Reporting Scott T. Sterling
At the May 14th press conference launching the 2013 Rock The Bells tour came the surprising announcement that deceased rap legends Ol’ Dirty Bastard of the Wu-Tang Clan (who died in 2004) and Eazy-E of N.W.A. (who died in 1995) would both be appearing onstage at the 10-year anniversary of the traveling hip-hop festival.
In an exclusive interview with Radio.com, Rock the Bells founder Chang Weisberg made a point to explain what exactly fans can expect to see from the late rappers.
“It’s an original virtual performance, not a hologram,” Weisberg insisted. “I never used the word hologram. There are a number of multimedia visual effects that will be applied that will definitely at the very least make the performances look like a hologram. People’s minds will be blown.”
Ol’ Dirty Bastard’s virtual performance will be part of Wu-Tang Clan’s headlining appearances, marking the 20th anniversary of that band’s 1993 full-length debut, Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers). It will follow the collective’s triumphant shows at this year’s Coachella festival.
“Then we have Bone Thugs-n-Harmony with Tomica Wright representing Eazy-Z,” he continued, in reference to the popular ‘90s hip-hop act that Eazy-E signed to his Ruthless Records label in 1993, and whose show will feature the late rapper’s virtual performance.
Tomica Wright, Eazy-E’s widow, seems excited for the virtual performance of her late husband at Rock the Bells to help breathe new life into his music and legacy.
“To have old generations, new generations be able to experience that chemistry between ODB and Eazy and Bones – you see it on video, you see it on the Internet, but to feel it and have that sense of presence is a great experience,” she told Rolling Stone. “It’s a great milestone and one, for me personally, as a friend, a family member and also knowing that his children, maybe some of his grandchildren and people who have idolized from a distance and never had that experience are able to experience a portion of that, is a great thing.”
Ol’ Dirty Bastard’s mother, Cherry Jones, was equally enthusiastic about seeing her son represented during the Wu-Tang Clan shows.
“Last night was the first time I saw it, and to me, it was so wonderful to stand by him again,” Jones said regarding the ODB virtual performance. “I don’t know how I’m going to react – they’ll have to carry me off. But I think it’s amazing. I want to sing with it.”
Rock the Bells 2013 tour dates are as follows:
September 7-8 – San Bernardino, California
September 14-15 – Mountain View, California
September 28-29 – Washington, D.C.
October 4-5 – East Rutherford, New Jersey