Last weekend I took a trek to Brooklyn for the 6th Annual Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival. Even though it rained off and on all day, I didn’t let my love for Hip-Hop stop me from taking an hour long train ride to see the legendary De La Soul. Plus, I’ve always been a major supporter of the event’s organizer, Brooklyn Bodega. Since 2006, Brooklyn Bodega provides readers an online magazine/blog that has constantly respected the art of journalism, as well as keep the lifeline on Hip-Hop in world where tabloids and TMZ has dominated the news game. Spearheaded by Wes Jackson, he and his staff have developed a music program with a week of academic workshops and seminars on Hip-Hop as well as events catered to DJ’s and upcoming artists. Jackson, has a long and rich music background from producing concerts for major acts, to starting his own Seven Heads Promotions. He and his staff have developed the radio, television, and online component of Brooklyn Bodega to the tune of well over two million hits a week on the internet. The Hip-Hop Festival is an offshoot to the world of Rap music by keeping it in one of the boroughs where it’s produced icons like The Notorious B.I.G to Mos Def.
This year’s festival featured performances from Smif-N-Wesson, Buckshot, Masta Ace, DJ Babu, DJ Premier, Craig G, Dres from Black Sheep, Nice & Smooth, Sadat X, Marley Marl, Group Home, Black Milk, and Da La Soul. The beautiful thing about the BHHF is it’s family oriented as well as inexpensive. For all of these acts, most summer tours or festivals like this would charge around $70.00 or $80.00. Brooklyn Bodega’s mission is for music fans and New Yorkers to be entertained without hitting your wallet. This year’s show cost $15.00 and your pass is good all day. For eight hours, you can enjoy up-and-coming acts, current, and the legends for the price of a extra large pizza. Also, the on site vendors sold food that was also economical as well as filling.
I saw parents walking and pushing their children on site while Black Moon rock the stage. These are the same parents that used to listen to De La Soul’s “3 Feet High and Rising” while they were either in high school or college. Thats what makes the Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival so unique and innovative. This is one of the first festivals that embrace the legacy of the music through the music, dance, art, and culture of Hip-Hop. Parents are exposing another side of Rap music that’s constantly being inundated by MTV, Fuse, BET, and the social music networking websites to the younger generation. By witnessing a Marley Marl, Black Milk, and Buckshot perform live, you can see how the music is always in constant evolution. Similar to how roots music like Blues evolved to Country, from Country to Honky Tonk, from Honky Tonk to Bluegrass. This festival pays homage to the greats as well as next generation. Emcee Ralph McDaniels, host the long-running television show Video Music Box, explained some of the important history of many of the artists like Nice & Smooth and DJ Premier before they graced the stage. So, it was like the Rap heads were getting schooled as well as entertained at the same time.
Empire Fulton Ferry State Park right along the historic Tobacco Warehouse, and Brooklyn Bridge Plaza and New Dock Street, make the venue more spacious where people aren’t stepping on each others toes and more comfortable for the Family Day Block Party.
As you guys read and watch my weekly column and segments, I cover and report on many events across the country, yet, I highly recommend you attend next year’s Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival. Those who are attached to married and family life and have outgrown the club phase, this is an event you can proudly attend and not feel the coldness of a nightclub or concert hall. Or, those who want to participate in a festival where the artists want you to have a good time whether your German or Dutch, then the Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival is something you need to experience.
Before I close, I want to add that Brooklyn Bodega sponsors events throughout the year that support the arts outside of Hip-Hop, although they’re the eyes and ears of the music. So, in addition to supporting the festival, please visit their website daily for the latest news and upcoming events at www.brooklynbodega.com.
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