Thursday, July 21, 2011

Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival 2011 Recap


The Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival, for those of you that don't know, is an annual festival put on by Brooklyn Bodega for the means for celebrating not only music but the entire hip-hop culture. Last year the format was expanded from a one day music festival to one full week of showcases and forums reflecting and effecting hip-hop. This year included the Show & Prove Super Bowl, "Under the Influence" Art Event, Bodega Education Initiative, Salute The DJ, Bodega Awards Recognition, Family and festival day, and culminated with an afterparty. 

Show & Prove Super Bowl at Brooklyn Bowl

Show & Prove is a showcase of independent hip-hop artists from around the country that were all competing to be the opening act at this years festival. Winners from three previous competitions came together at the "Super Bowl" event and a winner was chosen. This years artists included Chris Faust, L.A, and Clear Soul Forces and was held at Brooklyn Bowl. 
Chris Faust opened the show the event performing with a live band and back up singer. I remember Faust from a few years back when, like I stated above, he used to go by Print but had kinda lost track of him a long the way. He put on a good performance. He worked the stage but nothing to memorable, honestly, and I like dude. Maybe I went into it expecting too much from someone that has been around as long as he has been.                                                                           Next up was Brooklyn native and fan favorite, if for no other reason that she is from Brooklyn, L.A. I was a bit disappointed by her performance. She clearly had the crowd support as she jumped down into a crowd of her friends to perform and dance, but lacked the ability to perform for the WHOLE crowd. She chose her group of people and kicked it to them, knowing that if she could get them live enough then it might earn her the win, which it eventually did. One thing that may have left a bad taste in my mouth is this...dropping the mic. She spit some mediocre verse and then dropped the mic and walked away, only to come back and pick it up for another verse. She lost me right there. If you drop the mic on purpose and walk away, you better have spit a hot 16 and blown the stage up...figuratively speaking. Gimme a damn break!
Detroit's Clear Soul Forces closed out the Show & Prove portion of the event. They had energy, enthusiasm, their delivery was on point, and they moved the crowd. Wimpy, J-Roc, E-Fav, and Iljade played off one another and to the crowd in such a way that I was positive they were gonna go on to perform on Saturday. As I mingled through the crowd prior to the announcement, all the buzz was about Clear Soul Forces. Apparently the "judges" didn't feel the same...and declared L.A the winner.
The night was not over yet though, as we soon found out. Up next were performances by The Artifacts, J-Live, and Camp Lo. The Artifacts were good...not great. J-Live put on a great set. I like dude, he is truly the "Triple Threat". The highlight of the night though was definitely Camp Lo. Maybe it's because I am a fan, but Sonny Cheeba and Geechi Suede killed it. They played all their classics and a few joints from their new mixtape with Pete Rock, 80 Blocks From Tiffany's. The Show & Prove Super Bowl was definitely a great kickoff (no pun intended) the festival.


Salute The DJ

We all know that the DJ is an essential part of hip-hop culture, this night was to recognize those that manage the wheels and to pay homage to Mr. Magic with featured sets from the legendary Marley Marl, Grand Wizzard Theodore, Mista Sinista (X-ecutioners), Rholi Rho (5th Platoon/IBP), Chairman Mao (ego trip), Twilite Tone, DJ Getlive and hosted by Torae. All bullshit aside, this night was dope. Other than the main day,  I think this is the portion of the festival that I was most looking forward to...Salute The DJ. I was not disappointed. They all killed it...the DJ set highlights for me were DJ GETLIVE and Mista Sinista. GETLIVE and Rholi Rho were on the wheels together and put on an incredible set of back and forth turntablism that I have never seen before. Check out Mista Sinista below.


Then for the grand finale and dayum this was crazy. Marley Marl took the stage and brought some friends with him for his "Rap Attack" showcase. Just a little history for those of you who, like me, weren't quite hip to the Rap Attack: 
Rap Attack was New York City’s first exclusive rap radio show on WBLS airwaves in 1982 with Mr. Magic as the host and Marley Marl as the DJ. Not only did “Rap Attack” pave the wave for virtually all Hip-Hop radio shows but also gave birth to a number of Hip-Hop careers including Biz Markie, Rakim, Big Daddy Kane, Kool G Rap Pete Rock, Masta Ace and of course the tremendous legacy of The Juice Crew.
Along with Marley Marl came Craig G, Roxanne Shante, Keith Murry, Force MDs,  as well as hip-hop pioneers the Cold Crush Brothers. It was insane to see all those artists take the stage in one night. The highlights of the showcase included the Cold Crush Brothers on bended knee crooning to all the fake rappers out there, and the funky dance moves of the Force MDs. Check it out...





Continue after the cut for the wrap up of the Main Day performances...



Main Day Festival

The line up for this years festival looked pretty damn good and I have to say I was a little geeked out to get to see some of these guys/ladies perform. This years main day was to be headlined Q-Tip and "friends" with an undercard of L.A., God'silla, Nitty Scott, PHONY PPL, Eternia, Homeboy Sandman, Shad, Random Axe, Kendrick Lamar, and M.O.P. Q-Tip and friends could literally mean anyone...he has worked with so many artists.  The day started late, and by late I mean 2 hrs late. Apparently Q-Tips soundcheck went 2 hours long...imagine that. Due to the late start, each performer prior to Kendrick Lamar was only given 10-15 minutes. So two hours of standing in the sweltering heat and the show got underway as expected with Show & Prove winner L.A. Nitty Scott, another Brooklynite, came out and was alright but she looked good at the same time. PHONY PPL then brought their version of jazz/fusion/hip-hop to the stage followed by a short but enthusiastic set from Eternia. Homeboy Sandman continued the show with at frenetic 10 minute 3 song set.... Are you getting the picture of how things went? You would just start to get into their set and...BOOM...it was over. Sean Price, Guilty Simpson, and Black Milk, or Random Axe collectively, took the stage and before passing the mic to Kendrick Lamar. Somewhere in there Shad hit the stage for a brief nanosecond. The MASH OUT POSSE killed it and the crowd definitely appreciated it on tracks like Ante Up.




Seriously, if you stepped away to the bathroom or get a drink you might miss 2 artists. So let's move on to the only artist that got to perform his allotted time and not get rushed on and off the stage, your headliner for 2011...Q-Tip. Let me just say that it was well worth the 2 hour wait and rushed, almost frantic, openers. I mean it's Q-Tip aka Kamaal The Abstract...and you know this dude has friends. He initially came out and did a couple joints keeping us all in suspense. Tip's first guest was Brooklyn MC, Sean Penn for a couple of songs. Tip followed that up with fellow Native Tongues member Monie Love  for a performance of "Monie In the Middle".  Up next was Black Thought from the legendary Roots crew to perform a couple joints including "Bonita Applebum". I've said it before and I will continue to say it...Black Thought is vastly underrated as an emcee. The one "friend" that I think everyone expected was up next, Busta Rhymes, and he did not disappoint. He came out with such intensity and fire that the crowd immediately got hype. He stayed on to perform a couple different song from the Tribe days including "Oh My God". The surprise of the show came in the form of Kanye West who came out and performed three track from his latest album. "Dark Fantasy", "All Of The Lights", and "Power" shut it down, but it wasn't until Kanye joined Kamaal for "Award Tour" that the place when absolutely nuts.



Tip then exited stage right, only to return for an encore of "Vivrant Thing". Then in the fading light and the shadow of the Brooklyn Bridge it was over...exactly on time. The entire week was incredible, it definitely met and exceeded expectations. I will be back Brooklyn, thank you and good night.


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