The Smoking Section (Masthead) Respect Our Fresh!


On short notice, I humbly asked Cam and P to somehow bring back a "report" about what they saw and heard @ Rock The Bells this past Saturday. With all the drunkness and debauchery abounding, some how they managed to work it out with a little bogarting, bumrushing the show © PE and pirate movements like we always do.

What follows is their report....TSS Is Major.

Video And Photos © Paola.
Words © Cameloti Bulgari

Some of the highlights at the 4th Annual Rock the Bells concert in San Bernardino included...

  • A disrespectful tribute to ODB because of some “Jack-Ass
  • A historic moment for freestyle battle great Supenatural; breaking the longest freestyle record-clocking in at 9 hours and 10 mins of pure spit
  • An appearance by the still-Fugees-tunes singing Ms. L-Boogie aka Lauryn Hill
  • Redman doing ‘Time for Some Action” to about 20,000 handpumping attendees
  • Wu-Tang. Nuff said.
  • All the damn groupies walking back in fourth in skimpy outfits. must be great to be a rapper.
Supernat’s Guiness Book of World Records feat was truly amazing. He flowed almost non-stop for hours, grabbing items from people in the crowd to rap about, taking topics off a dry erase board that spectators could write on. His voice started to go horse by the fifth hour, but he kept flowing, a master of his craft. He would stop every hour for 2-3 minutes, so medical technicians could check his pulse and blood pressure. I don’t know how dude did it, but he’s a monster.

Living Legends which is the L.A. group that birthed Murs, had a lively set; there fans were strong during the afternoon performance, throwing up “L” hand signs to signify the L.A. and Legends name. They gave a fun and lively performance, with the standout performance happening over an instrumental for Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy.” But it’s hard to think of these cats as legends so we'll check for them five years from now.

Also early on the bill, Del the former Funky Homosapien was on hand with a handful of classics. The bassy strings on his “No Need for Alarm” actually sounded fresh blasting through the 10 foot speakers. It was good to see the West coast alum get some proper shine.

Aesop Rock, who I’m sure is on everyone’s list of top 5 emecees, strolled around in a yellow t-shirt and gruff beard. Is there really that much of a difference betweem him and R.A. the Rugged? I’m not sure, but Aesop really hates that “white rapper” question. He says that the rap game has grown so much now, “I was getting that question back in ’99…it’s ’06 now, I’d hope it’s just one big thing.” In other words, he tired of that question, ya’ll. He’s just a rapper, ok. He’s prepping another soon-to-be hot selling album for 2007.

The politically infused raps of Immortal Technique had the crowd in a frenzy. With such a dedicated underground following, it’s hard to realize why this rap outfit, which consists of a Peruvian born dude from Harlem who reps the Black and Latino, isn’t more well known commercially.

Somehow, P Got Onstage To Record Cypress Hill Perfroming "Hand On The Pump"

B-Real stepped through early too, along with Sen-Dog in his signature fisherman’s hat. He told one reporter about the “2 sides to the coin” of downloading his music. “It serves as promotion,” on the one hand he said. But he hopes there’s some kind of regulation somewhere down the line; maybe a time-sensitive expiration date on certain Mp3s, he suggests. So buy that man’s stuff, all you leechers! He also offered his list of Top 5 California producers in the following order: Dr. Dre, DJ Quik, Fredwreck, Battlecat, and Supafly. B-Real, who plans to release a solo album on the internet, also wants people to check out his mixtapes: Fistful Vol. 2 and Gunslinger Vol. 2.

Wandering around, I bumped into Dres of Black Sheep strolled around before his guest performance with De La Soul. He wanted to point out that “no” he’s not Chi Ali’s brother by birth, but his brother more in spirit, and he said that Guns & Glamour (the group that Chi made news recently with for writing jail house letters to records execs for) is actually a tight little group that deserves a chance. Dres says there’s a “straight Blacksheep” album dropping Oct. 24 via iTunes. It’s an exclusive digital release through the Bum Rush label. “It’s a way for us to control it,” he said about the bare bones approach to releasing a record. “Why not us make that money?”

And as for caking up, Dove of De La Soul, who says L.A. gives them much love, said the Gorrilaz collab was some “good money.” And says his crew has since befriended the pop group. “We’re like best friends,” he said as he took a deep pull from a cigarette. But don’t expect a new De La album anytime soon. Dove says the crew has some digital tracks available at, but that’s all you should expect because there's no plans to go in the studio just yet.

Also drawing comments of “Hey, I grew up listening to you!” comments, Phife Dog said the comments him feel, “old.” The Oakland/ATL resident (“I’ve been outta N.Y. since ’93.”), who would take the stage with De La, says Tribe is gearing up for a tour that’ll feature their classics. No plans just yet to go into the studio, he says. The money is good, but “the paper could be much better.” Phife says. He thought the Busta album was a throwback to the old New York battle days and says he loved it. When asked if there was still a Native Tongues, he replies that “Jungle Bros still talks to De La and Busta talks to Latifah. We all still network with each other.”

Well after midnight, Lauryn Hill took the stage with a full jazz band. Her huge afro wig (it’s gotta be a wig, right?) standing firm against the desert’s night winds. She ran down a set that included all the songs you’ve ever heard before. Her “Miseducation” songs were the highlight of the short set. Backed by a sax player and bass cello, “Lost Ones” sounded off the hook in a live seeting. Even though it’s disappointing to true fans that Hill takes to doing ‘standards’ after just one album, I guess she may be too ‘great’ to really expand on that. Regardless, the crowd--many of whom had been in the hot ass San Berndino sun for hours--was fully enthralled with the show she put on, with even gangsterish security dudes nodding their heads when she killed it softly with her performance of “How Many Mic’s.” She was the featured “special guest” on the bill, and special it was.

Dialated Peoples, The Crowd and "Worse Comes To Worse"

Underground legend 2 Mex of the L.A.-based Visionaries represented during his groups typical performance. Nothing earth-shattering given their backpack-streets of L.A. sound. But 2 Mex, a hero to some for his classic underground “Over the Counter Culture” is readying an album with Mars Volta’s Ikey Owens, and if ya’ll don’t know who that is, imagine Jimi Hendrix on a Moog synthesizer, ripping it a punk rock beat. 2 Mex calls the L.A. underground scene “out of control cracking.” With a rash of CD-releasing groups out of the L.A. underground and Murs 3:16’s work with 9th Wonder, that comment still remains to be seen. But L.A. and the Bay Area has a long history with this kind of hiphop. You can see the connections ,according to 2 Mex, between early 90's Divine Styler, Heiro, Freestyle Fellowship and Pharcyde all the way to the Black Eyed Peas of today. “I still love sample-based hip-hop,” he said after leaving the stage and getting much love and dap from fans and fellow below-ground emcees and "everyday we’re touching other worlds.”

But of course, the biggest draw of the 15+ hour event, with more than enough live hip-hop to last a lifetime, was the Wu. Having to bribe some chicks for their camera, so this reporter could be right near the stage (people with cameras where the only civilians allowed in the front stage area), the Clan's entrance was well staged: A large banner rolled down in the background. The first recognizable member of the Wu to come out was Capadonna. He entered in a striped shirt, playing more glorified hypeman, than anything else, at one point taking off his shirt to show how Larry Holmes he could look. Second, U-God took the stage, his eyes so glassy they shimmered more than the diamonds in this twin armbands. Master Killer then walked out with an evil, quiet snear for the crowd embodying Wu-dominace at it strongest.

By this time, more and more members strolled out: Ghostdeni in a white shirt with waffle shorts and blue Flights, signature white towel around his neck;Inspektah Deck, RZA, GZA, and Meth. Lastly, Raekwon, sporting a Cal hat and camo windbreaker hoody with the Buddha belly protruding underneath, took his post stage right.

“We got numbers,” Cappadonna yelled into the mic, with occasional screams of allah-u-akbar. Their first song was a forgettable number from one of their latest albums, kind of a warmup number…but as you heard the beat in the back to the “Sometimes…” you knew you were about to hear some GZA, and “When the MC’s Came,” started to pound through the speakers the crowd went short of insane. The crowd frenzy continued with “Bring the Rukus,” Ghost defining it with his “Fly like Egystian musk...” lyric. Meth crossed the stage, taking one last pull of a long skinny blunt before crashing into “M.E.T.H.O.D Man,” and doing his requisite crowd surfing. All the while, Meth's PNC Redman hung from the rafters on the side of the stage like the N.J. gorilla that he claims to be (he would come on later to peform the RockWilder with Meth).

Then, RZA the crowd in “Shame on a N****,” when this old uncle-looking dude with a Superman T-shirt came on rhyming McGirt’s part. He would yell after the song “That was my brova!” And by about 1:45 a.m. Sunday, the moment focused on Dirty. “If ya’ll got love for my brother, like I got love for my brother,” the RZA said, “then put your cell phone and lighters up.” A flickering of lighters brought the tone down for a few seconds , while the Wu led the crowd in chanting “O.D.B” and “G.O.D.”

Of course the tribute was brought down to MTV levels of ultra stupidity with Steve-O doing a nude backflip in commemortaion of Dirty. And the response to that from Raekwon seemed staged by street standards, WCW almost. “That shit was some fuckin hom shit,” Rae told the crowd. “We don’t play that shit.” He told Steve-O he should knock him out and I was sure hoping he would. But instead he just told him to apologize to Mrs. Cherry Jones, ODB's mother, who had taken the stage during the tribute.

It was a great, if not long event. The reason why there's no mention of the Mos Def and Talib performances is because Kweli was the only rapper to not talk to TSS. He said he was “getting ready for his show.” Yeah five hours early. And Mos? Who wears sunglasses at night other than “Hollywood” ass niggas. Not to take anything away from their talents but there were truly bigger "stars" there who didn't flaunt the role.

But the event itself brought the best of the non-radio/super commercial MCs from California and New York together for what was an evening that took the music seriously. Each group played for at least an hour, which at times was long, but when you want to hear Redman perform all of his hits live, there’s no other way. And if the larger arena type of concerts is your cup, then you should drive distance to L.A. to see this concert next year. But you gotta ask, given the name of the concert, “Where was L.L.?


Prince Po - U Right Hear (J. Dilla Tribute)

Robin Thicke- Cocaine (Everybodys Watchin)

Sean Price Feat. Buckshot and Ruste Juxx - Cardiac

Paris Hilton ft. Fat Joe & Jadakiss - "Fighting Over Me"

Mya Feat. Young Joc-Bout It

Lil Wayne - Wish You Would

Method Man - Say

Sa-Ra - Rosebuds

Gucci Mane - Skreet Niggaz

Janet Jackson-Weekend

Fabolous - Ball Til You Fall

Gangsta Boo - Pop Da Trunk

Beyonce Ring The Alarm

Justin Timberlake feat. TI - My Love (Live)

MF Doom Madlib - Monkeysuite

Sa-Ra - Glorious

Method Man - Take The Heat

Method Man feat. Fat Joe and Styles P - Ya'Meen

M.O.P. - Still Hard

8.8 Loosies Download

This Button Is Here For A Reason :)

Latest from The Smoking Section

Smoking Section Twitter

Smoking Section Facebook

Smoking Section Archive