Rock the Bells

Of all of the star-studded, crowded-marquee hip-hop shows to hit town this year, few of them are going to be as filled with nostalgia, loss, and rejuvenation as the one assembled by indie-rap mega-bill proponents Rock the Bells. Conscious-rap fans who were knocked out by Train of Thought, the debut album of Reflection Eternal, should get amped to see metaphor-slinging Brooklyn MC Talib Kweli and Cincinnatti super-producer Hi-Tek reunite to bring it live. And though their circa-2000 material has aged remarkably well, the potential promise of some new songs—rumor has it a Train of Thought 2 is coming later this year—should be just as exciting. But this bill's also become host to an unexpected, tragic turn of events, as a tribute to legendary producer/MC J Dilla by his former group Slum Village will now also have to do double-duty as a tribute to the recently departed SV member Baatin; expect T3 and Elzhi to carry their legacy on strong. Slaughterhouse, a boom-bap throwback supergroup featuring Joe Budden, Crooked I, Joell Ortiz, and Royce Da 5'9", have set rap blogs on fire with promises of returned rawness, and with a battle-ready lineup like that, the hype's understandable. The bill will be rounded out with appearances by freestyle phenomenon Supernatural and legendary producer Pete Rock. 18+. (pictured: Talib Kweli and Hi-Tek)
Sat., Aug. 22, 5 p.m., 2009

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