Jay-Z, Mary J. Blige Join Lauryn Hill at Rock the Bells
Celebs love their festivals and Saturday’s Rock the Bells concert was no exception. As swarms of hip-hop lovers descended on New York’s Governor’s Island by way of ferry, it became clear that even the famous wouldn’t miss performances by RTB mainstays KRS-One, A Tribe Called Quest and the Wu-Tang Clan — along with first-timer Snoop Dogg — even if it meant traversing the New York Harbor.
Actor Michael Ealy — whose movie ‘Takers’ reached the No. 1 spot in its opening weekend at the box office — and Black Sheep‘s Dres shared a ferry with eager fans and walked the length of the island just in time to catch a piece of KRS-One before heading into the backstage area for Lauryn Hill‘s set. But it wasn’t until Chris Rock, John Legend and Estelle positioned themselves side-stage that festival-goers realized just how many of the rich and famous were in attendance. However, the most paramount celeb sighting would come in the form of Jay-Z, Beyonce, Mary J. Blige, a very pregnant Alicia Keys and her hubby Swizz Beatz.
Hill was well aware of her famous admirers and eventually brought Blige, Bey, Keys, Beatz and stragler Chris Rock out on stage during a rendition of ‘Fugee La.’ “Where’s Jay?” Hill said, searching for Jay backstage. “C’mon, man, this is New York.” Jay saluted the crowd, followed by Legend and Fugees producer Jerry Wonder.
The celebs faded back into the background but noticeably rocked out to A Tribe Called Quest as Phife and Tip and ran through 1993’s ‘Midnight Marauders.’ Beyonce and Mary J. mouthed the words to ‘Sucka N—–‘ and shared in the excitement of ‘We Can Get Down,’ ‘Keep It Rollin’,’ featuring Large Professor and ‘Oh My God’ with none other than Busta Rhymes, who hung out backstage for a solid six hours.
As Tribe cleared the stage, the power couples — Jay and Bey, and Keys and Beatz — made their exit as well, making room for Wu-Tang and the Wu’s family and friends. Unlike recent years, all eight of the living members, and Ol’ Dirty Bastard‘s son Boy Jones, took the stage to run through ‘Enter the 36 Chambers’ with some deviation. As expected, the “scrappy” Boy Jones paid tribute to his late father with a rendition of ‘Shimmy Shimmy Ya.’ Wu’s set would not be complete without some crowd surfing courtesy of Method Man during ‘Da Rockwilder.’ The Clan wrapped up their set and thanked the New York crowd once Meth was safely placed back onto the stage.
Snoop, the night’s headliner, would take the stage after 11PM with wife Shante sitting on the sidelines. The Doggfather had the most elaborate set of the day with the ‘Doggystyle’ cover projected on the screen, a card table full of Olde English 40 oz. and an unknown man in a dog suit. Snoop didn’t skimp and performed the best of the best, interludes included, from his 1993 debut with a little help from Lady of Rage, Warren G, Tha Dogg Pound and RBX.