Is The ‘Rock The Bells’ Festival Becoming Too Commercial?


Words by Jayy Ghost

With all the noise the Rock The Bells concerts made this year, it’s hard to complain about it. First time appearances such as Black Hippy helped give RTB some dope exclusives and reel in the younger crowd. However, is Rock The Bells getting too commercial?

The answer is a complicated one: yes
and no.

In my opinion, 2 Chainz looked way out of place being in a concert previously dedicated to gritty and conscious Hip Hop. Don’t get me wrong, I understand that they’re trying to bring in a more current audience. Still, I would prefer a Mac Miller – or even Kid Cudi – over some stripper music. And in case you were wondering, I am a 2 Chainz listener (not fan), but there is a time and a place for everything.

An artist like 2 Chainz should be playing venues such as a Mountain Dew event or at Summer Jam, not RTB.

I think substance should always be a determining factor if RTB wants to maintain their standard of quality and reputation. Now, I don’t mind fresher, up-and-coming acts attracting younger allegiances as long as there is some degree of lyricism to their work.

Kid Cudi, for example, is an artist that speaks not to everyone, but has a sound that can crossover to Pop or Hip Hop, more so than 2 Chainz. Formally known as Tity Boi (go figure), 2 Chainz’ main subject material is about strippers and selling crack. Let’s not forget that crack has helped build Hip Hop and destroy the black community at the same damn time. & the subculture of stripper music didn’t start with 2 Chainz, either. Trying to mix BBQ with cotton candy is just not a good look to hardcore fans.

A delicate balance is pivotal when combining a multitude of various acts to please both the old and new generations. It seemed like day 1 of the festival focused on the younger demographic, while day 2 was for the O.G. Hip Hop heads that are long time, diehard fans of the RTB series. If it was a rap concert for Pepsi, the expectation of quality would be for commercial Hip Pop, but RTB has always been depicted as an outlet for “real hip hop.” Showcasing their work to a crowd with a mind state for substance over “twerking” music has, in a sense, been their brand for nearly a decade. All in all, for the most part this year has definitely been one for the history books.

I applaud Rock The Bells for trying to reach out to a new crowd. By still having the returning acts we all love from the previous events and mixing it with the current dopesauce, fans are able to get the best of both worlds. I would just prefer a more intricate selection of artists that compliment each other yet, simultaneously, be versatile with different vibes. This sure wont be the last of this special festival and it deserves to evolve into a star studded show with live coverage. I just question will it be for the people or for the industry?

Words by Jayy Ghost


9 comments on “Is The ‘Rock The Bells’ Festival Becoming Too Commercial?

  1. markdub7 says:

    I will suppose to attend rock the bells this year. I was even ‘sposed to look up T Grands while out there. But it didn’t come together. Hopefully, next year, I can be and then rocking to whoever’s at the show… Even if it’s 2 Chainz.


  2. jayyghost says:

    I hear dat.. I always went to the ones in Ny or Jersey. Im overdue for one in CA. I just hope it maintains its integrity..only time will tell.


  3. Will says:

    I missed 2 Chainz (on purpose) I question his invite to come perform as well as Tyga’s. Seriously Tyga ridiculous.


    • jayyghost says:

      !!! #DEAD It seems like there trying to be more bubblegum which defeats the point of the concerts standards. Black Hippy was the best out of the newcomers but Tyga & 2 Chainz is like a smack in da face to the die hards of the concert series. smh #WithDaBabyPowder


  4. Pete says:

    I mean, ATCQ was the headliner only a short few years ago. It definitely needs to go back to it’s roots. But the very fact they went to a 2 day format shows their number one priority is $, not the quality of the music.


  5. BangBang! says:

    Fuck “real hip hop” tired of them damn nerds…


  6. DV says:

    So Tyga and 2 Chainz is there but no Freddie Gibbs? WTH? Im going to assume Gibbs was busy. Havent been to one yet but ive always wanted to go. If they so concerned about revenue then they should do one in Chicago ( on second thought nevermind), somewhere in Florida and somewhere in Texas also (or just make it a 12 stop tour 3 major cities in each region, and different cities each year). They would have to be in TX for almost a week though and in a indoor venue. The summers out here are merciless. I’d rather spend summer in Vegas. Thats how hot it gets out here with the humidity. But overall they need to stay as close to the original formula they had as possible. I dont like candy with my beef and broccoli na’mean?


  7. Completely agree. My question is, are the organizers of RTB really hurting for money?

    The last time they were completely in Toronto was back in 2009. I just refuse to believe that people have said that there is no market for that here. I made it a pilgrimage of some sorts. Just last year, I broke the wait & went to the one in NYC…& Lordhavemercy, that shit was dope.

    With the way the economy is, I’m sensing that they are somewhat hurting for cash, so they’re reeling in the teeny boppers (the ones that still spend). So I can understand it in a business sense. But yes, having tity boi on this type of show is one helluva WTF moment.


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