Event Recap: 2012 Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival Finale Concert Feat. Busta Rhymes, M.O.P. Slick Rick, Leaders of the New School & A Tribe Called Quest

Venue: Pier 3
Location: Brooklyn, NY, USA
Date: July 14, 2012
Words: Jabari Nyomba
Photos and Videos: Allhiphop.com/Brooklyn Bodega

When thinking of hip-hop artists and longevity, few names readily come to mind who manage to stay relevant yet adapt with the times, all the while remaining true to their original style. One of them is the 20+ year veteran Busta Rhymes, who performed in his native Brooklyn this past Saturday for the concert finale of the 8th Annual Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival.

Busta made sure to touch on songs from every year of his long career, bringing traffic overlooking I-278 to a crawl. After his introduction Busta slowly walked onto the stage, a smile suspensefully beaming from his face before he opened his set with Pass The Courvoisier, causing the crowd to erupt. He covered most of his classics (Dangerous, Rhymes Galore, Woo Hah!!!, and Gimme Some More among others) as well as his newer tracks such as his verse on Chris Brown’s Look At Me Now, which he completely murdered on stage. Everything about Busta was high energy, a seasoned vet who proved his lyrical ability was no product of studio processing. Personally I wished he did more of his singles instead of album cuts, but I later realized that those songs displayed his lyrical dexterity to its fullest and stayed true to the New York definition of “real” hip-hop.

Throughout the set, the “Friends” of Busta (who included Lil Fame of M.O.P., Flipmode Squad members Reek Da Villian and J-Doe, Smif-N-Wessun and Buckshot) would burst upon the stage renewing the already high energy levels. However three “Friends” really stole the show. The crowd went crazy as Busta brought out the legend Slick Rick, whom performed Children’s Story. History was made as Busta and his former group mates from Leaders of the New School (Charlie Brown & Dinco D) reunited live for the first time since they broke up in 1993 and they did not disappoint. The set ended with the three performing Scenario with A Tribe Called Quest members Phife Dawg and Q-Tip. True to form, Busta’s verse was the best in the song.

Overall the event was great for those who love the art of hip-hop. Ominous clouds were present initially, but the sky cleared up throughout the day, which set the stage for a successful event.  The venue took place at Pier 3 right below Brooklyn Heights, which has the perfect view of adjacent Manhattan from across the East River. As soon as you walk into the area behind the fences, you see a van marketing the newest team in New York City, Jay-Z (partially) owned Brooklyn Nets, complete with televisions with NBA 2K that allowed you to play with the team and their recently revamped roster. Also on hand was the to-be-released The Hip Hop Dance Experience (Xbox 360 and Wii) video game where users can dance to their favorite hip-hop tunes.  

For all the nostalgia going around for old school hip-hop, surprisingly no one was selling a mixtape. Then again, gone are the days of hip-hop music and culture being part of a niche market. Instead, products associated with hip-hop culture blurred with mainstream marketing, resulting in unlikely pairings such as a craft beer making a 40oz version of its product. But the spirit of hip-hop remained. There were many vendors selling food, clothing, accessories, books, paintings, etc.; all of which promoted hustling(of the legal variety), the grind, the history of hip-hop, and the phrase that pays “Spread love it’s the Brooklyn way.” It was also refreshing to see this event having the support of local politicians, with Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz and State Senator Eric Adams both giving statements about the importance of hip-hop and its role in the community.

Uncle Ralph McDaniels of Video Music Box hosted the event along with DJ Esquire, Jewish rapper Kosha Dillz and soul singer Maya Azucena. Several emcees graced the staged throughout the afternoon but not many of them got the crowd going. The music played between sets by the DJs got the crowd hyper. Where else could you hear an entire group of people recite Biggie’s Dead Wrong and Eric B & Rakim’s Eric B For President word for word? The crowd’s response to Mobb Deep’s Shook Ones beat was louder than quite a few of the performers. There were some standouts who included Double Dragon (Fat Tony & Tom Cruz), Rhyme Calisthenics, and Chuuwee, all three of whom garnered loud applause from the crowd.

If you’re ever in New York during the beginning of July and you’re a hip-hop fan, this event is for you. This is a great place to bring the kids and expose them to hip-hop that is not played on commercial radio today. Word is bond son.

Relive the festival and check out these incredible videos of the show:

Medley of Entire Show


1) Pass The Courvoisier

2) Rhymes Galore
3) Ante Up (with Lil Fame from M.O.P.)

4) How Many MCs (with Buckshot from Black Moon)
5) I Got Ya Open (with Buckshot from Black Moon)

6) Woo-Hah!!! Got You All In Check

7) Party Is Goin On’ Over Here
8) What It Is

9) I Know What You Want
10) Respect My Conglomerate
11) Gimme Some More
12) Stop The Party
13) Dangerous
14) King Tut

15) Look At Me Now

16) Children’s Story (with Slick Rick)

17) Case of the P.T.A. (with Leaders of the New School)
18) Scenario (with A Tribe Called Quest)

19) Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Can See

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