On July 16th, 2016 thousands from all over came together to witness the Finale Concert of the 12th Annual Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival. From newcomers like Radamiz and Don Flamingo, to Hip-Hop heavyweights like Nas, Fabolous and Talib Kweli, this year’s concert did not disappoint. Hosted by Torae and Uncle Ralph McDaniels, the BK Hip-Hop Fest made its way back to Brooklyn Bridge Park after spending two years in WIlliamsburg. The event was full of surprises and big announcements all across the board. If you weren’t there, then you surely missed Hip-Hop history in the making.
For the main event, this year’s leading lady Rapsody graced the stage with legendary producer and DJ, 9th Wonder by her side. During her amazing performance, she saluted the Black Lives Matter movement, and recited the names of Trayvon, Mike Brown, Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. Not to mention she first announced on our stage that she had officially signed to Jay Z’s Roc Nation label. To say Rapsody is an amazing artist is an understatement. She came and showed out all for the love of Hip-Hop. We congratulate her on her success and future as a Roc Nation artist.
Talib Kweli was up next and brought out classic supergroup, The Crooklyn Dodgers. It was both nostalgic and reminiscent as they performed the classic “Crooklyn”. The original group of Buckshot, Masta Ace and Special Ed came through and showed love, as fans both young and old rocked out in the pouring rain and chanted the lyrics like a mantra. Talib definitely kept the crowd hype by performing a few classics of his own, including “Get By”, with lyrics that still reign true in 2016. It goes without saying that they all did their thing on stage, with both new music and nostalgic classics that we’ve all grown to know and love.
By the time the later part of the afternoon rolled around, the crowd was ready to see the Young O.G. himself, Fabolous. He kicked off his performance by playing some of his older hits for those rocking with him since his beginnings as a rapper. From hit’s like “I’m So Into You”, “Superwoman”, and “Can’t Deny It”, to his work on the “Summertime Shootout” mixtape, Fab has not only solidified himself as an artist, but to have such a catalogue of music in just under a twenty year span is nothing short of remarkable. He even brought out fellow Brooklyn duo Smiff-N-Wessun who not only crushed their performance, but showed how it goes down in the Bucktown. Not to mention Lil Fame of M.O.P., who got the crowd moving with “Ante Up”, it was almost impossible to not yell out the lyrics without jumping all over the place. Fabolous also brought out Dyme-A-Duzin, winner of Tropical Fantasy’s first ever New Flavors of Hip-Hop Award. “I didn’t have a fellow Brooklyn MC hold me down or get on any of my records coming in the game, but I know what young Brooklyn can do given the opportunity, I’m just trying to help the level up!” Fab said of the up-and-coming rapper. Now this is how you spread love the Brooklyn way, and we hope to see more of this in the future.
Finally, there was the moment the crowd was waiting for, the headliner and one of the greatest to ever touch the mic, Nas. He was backed by New Orleans-based band The Soul Rebels, who started off his set with the black national anthem, “Lift Every Voice and Sing”. Immediately following, Nas burst onto the stage and gave a performance you wouldn’t want to miss. From performing timeless records off of “Illmatic” and announcing the twentieth anniversary of his sophomore album “It Was Written”, Nas has definitely left his imprint in Hip-Hop history. He even put out the idea of possibly having a Lost Tapes concert (this has not been confirmed to be a set project). Rapping “What Goes Around” over Michael Jackson’s They Don’t Really Care About Us” was not only unexpected, but possibly one of the highlights of most festival attendees. When speaking on his inspirations of greats such as Eric B. and Rakim & KRS-1, he went on to say “But then in 1994 they all had to buy my ****.” Even going as far to rap “Halftime” over the classic anthem “I Ain’t No Joke”, and performing “Memory Lane (Sittin’ In Da Park) over Outkast’s “So Fresh, So Clean”. Fans in the crowd shouted out his lyrics as if their lives depended on it. That alone shows how much of an impact Nas has had in the last two decades of Hip-Hop. All in all, both Nas and The Soul Rebels showed the crowd what Hip-Hop is really all about.
With this all-star lineup, the Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival has showed yet again that Hip-Hop will always prevail. From younger fans, to old-school hip-hop heads, Hip-Hop’s forty-plus years of existences proves that it’s not going anywhere. For recaps and highlights on things you missed out on, head on over to our website and catch up on everything on the Finale Concert.
Check out these dope performances from the Finale Concert!