Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival has always prided itself on showcasing new
and established artists during its highly anticipated main performance
day. This year was no different, as thousands of Hip-Hop fans swarmed
Empire-Fulton State Park to witness performances from 88-Keys, Mickey
Factz, Blu & Exile, DJ Premier, Buckshot, and KRS-One.
first well received stage show came from West Coast standouts Blu &
Exile, who worked hard to invigorate the crowd out if its 90 degree
heat induced stupor. The smart audience was familiar with the groups
critically acclaimed Below the Heavens, and happily sung along to No Greater Love and Dancing in the Rain.
fumbling over a few lines due to sound mixups, Blu still won over the
crowd with his genuine, introspective lyrics and energetic presence he
brought to the stage.
to time constraints, legendary producer DJ Premier found his set
confined to a mere 15 minutes. Still, the greats have always been adept
at improvising, and Premier instinctively knew which tracks would
maximize his reception.
of nostalgic recognition resonated throughout the park when Premier
played Biggies Unbelievable. The trip down memory lane continued as
the backbone of Gang Starr blew through his Illmatic standouts NY
State of Mind and Represent.
Not Nas! Premier bellowed over his mic. This is Nasty Nas!
Even with the short set, Premier was not content with passive bystanders, especially in Brooklyn.
me ask yall something; do yall really love Hip-Hop music? said a
flabbergasted Premier after a weak reception to the singing intro of
Group Homes Supa Star. But do you respect it, though? Theres a
difference between listening to it and respecting it. You can listen to
it all day and be a clown. So if you love Hip-Hop help me sing this!
with that declaration, Premier had officially given BK permission to
wild out as he sequenced into Gang Starrs Full Clip. With thousands
of hand signal Ls raised in remembrance of fallen Harlem MC Big L,
Premier had once again showed the DJ will always be an integral part of
native and Boot Camp Clik leader Buckshot was up next. With the serene
Brooklyn Bridge as his backdrop, Buckshot was right at home. His
energetic and partial acapella performance of No Comparison began to
slowly build up the crowd as he transitioned to the timeless boom-bap
of the original Crooklyn. The quick punch of successive classic
tracks worked well to Buckshots advantage, and by the end of the song
the crowd was thoroughly engrossed in his performance.
to build on his leverage, Buckshot continued the assault with the
sinister How Many MCs, Buck Em Down Remix, and the sprawling,
Barry White assisted rhythms of the I Got Cha Opin Remix. With the
latter, one of the Black Moons most recognizable remixes, the
thousands of fans in attendance engaged in a seamless call and response
in accordance with the hooks declaration to duck down!
most of the classic songs accounted for, there was one song left for
Buckshot to perform; the seminal debut single Who Got Da Props?
Testing the smartness of the crowd, Buckshots DJ played the intro of
the sample, Ronnie Laws enchanting Tidal Wave, before dropping the
1993 upgrade. The front area was littered with numerous fans flailing
their arms and head nodding, and one could visualize them wearing the
JanSport backpacks of the bygone era.
a great cutting intro by DJ JS-1, KRS stormed the stage with an
interpolation of Stop the Violence over Jeremy Hardings
Playground/Zim Zimma riddim. Easily controlling the crowd, the Bronx
veteran went straight for the jugular with The Bridge Is Over and
MCs Act Like They Dont Know.
problems and dwindling time were a non-issue for the Blastmaster, as he
took the opportunity to freestyle over several beats: Black Robs
Whoa, 50s Back Down, and B.I.G.s Who Shot Ya? The Teachers
improvisations were so proficient that he had to admonish his DJ to
keep up, as Kris requested a new beat to drop every fourth bar.
leaving KRS also took a moment to get political, as he endorsed Kevin
Powells bid for the Congressional House seat in New Yorks 10th District, and cautioned all in attendance to understand their voting rights before making a selection in this years election.
mantra since the 80s has been that they keep on taking it. And this
day, the borough lived up to it, as the BK Festival once again took
Hip-Hop to a higher level.