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‘A successful and wonderful event’: LL Cool J’s Rock the Bells Festival gives fans a memorable night in Queens

Rock the Bells
Speaker Adrienne Adams issued a proclamation during the festival. (Photo courtesy of John McCarten/NYC Council Media Unit)

Forest Hills Stadium played host Saturday to LL Cool J’s Rock the Bells Festival. In addition to Hollis native LL Cool J, other performers at the event included Z-Trip, Ice Cube, Rick Ross, Busta Rhymes, Lil Kim, The Diplomats featuring Cam’ron, Jim Jones and Juelz Santana, Fat Joe and Remy Ma, Jadakiss, Scarface performing the 20th anniversary of The Fix, Trina, Digable Planets and Queens native artists N.O.R.E, Onyx, Havoc of Mobb Deep and Large Professor. Hip-Hop rapper Roxanne Shanté acted as the event’s host.

Rock the Bells
Photo courtesy of the Queens Borough President’s office

In addition to the live performances from artists, DJs and break dancers, the festival also had art exhibits, food and much more. Multiple community leaders were on hand during the event, including Queens Borough President Donovan Richards, New York City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams and New York City Councilwoman Selvena Brooks-Powers. Richards gifted LL Cool J with a key to Queens and declared Aug. 6, 2022, as LL Cool J Day in the borough.

Rock the Bells
Speaker Adrienne Adams issued a proclamation during the festival. (Photo courtesy of John McCarten/NYC Council Media Unit)

Speaker Adams presented him with a proclamation acknowledging his impact on the musical genre of hip-hop as well as on popular culture.

Rock the Bells
Speaker Adrienne Adams issued a proclamation during the festival. (Photo courtesy of John McCarten/NYC Council Media Unit)

“As a fellow Hollis native, I was personally honored to share the stage and present a New York City Council Proclamation to LL Cool J, a Queens legend and hip hop icon,” Speaker Adams said. “We are filled with pride to see him not only rise to the top of the industry, but also remember his roots in the World’s Borough. Proceeds from Rock The Bells were donated to the Universal Hip Hop Museum, which will benefit our city for generations. I thank LL Cool J and all of the artists who helped make Rock The Bells a successful and wonderful community event.”

Rock the Bells
LL Cool J with Borough President Donovan Richards. (Photo courtesy of the Queens Borough President’s office)

“It was an honor to join hip hop legend LL COOL J at Rock The Bells on Saturday and to present him with the Key to Queens while declaring ‘LL COOL J Day’ in his home borough,” Queens Borough President Donovan Richards said. “As a hip hop fan myself, I commend him and everyone who made Rock The Bells possible. Events like these not only expose us to stellar music, they help elevate our great borough. There’s no better way to celebrate Queens.”

This event marked the first live concert organized by Rock the Bells. On the night before the event, the Empire State Building’s lights turned cyan blue as a way to honor LL Cool J and the Rock the Bells Festival.

“I feel like hip-hop is indisposable,” LL Cool J said. “I feel like the same reverence and deference in the way Paul McCartney, Bob Dylan or Mick Jagger get celebrated, I feel like these artists, these kings and queens, deserve that same treatment for this art form.”

LL Cool J performed the last set at the Rock the Bells Festival, featuring some of his most popular songs, including “Luv You Better,” “Around The Way,” “Jingling,” “Going Back To Cali,” “I Need A Beat” and “Flava In Ya Ear.” He also performed a new song, “Run it Back,” before closing out the festival with “Rock the Bells.”

Food at the Rock the Bells Festival was provided by the Trill Mealz Food Court. Hosted by Bun B, this was the first ever hip-hop infused food court experience. The selection of food and drink vendors came from iconic hip-hop performers, including Nas’ Sweet Chick, E-40’s Goon with the Spoon, Jadakiss and Styles P’s Juices for Life, Ghostface Killah’s Killah Koffee, Mia X’s Team Whip Them Pots and Bun B’s Trill Burgers, along with a handful of local eateries.

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