sucks you missed it. LOL i also saw that white chick dancing but hey she was prolly having the time of her life. to me for my first music festival it was great met this really cool chick that was from del ray beach i forgot her name and evrything such a cool chick and i didnt even get her digits that was one thing i hated about the show LOL. its cool still kinda heated but hey ill be catching RTB next year back in NYCCCCCCCc


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *