Rock The Bells is one of music’s, and more importantly, hip-hop festivals of the year. The 8th annual show boasts up and coming lyricists, underground artists, and living legends. theGrio was on the scene, sitting down with a few performers to discuss what being at Rock The Bells means to them personally, as well the state of the hip-hop, and how can their music transcend color.
On performing at Rock The Bells:
Havoc of Mobb Deep: We’ve always heard of the Rock The Bells concert but for one reason or another we were never able to perform. Being on a tour of this nature is just enormous. We’re thankful to be here and to see our music carry on with it’s longevity.
Freddie Gibbs (rapper from Gary, Indiana): I felt good about it. I’m just blessed to get the opportunity to perform out here, man. They’re not a lot guys from Gary, Indiana that can say they’re doing Rock The Bells, but I’m representing for a region out here and people with my type of stories.
This is the 8th Anniversary of RTB, and not everyone gets invited to perform. As a young MC, do you consider this to be a high honor?
Big K.R.I.T. : It’s a super honor. To be on the same bill as a Talib Kweli, Mos Def, Common, Lauryn…. I just saw the RZA! Its a very chill environment. As a performer and as a fan, its a blessing.
Freddie Gibbs: Yes, most definitely. This is what I do this for, the respect. If I maintain my respect level, my money goes up. When the older heads come up to me and say that they know who I am, it means I’m getting respect amongst my peers. That keeps your career going for the long haul.
Mobb Deep on the new crop of MC at Rock The Bells:
Prodigy: I love to see younger brothers and MC do their thing and seem them come up. More power to them.
Havoc: Especially the ones who are in to hiphop and are really are respecting the culture. Its good to see, because over the past few years rap in general has steered towards more of a pop sound.
With the success of Watch The Throne, it seems like some of the most successful in hip-hop have had someone to show him or her the ropes. Do you feel that mentorship is necessary with in the game?
Freddie Gibbs: No not necessarily. The guys before us are still trying to get where they need to go, and don’t owe us anything. They gave us the game through their music. Whether they reach back for us or not it’s up us to capitalize on it.
Big K.R.I.T. : Bun B has been a mentor to me. He’s given me so much knowledge every time I see him. The same goes for Ludacris. These were the guys I grew up listening to and for me to be able to pick up the phone and for they to already know what I’m going through is love. It’s a beautiful thing.
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