Listen Live
HotSpot ATL Featured Video
2023 Rock The Bells Festival

Source: Johnny Nunez / Getty

Hip Hop’s 50th Celebration continued last Saturday (Aug. 5) at Rock The Bells Festival in Queens, NY. The celebration was one to remember with the hottest in Hip Hop in attendance. The line-up touched every decade of the genre’s history with memories to last a lifetime. Check out our favorite moments from the 2023 Rock The Bells Festival inside.

The sold-out show took place at Forest Hills Stadium, where attendees were treated to performances from legendary Hip Hop artists like Rakim, Cold Crush Brothers, Roxanne Shanté, Big Daddy Kane, Ludacris, Jungle Brothers, Brand Nubian, and Swizz Beatz, MC Lyte, Queen Latifah, Slick Rick, Run DMC, LL COOL J and more. Each act took to the stage and showed the world why Hip Hop reigns supreme in both music and the culture at large.

From LL Cool J’s iconic performance of all his hits to Queen Latifah performing her empowering classics alongside some of the best women MCs in Hip Hop, there were many moments to remember. There were even memorable events that took place off the main stage like Grandmaster Flash dropping gems backstage.

The best part of the Rock The Bells Festival is how much these legendary artists showed loved to Hip Hop’s biggest fans. Redman and Method Man made a leap off the stage to get a little closer to their supporters in the crowd. You had to be there!  There were several dope moments that took place, but we chose our top 12.

Check out 12 magical moments from the 2023 Rock The Bells Festival below:

12 Magical Moments From The 2023 Rock The Bells Festival [Gallery]  was originally published on

1. LL Cool J Rocked The Bells

LL Cool J Rocked The Bells Source:Getty

The Queens legend and creator for Rock The Bells Festival performed his hits, showing fans  exactly why he’s the GOAT. LL opened his set with “I’m Bad” and flowed through hit after hit including “Doin It,” “Going Back to Cali,” “The Boomin’ System,” “Mama Said Knock You Out,” and more. LL was backed by The Roots, with Black Thought backing him up on vocals. 

2. Swizz Beatz Came To Remind You

Swizz Beatz Came To Remind You Source:Getty

Fans can’t forget Swizz Beatz is a hit-making machine. Swizz happily let the sold-out crowd  know that he “could do this for two weeks.”

“I got 550 songs in my catalog!” he declared. His set included newcomer Scar Lip and legendary Beanie Sigel, who delivered a few of his hits including “The Truth.”

Swizz’s set mostly paid homage to his friend and one of his greatest collaborators, DMX. Swizz naturally closed with “Ruff Ryders Anthem” and “Party Up,” wrapping up his ecstatic ode to Hip Hop’s 50th.

3. Queen Latifah Reigns Supreme

Queen Latifah Reigns Supreme Source:Getty

The Queen’s set was incredible. She sang, rapped, and moved effortlessly through classics like “Latifah’s Had It Up 2 Here,” “Just Another Day,” and even the theme song to her hit sitcom,
“Living Single.”  

Queen Latifah brought Rapsody, Remy Ma, MC Lyte, Yo-Yo, and Monie Love on stage. Witnessing them all rap along to the empowering classic, especially with Remy holding her daughter on her hip, was an especially cool moment.

4. Big Daddy Kane Didn’t Come To Play

Source:Rock the Bells

Big Daddy Kane takes the cake as one of the best live performers in Hip Hop. He danced, he brought his young son out, and he put a stamp on his legacy as one of the most charismatic, trendsetting lyricists Hip Hop has ever witnessed.

5. Rakim’s Flawless Performance

Source:Rock the Bells

The God MC brought his master plan to life with a flawless performance. Rakim is a lyrical giant and Hip Hop icon that paved the for elite lyricism. His performance rounded out a diverse celebration of the genre as he delivered hits like “Don’t Sweat The Technique,” “Juice” (Know The Ledge),” “My Melody,” Move The Crowd,” “Mahogany,” “The Microphone Fiend,” “Eric B Is President,” “I Know You Got Soul,” “I Ain’t No Joke,” and of course, “Paid In Full.”

6. MC Lyte’s A Living Legend

MC Lyte's A Living Legend Source:Getty

MC Lyte delivered a smooth nd unforgettable set that brought the sun-drenched stadium to life. Her and her fans they rhymed along to songs like “Cha Cha Cha” and “Ruff.”

7. Cold Crush Brothers

Source:Rock the Bells

Cold Crush Brothers opened the show. The rap legends reminded fans why they’re considered one of the most pivotal rap groups of all time, who helped pave the way for Hip Hop’s mainstream exposure.

8. Grandmaster Flash Casually Dropping Gems Backstage

Source:Sirius XM

When Flash speaks, listen.

9. MC Sha-Rock Spreading Love

MC Sha-Rock Spreading Love Source:Getty

Rap’s first female MC took the stage by storm. Every act that performed was sure to pay their respects. From Roxanne Shanté to Queen Latifah, they would have been remised to not pay homage. Sha-Rock’s set was dynamic, as she reminded everyone of her place in the game, and why Hip-Hop remains a force in culture and music.

10. Rock The Crowd

Rock The Crowd Source:Getty

Redman and Method Man jumped off the stage to get closer to the fans.

This undeniable rap duo have long been two of the most respected live performers in Hip Hop for a reason. They know how to move the crowd, and they did that last Saturday. They performed their hits “How High” and “Da Rockwilder” while two-stepping, throwing water on the crowd and crowd surfing.

11. Run-DMC Are True Rockstars

Source:Rock the Bells

Music icons Run DMC are the true kings of Queens. They rocked the stage, running through their classics like “Tricky,” “My Adidas,” and more. Queen Latifah and Big Boi rapped along from the side of the stage, proving even the biggest stars are fans of these legendary rockstars.