Jay Elec brings out Jay Z, J. Cole, Mac Miller & more at BK Hip Hop Festival [Review]
The 10th annual Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival was sponsored by HipHopCanada. Our very own Maxwell Benson was on hand to capture the day’s events. Check out his review below:
Brooklyn, NY – On July 12, 2014, the world experienced a supermoon, but the stars were aligned in Brooklyn. The constellations at the Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival (by Brooklyn Bodega) were made up of: CJ Fly, CyHi the Prynce, Jay Electronica, and Raekwon (The Chef). The hosts for the star studded night were DJ Rob Swift, Uncle Ralph McDaniels, and Torae of the Barrel Brothers.
The vibe of the festival reflected the intensity of the borough it is named after: Brooklyn. A city that is full of wonderful surprises around every corner and its yearly hip-hop festival has become known for its own surprises. The anticipation of who may be a special guest was only heightened when Elliott Wilson (Rap Radar/ Jay Z’s Life and Times), Ty Ty (Jay Z’s right-hand man), Thirstin Howl III (LO Lifes), Meyhem Lauren, and the legendary Afrika Bambaataa were all back stage. It is also a good sign when the security for an event is Zulu Nation security.
Before the headliner had even begun, Brand Nubian, Buckshot of Boot Camp Clik, and Psycho Les (Beatnuts) had all graced the stage backed up by Rob Swift. They were followed by CJ Fly and CyHi the Prynce. For most that would have been a great line up, but this is the Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival… and that was just the appetizer.
To say that Jay Electronica is a master at building anticipation, is an understatement. His entrance was with the 30 plus members of FOI (Fruits of Islam) in full uniform, and had those that know real hip-hop reflecting and wondering if his intentions were true, or was he simply paying homage to Public Enemy. The anticipation got greater as the first round of surprise guests hopped on stage with Jay Electronica.
At one point he had Mac Miller, Talib Kweli, and J. Cole on stage, at the same time. He screamed at the crowd with every guest that came on stage, “Can I turn the energy on this up a little more?!”. The energy was at its climax when he stopped the show and told everyone in attendance to throw their diamonds in the sky.
Moments later, Jay Z was on the stage.
Jay Electronica and Jay Z went through a medley consisting of: “Young Gifted & Black”, “We Made it”, “Shiny Suit Theory” and “P.S.A.”
But the highlight of Jay Electronica’s performance was when he went into the crowd, propped on top of someone’s shoulders and paid homage to the late great, J Dilla. Performing their collaboration “Abracadabra”, while the crowd chanted J Dilla’s name.
I will say this, Jay Electronica has the makings of very special emcee. Verbally gifted, spiritually in tune, and has the backing of one of the best in the game, Jay Z and Roc Nation. He has the potential to uplift millions if he can navigate the sea of temptations and stay true to himself. He looked ready for war and God knows hip-hop needs a man with his potential right now.
Another emcee that has all the same characteristics listed above is Raekwon. When he hit the stage after Jay Electronica, one would think it would be hard to top the show that preceded him. Raekwon and DJ Scram Jones did what they do best and brought out the best of the best of underground Brooklyn emcees as guests. These included AZ, doing “Life’s A Bitch” and Lil Fame (M.O.P) getting the crowd going with an East Coast anthem, “Ante Up,” and finishing off the set with Papoose. Raekwon’s Wu brother in arms, Masta Killa, came through and did his verse on “Glaciers Of Ice.”
The Chef reinforced why he was the headliner of the show when he demonstrated his lyrical prowess by doing not only his verse, but all other verses of his fellow WU-Members on “Protect Ya Neck.” The highlight of the set was when Rae paid homage to his fallen brother, Ol’ Dirty Bastard, by doing “Shimmy Shimmy Ya” with the entire crowd singing along. Raekwon also brought out Troy Ave. and new internet sensation, Bobby Shmurda.
The Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival is truly a source of eternal water for those that feel hip-hop is in a lyrical mirage right now. Wes Jackson and his team have created a place where people that love the culture as a whole can go. The replenishment of the mind, body and soul with the essences and elements of what Kool Herc, Afrika Bambaataa, hoped it would be for generations to come. If there is a Mecca for like minded hip-hop lovers to gather, I believe the Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival may be it.
I’ll see you all there next year!
A special thanks for making my time in NYC goes out to Bryan over at TheBeeShine.com. This man is doing work in archiving hip-hop like no other! Check him out!
Written by Maxwell Benson for HipHopCanada
Photography by Maxwell Benson for HipHopCanada
Photography by Maxwell Benson
Twitter: @BKHipHopFest | @BrooklynBodega | @MaxwellInfo
Tags: Afrika Bambaataa, AZ, Brooklyn Bodega, Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival, CJ Fly, CyHi The Prynce, DJ Rob Swift, J Dilla, J. Cole, Jay Electronica, Jay Z, Lil Fame, M.O.P., Masta Killa, Meyhem Lauren, Ol' Dirty Bastard, Papoose, Psycho Les, Raekwon, Ralph McDaniels, Roc Nation, Talib Kweli, The Beatnuts, Thirstin Howl III, Torae, Wu-Tang Clan