If anyone thought hip-hop was dead the reality is the real hip-hop will never die, hip-hop is in a state of an identity crisis but the Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival let us know we are taking a small step in the right direction. This was evident with a line up that contained true pioneers of the art like Big Daddy Kane, Craig G, Buckshot, and C.L. Smooth to today’s true emcee’s who have stuck to the fundamentals like Rhymefest, Sean Price, Lupe Fiasco, the Procussions, the Strange Fruit Project and Talib Kweli.
The event started off bleak with constant rain and that evening was another Brooklyn’s artist’s night as Jay-Z’s celebration of 10 year anniversary of Reasonable Doubt was taking place at Radio City Music Hall, attendance did not look promising. However, Brooklyn in fact stood up and came through in surprising numbers.
An initial strong performance from the Strange Fruit Project in which they performed songs produced by 9th Wonder and featured guests like Erykah Badu they left people amazed and ready to hit up their local Best Buy.
The Procussions who traveled all the way from the slopes of Colorado and stated that they were honored to be in “it’s” majesty, “it” being Brooklyn lived up to their name. With enough energy to make the “Hyphy” movement look like the Waltz and hard beats the Procussions kept the crowd intrigued. Sleepy Brown followed and unfortunately put the crowd to an extent asleep with rendition snippets of cameos he made on Outkast songs and the Got Purp album people needed a quick reminder of why they were there.
Buckshot and Sean P. were just the duo to do so. Buckshot performed laced the crowd with classic freestyles while Sean P reminded up of the gridy side of Brooklyn while performing on stage with his son beside him.
One of the highlights of the event was the surprise appearance of C.L. Smooth who reminded the crowd how powerful hip-hop was with Reminisce in which he basically performed the song with audience.
Craig G. came on stage and schooled everyone of where and why hip-hop was created and then the Brooklyn massive was blessed with a freestyle by Talib Kweli. Jesus Walks co-writer, Rhymefest was so excited to be there performed in the crowd while holding his own poster.
To reinforce that hip-hop still has a heartbeat, Lupe Fiasco proved line by line that there are still talented emcees who can flow in a variety of ways while still sounding original, performed Kick Push and a new joint produced by Pharrell and left Brooklyn wanting more by stating his album Food & Liquor was pushed back to August 29th but the track he has with Jay-Z is crazy while exciting stage right.
Big Daddy Kane brought the event to a close performing old school joints, spitting freestyles. At the age of 37 years he told us he was tired but had enough to make hip-hop heads think his album was dropping tomorrow.
In all, the event was crazy and hip-hop is not dead, we may have to search a bit harder for it but if we listen the beats and rhymes are still there.
* All photo's taken by Dale Coachman for MVRemix Media.