For fans of the architects of hip-hop, the countdown is almost over, and the annual fest that mixes hot newcomers with rap trailblazers is almost upon us. Guerilla Union's annual Rock the Bells Tour starts Saturday at L.A.'s NOS Center with a historic lineup that includes Snoop Dogg, Slick Rick, the Wu-Tang Clan, A Tribe Called Quest, KRS-One and Rakim.
Each of the headliners will perform a classic album from their catalog, and special guest Lauryn Hill will be igniting the stage with a bevy of her hits as well.
Wu-Tang has chosen Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) as the LP for their set. The Clan's Raekwon calls Rock the Bells the "royal rumble of hip-hop." And while the Chef said he's excited about revisiting the Clan's breathtaking debut, he'll definitely miss the show-stealing presence of late comrade Ol' Dirty Bastard.
"Dirty had given us the energy booster that we need to believe that we are the best," Rae told MTV News recently in New York. "I still think about him. ... I think as I'm getting a little older, I'm getting a little more sensitive in certain places when it comes to my brother being gone.
"It's gonna be fun to get out here and represent and talk about him and see all them fans go crazy because they love Dirty," he continued. "They love Dirty so much, I know for a fact that when them records come on, they're gonna go crazy."
Rae expects the crowd to fill in verses for their beloved brother during records such as "Shame on a N---a," "Da Mystery of Chessboxin' " and, of course, "Protect Ya Neck."
"That's a beautiful thing," Rae said about crowd participation. "When I think about my brother not being here, it still keeps me wanting to keep that Wu-Tang flag as high as it can be. He was the one that really gave us all the spirit."
Will you be checking Wu-Tang out at Rock the Bells? Let us know in the comments!