Rock The Bells season is officially here. This Tuesday, promoters Guerilla Union held their launch party/press conference for this year's festival. Hosted by HOT97's Peter Rosenberg, the festivities started off with the longstanding tradition of freestyle extraordinaire MC Supernatural rapping the 2013 lineup. Seated on stage with the likes Black Hippy, Bone Thugs N Harmony, Jhene Aiko, Tech N9ne- was Guerrilla Union CEO Chang Weisberg. To the right and left of Weisberg sat Cherry Jones (mother of Ol' Dirty Bastard) and Tomica Wright (widow of Eazy-E), respectively. Then came the announcement that Bone Thugs and Wu Tang Clan's performances this year would feature "original digital performances," as Weisberg put it, with ODB & Eazy-E.
— Black Kevin Arnold (@bnease) May 15, 2013
@pronailprincesa The only hologram I'm interested in is Jem. When is the comback tour?
— Angeleeta (@MFAngeleeta) May 15, 2013
The use of hologram technology to project Tupac onto the stage at Dr. Dre's Coachella 2012 set seemed to stir up a lot of mixed feelings in the rap community. Since then, there have been murmurs here and there of TLC planning to utilize the technology on their upcoming tour, to pay tribute to the late Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes. It's hard to look down upon the method that Cherry Jones & Tomica Wright have chosen to honor their loved one's memory. A particularly heartstring-plucking moment would come when Ms. Jones asked the audience, "Please don't ever forget my child." That said, it's understandable that some could see the idea as an act of poor taste -- especially fans who had the privilege of seeing the artists perform in the flesh. The evolution of this technology definitely brings a strange sense of entitlement to this generation of music fans, to in a way, resurrect the dead for our own entertainment.
There will be Eazy E and ODB holograms at this years Rock the Bells. Kriss Kross hologram not on the bill but warmly encouraged.
— Otto Von Biz Markie (@Passionweiss) May 15, 2013
As for the living and breathing additions to the lineup, Rock The Bells 2013 includes Dallas resident Snow Tha Product's first billing on the festival -- an exciting milestone for her burgeoning career. Other lineup standouts include Dilated Peoples, Bodega Bamz, Hit-Boy, RATKING, and Flatbush Zombies. It's not a bad bill overall, per say -- Rock The Bells has received a considerable amount of flack for a lack of variety from year to year since about 2008. Personally, I was pretty disappointed to see that Dipset won't be involved again this year after their 2012 billing on the festival. With the recent 10-year anniversary of Diplomatic Immunity, and this being the 10th year of Rock The Bells, it seemed like an obvious choice for Guerilla Union. Weisberg, however, did advise that there will be roughly 15 more acts announced starting in June.
— Snow, Tha Product(@SnowThaProduct) May 15, 2013
Another first for this year's festival is a Washington, D.C., date on the four-weekend run. Rosenberg expressed excitement and surprise at the inclusion of his hometown, before making a Danny Brown blowjob joke in front of Mrs. Wright and Ms. Jones. Stay classy, Pete. After the opportunity was granted for the press to ask a few broad and frankly pretty cheap questions, they were treated to a private Bone Thugs performance, sans hologram. Regardless of your opinion on the matter, it's clear that the hologram fad isn't disappearing anytime soon.
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Winning Tweet: @theactualfred
I don't see why we just don't hologram an N.W.A reunion at this point, complete with a Jerry Heller one backstage stealing their money
— fred (@theactualfred) May 15, 2013