LL Cool J & Black Thought Go On A Rampage

This past weekend (August 5), the 2023 Rock The Bells Festival took place in Queens, New York. Performers at the all-day event included Run-D.M.C., Slick Rick, Redman & Method Man, Queen Latifah, Naughty By Nature, Rapsody, Brand Nubian, Boot Camp Clik, and many more.

LL Cool J, who produced the event, headlined with The Roots and DJ Z-Trip. They are taking this show on the road with The F.O.R.C.E. Tour this month—named after LL’s upcoming album, executive produced by Q-Tip. During their evening set, LL Cool J and The Roots performed a version of EPMD’s “Rampage,” the game-changing EPMD and Uncle L collaboration from 1990’s Business As Usual. However, instead of Erick Sermon and Parish Smith, Black Thought served as LL’s copilot in the lyrical carnage.

Parrish Smith Discusses LL Cool J Dissing EPMD ON THEIR OWN SONG (Video)

Ambrosia For Heads was in attendance and captured the performance featuring The Roots providing music, alongside Z-Trip. In the version, LL led with a verse from “The FORCE,” his new Q-Tip produced single. Questlove and Stro Elliott added additional percussion for emphasis to L’s new track, before the Queens legend breaks into the incredible guest verse from the same year he dropped Mama Said Knock You Out. In a red outfit with one pant-leg rolled up, L freaks the crowd with a tight delivery. Z-Trip freaks the Scratch-chorus, while The Roots’ brass section plays the track.

That beat then gives way to a Black Thought section. He does a rendition of his 2017 Sway In The Morning freestyle opposite his co-star from The Deuce, Method Man. The beat seamlessly evolves into a stretched-out groove of “Jingling Baby.” Notably, the MC flips the Marley Marl remix version to “You’re tuned in to a Roots remix single,” pointing over his shoulder to Questlove.

LL Cool J Rocks A Q-Tip Beat With Force

Elsewhere in the day’s events was a Queen Latifah version of “U.N.I.T.Y.” performed with MC Lyte, Monie Love, Rapsody, Remy Ma, and Renée Neufville from Zhané. Like LL with The Roots, this was performed alongside the Emmy Award-winning Adam Blackstone and his band as well as respected veteran turntablist DJ Dummy.

Remy, holding a daughter, provides ad-libs while a jubilated Queen Latifah performs her Grammy-winning song. Notably, Black Reign turns 30 later this year. Latifah later took the stage for KayGee and her Flavor Unit family, Naughty By Nature. In 2021, Lyte, Monie, Rapsody, and Remy joined Lil’ Kim in celebrating Latifah with the song at the BET Awards.

Remy Ma & Rapsody Are Rap’s New Dynamic Duo

#BonusBeat: Several selections from Black Thought and El Michels Affair’s Glorious Game album are currently on the AFH playlist: