Our 12th Annual Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival went off this past Saturday without a hitch and we couldn’t be more proud. Yeah, we’re patting ourselves on the back for it. After months of hard work and planning and hitting a few bumps on the road (some more like craters), to be able to witness the crowd reflect such intense energy once the performances kicked in and to see every single person be on the same positive wavelength, is all the gratuity we need to make all those sleepless nights worth it.
Now let’s get into some juicy details about the Finale Concert.
“When you tell your friends you saw me today, don’t tell them you saw a female MC or female rapper, you tell them you saw a Motherf*****n’ beast!”, shouted Rapsody to her audience before announcing her signing with the huge entertainment conglomerate Roc Nation. And yes, a lyrical beast is exactly what she is. She came in strong with her performance as she controlled the crowd and had them throw up the notorious Roc Nation diamond hand sign during her set. From the first time I saw her perform at Brooklyn Bowl I knew she had a gift, that je ne sais quoi, of crowd control. Her mere stage presence makes everyone stare and listen to her in head- nodding awe as she boom baps us with her metaphorical lyrical flow. And that’s exactly what a motherf*****g beast of an MC does. There aren’t too many of those out here nowadays representing this strong so much love to the MC, Rapsody, for being that beast and blessing our stage and audience.
Now, Mr. Kweli never disappoints either. What stood out to me about his performance was that when the dark skies opened up and began pouring rain, his crowd did not budge or run for cover (but thank goodness for the TIDAL towels they were handing out at their booth). Talib hypnotically drew the crowd to him and kept them there throughout his entire hour long set. Who does that? Only a Hip-Hop icon can. While keeping his audience rockin’ in the rain hit after hit, Talib didn’t fail to represent his beloved borough right by bringing out Hip-Hop vets, Crooklyn Dodgers and performing their classic song along with them. They all came correct in showing their Brooklyn love.
Nobody can tell me that Fabolous does not represent and come through for Hip-Hop, especially after his performance on our stage. When Fab hit the stage I saw young Hip-Hop heads and older Hip-Hop cats reciting his lyrics word for word. I saw men and women dancing in vendor lines as they waited to be served. And it gets even better. I saw a New York City Police Officer in full uniform straight up singing, bopping and two-stepping to Fabolous as he patrolled our Vendor Village up and down. “This is how I give back to the community. Just because you wear a uniform doesn’t make you above the law. You don’t have to change who you are just because you wear a gun and a badge. I’m from the hood and this is me!” said the Brooklyn born and raised NYPD Officer. So much respect to the NYPD for helping to keep it real and safe in our community and big up to Fabolous for bridging that gap and creating music that continues to bring people of all ages and all walks of life together.
And then we have Nas, who, well, is Nas and everything he does is pretty much golden to the Hip-Hop culture. I’m sure you know by now that he was backed by The Soul Rebels, the jazzy eight piece band hailing straight out of New Orleans and you may have even heard them if you came out to vibe with us this past Saturday. How live (pun intended) was their live musical touch to Nas’ performance? To have both Nas’ lyrical legacy come together with their live instrumentals created one of the Festival’s most high octane performances of the Finale Concert. As The Soul Rebels kicked into Michael Jackson’s familiar Human Nature beat, Nas exclaimed “this right here is one of our weapons, music” making the crowd cheer in approval, right before segwaying into his classic “It Ain’t Hard To Tell”.
The Finale Concert was all about good vibes all day. A mission that we at the Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival strive to achieve and try to replicate year after year for our Festival family through constant hard work. We could not be more grateful for having such a dope turnout with the most amazing people who truly believe in Hip-Hop’s positivity and influential value. Thank you for making the 12th Annual Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival one for the ages. Now get ready as we begin planning for your 2017 Hip-Hop ride experience!