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Nas, Common, The Roots Lead Rock the Bells 2009 Lineup

In what has become a tradition, several of the acts who will be participating in this summer’s ‘Rock the Bells’ tour got together in Southern California for a press conference that turned into a full-scale party. Supernatural got the celebratory aspect off with a ridiculous freestyle listing of every act on this summer’s 10-city tour. How hot was it? So hot that the mighty KRS-One, one of the “hosts” for this year’s RTB, couldn’t stop talking about it 10 minutes later.

But for everyone who gathered at the Key Club last night, being a fan is part of RTB. “I’m a fan of all these guys in here, what they’re doing, they’re bringing hip-hop where it needs to be,” Raekwon told the BoomBox. And Tech N9ne was still in awe over his seat assignment in the press conference when he spoke to the Boombox. “This is crazy because I was actually sitting next to KRS-One,” Tech said. “Being onstage with KRS, Raekwon, and Damian Marley and Nas, it’s overwhelming, man. It’s like validation that I’ve been doing the right thing all these years to be amongst all these wonderful people.”

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Also on this year’s bill are Common, the Roots, Reflection Eternal (Talib Kweli and Hi-Tek), OutKast‘s Big Boi, reunions of House of Pain and Slum Village, Slaughterhouse, RZA, Sage Francis, and many more.

This year’s trek seems some new faces to the RTB family, which has promoter Chang Weisberg very excited. “Really, the Roots, besides they played on those four Rage [Against the Machine] dates they haven’t been on ‘Rock the Bells’ proper, so new record this summer, they can play the weekends, that’s like the perfect storm,” he says. “Common, really that’s a no-brainer because he’s never been a part of Rock the Bells officially. He’s only guested on our shows.”

And then there are those familiar faces, like Nas, back for his third year in a row. What keeps him coming back? “This is automatic,” he says. “It’s like the ‘Distant Relatives’ thing. It’s a family thing.”

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