The 2010 Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival may have battled some rain at points, but in true poetic form, the Brooklyn Bridge itself sheltered the artists and concert goers from much of the precipitation during yesterday's annual festival in Dumbo.
Produced and organized by Wes Jackson's Brooklyn Bodega, this year's event had several historic moments. Headlined by De La Soul, yesterday's eight-hour event closed as the sun started to set with the Long Island trio - and Maseo noting that the first chapter in his life was spent living in Brooklyn. The group performed hits from all six of their official albums, and left the stage promising more material to come.
Another iconic Hip Hop trio, Black Moon, also promised more material. With Da Beatminerz' DJ Evil Dee holding down crisp scratches in the Red Bull booth, 5ft and Buckshot stood on speakers and played a plethora of hits inspired by the burough behind them. The Duck Down family was strong, as Smif-N-Wessun also performed one of the more charged sets from the afternoon, garnering pinnacle points of crowd support. Both Skyzoo and Torae finished out the Duck Down showcase with strong sets. Tor also held it down as master of ceremonies for much of the afternoon, working with Uncle Ralph McDaniels who revived his annual post as event host.
The early afternoon was driven by strong performances from Philadelphia's Dice Raw, Washington DC's Diamond District and Detroit's Black Milk, all working on 2010 releases.
As the rain came, Curren$y took the stage with Ski Beatz on a computer, along with a full-band. The Roc-A-Fella/Def Jam Records artist charmed the crowd with jokes, as he encouraged "Jet life" and played a number of selections from Pilot Talk, which drops this Tuesday.
Another relative newcomer, Fashawn, played some notables from Boy Meets World. The Fresno, California sensation catered to the New York crowd and broke into "Halftime" and "Represent" from his recent Illmatic-inspired mixtape, before rapping over the beat to "Juicy," a production largely created by another artist who performed yesterday - Pete Rock.
Pete Rock and CL Smooth took the stage together - the first time in New York in a reported nine years. The duo performed only two songs, but two of their best known hits, "They Reminisce Over You (T.R.O.Y.)" and "Straighten It Out."
Rakaa Iriscience and DJ Babu represented strong for Dilated Peoples. The emcee revealed selections from this month's Crown of Thorns release, including his Evidence-produced single "Delilah." Both artists arrived in Brooklyn having performed in Switzerland the day before.
One of the true highlight events of yesterday's afternoon came courtesy of Brooklyn resident deejay J. Period. The mixmaster who's worked with Lauryn Hill, CL Smooth, Big Daddy Kane and The Roots created a live "30 minute mixtape." Artists such as Group Home, The Cold Crush 4, Nice & Smooth, DJ Premier, Marley Marl, Craig G, Dres, Sadat X and others shuffled through a set that was based entirely on late '80s and '90s Hip Hop classics, as J. Period worked through the records. During Nice & Smooth's performance of Gang Starr hit "DWYCK," DJ Premier took the stage. Smooth B commanded fans to point to the sky to "Honor Guru in Heaven," as fans were asked to rhyme Gifted Unlimited's famous verse from the Hard To Earn classic.
Other artists enjoying the festivities included Large Professor, Michael Rappaport, Kevin Powell, Popmaster Fabel, Da Beatminerz' Mr. Walt, Mick Boogie, Eternia, Pack FM and others.