Photo: Getty
  /  08.07.2022

LL Cool J successfully pulled off the Rock the Bells Festival on Saturday (Aug. 6). The inaugural celebration of hip hop was held in Queens. The New York City borough is often credited as being the birthplace of the influential genre.  

In creating the festival, LL said he “wanted to make sure that as we create this valuable thing with this culture, that our culture actually benefits from it.” Hip hop pioneers such as DJ Kool Herc, Run DMC, Roxanne Shante and Salt & Pepper each received a percentage of the Rock the Bells company. 

LL founded the company in 2018. The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee said the company’s goal is to “uplift the people and culture at the forefront of hip hop through exciting e-commerce collaborations, storytelling, and experiences.” The first major event was the festival that brought out some of the biggest names in hip hop.

“This is big s**t,” said Scarface. “It’s a difference between big s**t and big s**t. It’s a big difference. This festival puts hip hop back on that platform where it deserves to be. This is where the hip hop began. New York City is where it began. We have to respect this culture,” he told Rock the Bells’ media team. 

The “Guess Who’s Back” rapper performed his The Fix album in its entirety at the day-long festival. Aug. 6 also marked the 20th anniversary of the classic hip hop album. Other artists who hit the stage included Lil Kim, Ice Cube and Fat Joe. 

The day certainly paid homage to hip hop’s OGs, but it also served as a personal milestone for LL. During the festival, LL was presented with the key to the city by Adrienne Adams, speaker of the NYC council. “Hollis, Queens was represented today at @RockTheBells as the @NYCCouncil celebrated a true Queens legend, the one and only @llcoolj! It was an honor to present him with a proclamation acknowledging his undeniable impact on hip-hop and popular culture,” Adams wrote in a tweet.

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