Friday, July 27, 2007

MUSIC: Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival

So, please bear with me, I know I'm late on this one...

The Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival is on it's 3rd year at the Tobacco Warehouse in Dubmo (this is my second year going) and seems to be limping like a three-legged dog at a frat party. Meaning, still fun but not too steady. The entertainment began with the insistent e-mails to pre-register, buy tix online, and donate money that filled my inbox to overflowing, but who couldn't use a reminder? And I have to insist here that if you are attending next year, you might as well donate $5.

New this year, the Brooklyn Bodega made an ambitous move from one day of music to 5 (count 'em 5!) whole days of Hip Hop immersion. Those days included a screening of Wild Style at Brooklyn Bridge Park, book signing at Powerhouse Arena and a Staxx Records 50th anniversary party. The June 21st event "Hip Hop Under the Bridge" featuring Uncle Ralph McDaniels was sadly cancelled, but most of the other events went off without a hitch...except for the actual festival. Am I building suspense over what the big problem was? I hope I am...

This year's BHHF featured performances by a literal drove of artists, including Large Professor, Consequence and headlined by Ghostface with a super-secret surprise guest. The day dawned quite brilliantly sunny, a beastly hot but beautiful cloudless day. Last year we were all huddled under the tent hiding from the rain, but this year was full of sunshine, everyone sat on the field soaking in the sun through their Timbalands. I, as usual, covered myself in SPF 60 sunscreen. So, the first thing I was looking foward to was the festival food, always overpriced but delicious. Blue Mountain Caribbean Delights was slated to provide Rotis and authentic food just like my mother used to but now refuses to make...but they were conspicuously absent. My disappointment over that was abated by the ever dependable Rice, a Thai fusion restaurant that supplies rice, kebabs, roasted corn and flavored lemonade. The one absence that threatened to ruin my day was that there was no beer!

As an event sponsored by the Brooklyn Brewery, usually they are the exclusive suppliers of beer, but it turns out that the Brewery did not file their papers in time to get permits. I don't consider myself a beer fanatic, but it was the perfect excuse to sit out on the grass with all my friends and indulge in a frosty one at 3 in the afternoon. This seems like a huge blunder to me, because no one could bring beer in either. I noticed several people, including some of my companions, making plans to leave, have a beer and come back later. However, around 5PM they implemented a no re-entry rule.

Anyway, irregardless of the red tape shenanigans it was great show for free. Between no Caribbean food and no beer, I was all set up to be cranky...but it was a beautiful day. I'm not much of a music critic, so I won't even go there...I know you're disappointed. I will say that I was so far away from the stage I couldn't see very much at all but it was worth it to sit on the grass. The musical acts ranged from hip hop and rap to jazzy and loungey. Finally, Ghostface took the stage with as many living members of the Wu Tang that could be crammed onto the stage. There was literally no room for anyone else after the super-secret surprise guest came was Fat Joe, he appeared out of no where and it was very surprising. Everyone got to their feet and sung along with all the songs they knew...I never know much past early 90s one-hit wonders so I just waved my hands in the air when asked. Ghostface timed his performance to perfectly coincide with the sun setting behind the Brooklyn Bridge, or at least I like to think that he timed it that way. All in all another awesome summer Saturday in Brooklyn.

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