LL Cool J’s “Rock the Bells” hip-hop festival draws hundreds in Queens

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NEW YORK — Hundreds turned out in Queens on Saturday for a hip-hop festival hosted by two-time Grammy winner LL Cool J.

Some of the biggest names in hip-hop took the stage at the inaugural day-long “Rock the Bells Festival” at the Forest Hills Stadium.

“I was looking forward to looking at the culture, putting on a showcase for ’90s artists, people who have been around for, like, 20 years, and that’s exactly what happened, so it fulfilled my dreams, so I’m good,” Buffalo resident Jayce Hill told CBS2’s Thalia Perez.

The event was named after LL Cool J’s brand, Rock the Bells, and was hosted by the hip-hop icon, who is also from Queens.

LL Cool J rose to fame with songs like “Going Back to Cali” and “Mama Said Knock You Out.” He was the first rapper to rack up 10 consecutive platinum-selling albums and was recently inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Earlier this week, he spoke with CBS Mornings.

“It’s a complete immersive experience. It’s like an opportunity for people that, you know, love the music, love the musicality of it, love the creativity, love the artistry, to enjoy just themselves. There’s food, activations, it’s going to be crazy. One-day festival,” he told them.

As part of the experience, ticket holders got a chance to dine at the the first all rapper-owned food court, featuring Bun B’s Trill Burgers, Mia X’s Team Whip Dem Pots, Jadakiss and Styles P’s Juices for Life.

“I just was looking for a great time, history, Queens, the city’s opening back up, all these great performers from when we were young,” Queens resident Jahlil Mack said.

“My favorite moment so far was when Busta Rhymes came on and he just hyped up the whole crowd. He’s awesome. The energy is just great. Everybody’s having a good time,” another festival attendee said.

Organizers say partial proceeds from ticket sales will be donated to the Universal Hip-Hop Museum in the Bronx.

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