Rock The Bells 2013 Live Blog: Day 2

​So we’re gonna keep going on this live blog, and see what the day brings. More pictures, and reviews coming up as we look forward to the hologram performance of Ol’ Dirty Bastard. staff / September 15, 2013

​So we’re gonna keep going on this live blog, and see what the day brings. More pictures, and reviews coming up as we look forward to the hologram performance of Ol’ Dirty Bastard.

9:55: Girl Talk might just be a little underrated among the hip-hop listening audience. Sure, he’s a bit bubblegummy, and his audience might seemed a bit, bluntly, obnoxious, but beyond the party vibes (and the folks manning the TP machines in the press pit) is a deep appreciation of hip-hop, especially rap lyrics and vocals. Sure it’s not the most conscious stuff, but doing stuff like pairing the beat from Drake’s “Started From The Bottom” with Biggie’s “Juicy” is so thematically fitting. Not to mention dope as hell.

Deltron 3030 wins the most-sprawling stage setup award again this year, returning the orchestra that appeared at last year’s Rock The Bells. Del, wearing a rocketship helmet, and Dan the Automator, sloppily wearing a tuxedo and waving his conductors wand, return to the forefront, though Dan felt free to face the audience every now and then and let the orchesta conduct itself. One thing evident today, with Juicy J and Black Hippy sapping out the cool kids away, the crowd here was definitely the oldest and nerdiest I’ve seen at this year’s festival. Which kinda fits the nerdy orchestra players who danced kinda awkwardly when it wasn’t their turn on their instruments.—Kevin

6:20: Earl Sweatshirt is not dissimilar to Tyler, the Creator in his approach to stage shows. Fairly tolerant of awkward moments (actually, they both thrive off them) and taking a casual approach to conducting the show. For instance, one break in between songs had Earl going to Syd, who deejayed the set, to figure out what track to play next. Taco was left to entertain the crowd, which he did awkwardly. One thing Tyler didn’t have was Tiny Lister, Deebo from the Friday movies, riding a lime green low rider bike into his set like Earl had. When that happened, both Earl and his hype partner Taco did a little freakout and took selfies of themselves with him, like the whole thing was unplanned. —Kevin

Chris Riggins told me backstage that if ratchet had a Stevie Wonder, it would be Trinidad James. And of course, he won’t explain what that means, and thats probably because he’s a professional comedian. For now, Danny Brown is hanging around the back like he’s set to drop into the set and it becomes apparent that the two have are markedly alike if one wasn’t steeped in Detroit house and the other in traphouse. He goes through his expanding catelog, but “pop a molly, I’m sweatin’” never fails to get a “woo”.

And if you need a Jody Highroller updater, yeah Riff Raff is still hanging around backstage with the puppy.—Kevin

4:40: Riff Raff carries himself like a rapper, and raps like a rapper, but he just does enough to show that he’s a bit, um, off. For instance, he had a chain that a skinny entourage kid wore on his neck that was a giant jewel encrusted version of the RTB 2013 logo, looking almost as heavy as the kid himself. Then for his jokey-jokey track “Air Canada”, he addressed the crowd as “Canada” and acted like they got his rhymes about Tim Hortons. The piece de resistance was the puppy he brought on stage, a siberian husky cutie, that he had raised to the crowd to generate a cheap pop.

Danny Brown is a dangerous dude. Not that he is personally threatening, but once his music comes on, and there a sizable group of people around him, its something akin to a spark and a barrel of gunpowder. Something about this scraggily-looking dude and his Detroit house-meets-Detroit hip-hop that brings out the freak in people, and it didn’t matter there was a barricade around him separating the stage and himself. People were throwing water, throwing their bodies up, and when he got close up on the barricade, they threw themselves at him. And this wasn’t a crowded club around midnight, this was a dinner time set in the middle of a blaring sun. Even Snow tha Product couldn’t help herself and ran into the photographer’s pit to join the party. Freakier things have happened in said clubs but the daylight barely dented the wildness of the crowd.

Action Bronson is a dude whose demeanor and stature shows he, unlike Mr. Brown and Raff, had no intention of his two feet leave the ground at anytime. His lyrics-first and irrelevant delivery in a steady unchanging meter made up for the lack of physical energy, as he rattles off belligerent snide remarks one after another. Its a style that had Earl Sweatshirt backstage feeling it, himself mimicking raps as they went on. Riff Raff makes a last minute cameo, holding the still holding the puppy he had before handing it off to Action, leaving a somewhat striking image of Action Bronson cuddling with a puppy onstage.—Kevin

2:50: Young Dirty Bastard is not a carbon copy of ODB; he’s not a clone of him even if he is the skinny split image of his dad. But as he takes his old man’s moniker and performs his old hits, he possesses the energy of a youngster at an age we never saw ODB as a performer. The result is a manic mix of old and new, with a bit of Funkadelic-Parliament, reinforced by the P-funk band playing behind him, with a bit of a modern ratchet undercurrent. —Kevin

Snow tha Product has a bit of the same energy, but diverted into a different method. A follower of the Bay Area’s post-hyphy ratchet movement, she goes all in on the style with a rapid fire flow almost as fast as the hi hats. The San Jose naive struck a chord with he crowd from the get and kept it on with her party flows. —Kevin

Dizzy Wright is an entirely different proposition. A rather unassuming presence, he only started started moving out of he shadow of Hopsin in the last year or so. You have to go through the whole set to go beyond the droopy eyes and non-chalant flow to see that he has timing—a certain ability to hit the right rhyme at the right beat, never fitting too many syllables into a bar, putting his pauses for emphasis on the right lyrics. A certain easy-going calm in his delivery and subject matter (“I represent World Peace”, he states on the hook for “World Peace”) makes his one of the easiest sets to digest .—Kevin

10:30: While we wait for RTB to get underway, please enjoy these Instagrams of Tyler, the Creator and Flatbush Zombies from yesterday:

posted: September 15th, 2013, 10:24am

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