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Rock the Bells and Powerhouse 09: Hip-hop festivals go head-to-head this Saturday

August 6, 2009 |  2:19 pm


Two of L.A.'s most significant summer hip-hop shows are on the same day this year, leaving fans to choose between Rock the Bells and Power 106's Powerhouse 09 on Saturday.

While this means that Los Angeles remains something of a mecca for top-flight live hip-hop in America, it also illustrates that the genre has competing visions for its relevance, and that booking a rap festival is only slightly less logistically complex than planning a moon landing. Fans are left in a devilish quandary trying to pick between sets. But Saturday's shows are not, Rock the Bells promoter Chang Weisberg said, anything like a duel.

"My initial reaction was to get upset," Weisberg said. "To paraphrase Shakespeare, I felt a bit like 'Et tu, Brute?' There are fans out there who love both Nas and Jay-Z and are going to have to make a choice. But I know Power 106 was handcuffed and had no choice in this, so I hope we can both sell a whole bunch of tickets."

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