RECAP: Brooklyn Hip-Hop Fest Finale Concert Reassembles 20 Years of Busta Rhymes


Footage/photo credit: Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival (Brooklyn Bodega)

Native Tongue. Leaders of the New School. Flip Mode Squad. The Conglomerate. YMCMB.

If Busta Rhymes was a basketball player, he’d be the Ray Allen of the league. A sweet shot, but prone to move on at some point.

It was his past 20+ years, however, that Busta Rhymes masterfully reassembled at the 8th Annual Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival’s final day concert yesterday (July 14). With his longtime hype man Spliff Star at his side, the boisterous rapper pulled off a high-energy set in front of his hometown crowd of a few thousand on Pier 3 in Brooklyn.

First, there was Busta and Spliff running through some solo hits, with “Dangerous” and “Gimme Some More” setting the pace for Busta’s (still) lightning-fast, lyrical lippery. Then came the processional of collaborators: from a super-animated Lil Fame of M.O.P. on “Ante Up”, to a chained-up, swagged out Slick Rick on “Children’s Story”, to Leaders members Charlie Brown and Dinco D (wow…where have they been?) on “Case of the PTA”, and Reek Da Villian and Buckshot, too.

From backstage, a shaded-out Q-Tip, wearing all-black-everything, made a mad dash to the mic for A Tribe Called Quest’s 20-year-old banger, “Scenario”, just before the NYPD called time on the event, but right after he brought Phife to the stage (dope!). The fans recited the lyrics word-for-word, lifting them high enough so the people watching way up on the freeway above could join in, too. And it was still clear 20 years later that Busta anchored that song.

Throughout the set, the hits didn’t stop coming. And the crowd – that had been surprisingly, somewhat cool to performers during the hot day – thanked Busta well for his musical contributions.

Earlier in the day, Uncle Ralph McDaniels of Video Music Box, rapper Kosha Dillz, Brooklyn’s own DJ Esquire, and host/performer Maya Azucena kept the momentum going between sets that also included Double Dragon’s Fat Tony and Tom Cruz, with their Nigerian-inspired sounds, a set from Rhyme Calisthenics, and proclamation presentations from a few of Brooklyn’s elected officials.

Cali’s Chuuwee also brought his good-natured brand of “stoner rap” to the stage mid-day, flowing steadily for the crowd who didn’t all know him, but were feeling him just the same. The Brooklyn support was mixed with irony, considering Chuuwee’s last album was called Watching The Throne, an obvious borrow from the borough’s top dog, Jay-Z.

Not to be overlooked, in the backstage artist village, there were important faces, too – some of them monuments to the culture and the music, such as Pharrell, Jeru The Damaja, Tek and Steele from Smif N Wessun, Sadat X, Jarobi of EVITAN, and more.

Indeed, there was lots of love in the air courtesy of the organizers from Brooklyn Bodega – proof positive that Hip-Hop owes a great deal of its legacy to the County of Kings.

Be sure to catch up on some of’s additional BHF’12 coverage:

VIDEO RECAP PT. 1: Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival Finale Concert Reassembles 20 Years of Busta Rhymes

Faces of BK Hip-Hop Fest: Dres and Jarobi of EVITAN on New Music (and Jarobi’s Cooking Show!)

Faces of BK Hip-Hop Fest: Young Guru‘s Crusades and Crates Run Deep