Summer is fast approaching and we’re ready to bring on the BBQs, rooftop parties and most of all the concerts. What’s summer without indulging in live performances of the artists you love? Two of the biggest hip-hop concerts this summer, Summer Jam and Rock the Bells, have some acts lined up that are going to be bananas! Not that you’d go wrong attending either, but because they’re as different as night and day, we’ve broken down why one of these concerts rules as the must-see concert of the summer.
1. The headliners tell you everything you need to know about a show.
One of the biggest names in hip-hop, Nicki Minaj, is headlining Summer Jam along with Rick Ross, Waka Flocka and Young Jeezy. As far as mainstream rap, Summer Jam has it covered. With Nicki you’ll get a bit of hip-pop, Waka will make everyone dance and Rick Ross and Jeezy offer the trap anthems to make even the most suburban girl get hype.
Where do we even begin with the headliners for Rock the Bells? Its very big name acts run the gamut of the likes of Nas, Kid Cudi, Wiz Khalifa, Missy Elliott & Timbaland and Bone Thugs-N-Harmony. It doesn’t get more versatile than Nas, one of hip-hop’s legends, and the fairly newbie Wiz Khalifa rocking the stage at the same festival. And Missy Elliott & Timbaland…together! That’s some epic 90s skeez right there. We’re singing, “Supa dupa fly, supa dupa fly” just thinking about it.
2. Whose lineup has the most artists hot in the streets right now?
As far as who’s hot in the streets right now, Summer Jam has this one in the bag. Besides the huge headliners that all have recent projects that are nod worthy, J. Cole, Big Sean, 2 Chainz and Wale give the concert that somewhat freshman class feel. J. Cole’s debut album was a certified hit that’s in constant rotation on the iPod. The possibility of Nicki and Big Sean doing “Dance (A$$)” is too much excitement to compose. These artists are mixtape quotable approved, which means “they’re heavy in the streets.”
Where Summer Jam trumps Rock the Bells in terms of the heavy list of current hot artists, Rock the Bells makes up for in reunions. We’ll get to that in just a minute. But, 2 Chainz, A$AP Rocky, J. Cole, Kendrick Lamar, Schoolboy Q and Yelawolf isn’t too shabby a list either as far as the new kids on the block go. They may not be as widely known as their contenders at Summer Jam, but the music they’ve put out has garnered them a nice fan base. And we’re paying attention.
3. Reunited and it feels so good.
The Rock the Bells creators and organizers are the masters of reuniting groups (some who’ve had beef and haven’t talked prior to the concert). All for the love hip-hop, artists like Dipset, Missy & Timbaland, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, Redman and Method Man and Naughty By Nature work together to give the fans a memorable show, and the chance to remember the groups the way they once were– making music together. Sorry Summer Jam. No competition in this category.
4. Let’s do a roll call for all the legendary Hall of Famers of hip-hop.
Again, Rock the Bells has this category sealed. Two words: Slick Rick. Three Words: Big Daddy Kane. Outside of an award show, seeing pioneers of hip-hop performing at the same concert is rare. Not to mention Ice Cube, E-40 and Too Short, RZA, Prodigy and Salt-N-Pepa are cooking up special performances. Summer Jam doesn’t have anything remotely close to these hall of famers. Hey, don’t shoot the messenger.
5. Whether sitting down in bleachers or standing up all day, ambiance makes a difference.
Summer Jam is an one stage, one day concert held in MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ beginning at 6:30. In comparison, Rock the Bells is a two day event (for the first time in nine years) held in California and New Jersey. Artists perform simultaneously on different stages at Rock the Bells. Summer Jam is the traditional concert feel while Rock the Bells is an all day event of mini concerts. Rock the Bells is similar to the Coachella experience. Mapping out the artists you want to see beforehand is wise. And then wish upon a star your favorite artists aren’t playing at the same time. Rock the Bells is first come first serve meaning you will stand up the entire day. At Nas’ show last year people stood for over an hour to hold down their spots near the stage. Yes, it’s that serious.
6. Money, Money, Money.
It’s still a semi-recession, folks. All the $45 Summer Jam tickets are sold out. The cheapest ticket is $55 and the most expensive ticket can run you $200 and up. (As we all know, the cheaper the ticket, the crappier the seats). Rock the Bells tickets go on sale this Friday and range anywhere from $99 to $409. The higher tickets come with VIP perks (Ballinnnnn’!). Since Rock the Bells is standing only, opting for the least expensive ticket makes the most sense.
This is a tough call ladies and gents. Each show offers what the other doesn’t. Based on all the reasons we’ve outlined that make both concerts great it looks like Rock the Bells trumps Summer Jam as the must see concert for the summer. But you be the judge. Which concert do you think will have the most epic performances? Vote to let us know!
[Photos: Getty Images]