The 2nd Annual Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival feat. the Procussions, Big Daddy Kane, Lupe Fiasco, and Sle

Darren Ratner

It seems like just yesterday that Biz Markie was charming us with 'Just a Friend' and Slick Rick was recasting the 'Mona Lisa'. Oh, how the times have changed...

The 2nd Annual Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival feat. the Procussions, Big Daddy Kane, Lupe Fiasco, and Sleepy Brown

The 2nd Annual Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival feat. the Procussions, Big Daddy Kane, Lupe Fiasco, and Sle

City: Brooklyn, NY
Venue: The Tobacco Warehouse BKNY
Date: 2006-06-24
g src="" alt="" width="10" height="10" border="0" /> Email f" alt="" width="10" height="10" border="0" /> Email Print
c="" alt="" width="10" height="10" border="0" /> Comment Oh, how the times have changed. It seems like just yesterday that Biz Markie was charming us with the unwavering squelch of "Just a Friend," British beat master Slick Rick was recasting the "Mona Lisa," and the Beastie Boys were putting white-boy rap on the map. Then there were the gold chains and shell-tops; they defined "urban" style as it began to appear on street corners against a backdrop of beat boxes and Ghetto blasters. We've come a long way. Over the course of its 25-year history, hip-hop has continued to evolve, constantly shifting thanks to everything from the stripped-down street flow of Audio Two's "Top Billin'" to the Dirty South ballistics of Juvenile. That's why the best parts of the 2nd Annual Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival -- coolly located in an abandoned tobacco warehouse underneath the picturesque Brooklyn Bridge -- are the visual representations of what hip-hop used to be, where it's going, and why shifts in creativity are so important to its survival. There's not a whole lot to be said for the festival's expensive beer and even more expensive food, which I managed, with much effort, to avoid. But there's plenty to be said for the creativity that came early in the day. Playing second, the Procussions -- a scrappy, fiercely-independent trio from Colorado Springs, Colorado (of all places) -- came out of the gate early and stood as the day's most innovative, if not best, performers.

Lupe Fiasco
"We feel blessed to be in this mighty kingdom they call Brooklyn," they said. "This is a really big deal for us." It was a big deal for the audience, too. Major-label acts on the bill, such as Lupe Fiasco (who's worked with Kanye West) and Sleepy Brown (best known for his contribution to Outkast's hit album Speakerboxx/The Love Below) gave cold performances -- preferring to verbally push their new albums rather than let stellar shows do the talking. The Procussions, on the other hand, managed to wow the crowd with old-school- and new-school-style numbers, loading them with contagious rhymes, terrific soul, R&B breakdowns, and rock 'n roll heart. Mr. J. Medeiros, whose vocals run a close second to the Beastie Boys' Adam Horovitz, added a punk element to the mix, sporting a mohawk and chiming in with intermittent screams. Bushy-haired Stro stuck to his tight, lyrical flow and drum solos, while Rez glided across the stage with suave demeanor. As good as they are live, the Procussions aren't exactly a renegade hip-hop trio. The group's label, Rawkus Records, was responsible for igniting the career of such indie artists as Mos Def and Talib Kweli before shutting its doors temporarily in 1994. Riding on rich, textured lyricism, sleek instrumentation, and a multitude of rhythms, independent hip-hop has had time to contend with the repetitive thuds of the mainstream.

Big Daddy Kane
The Procussions, however, don't seem terribly concerned with classifications. The central idea behind their music is "unconditional love" -- evident on addicting tracks such as "Miss January", "Carousel", and "The Storm". They seem most interested in billboarding the oft-forgotten bond between imaginative arrangement and hip-hop's inherent street smarts. By the time Brooklyn's own Big Daddy Kane took the stage as the festival's headliner, the Procussions were, presumably, a memory to most. The continuous downpour of rain had subsided and most of the audience was excited to set eyes on a legend. There was an undeniable respect paid to Kane, now 37, who needed little explanation of his greatness. He slid and skipped across the stage with a cool confidence, as if infallible, and led the crowd through silky-smooth tracks and key moments in hip-hop history. Wouldn't it be a shame if Kane himself failed to notice a group like the Procussions? With an uncertain future and a world of talent, the threesome could definitely benefit from a well-deserved push. But then, maybe they'll be fine without one. Hell, if they keep performing the way they do, stardom might come together on its own. That's how it worked 25 years ago, at least.

The Procussions - The Storm

The year in song reflected the state of the world around us. Here are the 70 songs that spoke to us this year.

70. The Horrors - "Machine"

On their fifth album V, the Horrors expand on the bright, psychedelic territory they explored with Luminous, anchoring the ten new tracks with retro synths and guitar fuzz freakouts. "Machine" is the delicious outlier and the most vitriolic cut on the record, with Faris Badwan belting out accusations to the song's subject, who may even be us. The concept of alienation is nothing new, but here the Brits incorporate a beautiful metaphor of an insect trapped in amber as an illustration of the human caught within modernity. Whether our trappings are technological, psychological, or something else entirely makes the statement all the more chilling. - Tristan Kneschke

Keep reading... Show less

This has been a remarkable year for shoegaze. If it were only for the re-raising of two central pillars of the initial scene it would still have been enough, but that wasn't even the half of it.

It hardly needs to be said that the last 12 months haven't been everyone's favorite, but it does deserve to be noted that 2017 has been a remarkable year for shoegaze. If it were only for the re-raising of two central pillars of the initial scene it would still have been enough, but that wasn't even the half of it. Other longtime dreamers either reappeared or kept up their recent hot streaks, and a number of relative newcomers established their place in what has become one of the more robust rock subgenre subcultures out there.

Keep reading... Show less

​'The Ferryman': Ephemeral Ideas, Eternal Tragedies

The current cast of The Ferryman in London's West End. Photo by Johan Persson. (Courtesy of The Corner Shop)

Staggeringly multi-layered, dangerously fast-paced and rich in characterizations, dialogue and context, Jez Butterworth's new hit about a family during the time of Ireland's the Troubles leaves the audience breathless, sweaty and tearful, in a nightmarish, dry-heaving haze.

"Vanishing. It's a powerful word, that"

Northern Ireland, Rural Derry, 1981, nighttime. The local ringleader of the Irish Republican Army gun-toting comrades ambushes a priest and tells him that the body of one Seamus Carney has been recovered. It is said that the man had spent a full ten years rotting in a bog. The IRA gunslinger, Muldoon, orders the priest to arrange for the Carney family not to utter a word of what had happened to the wretched man.

Keep reading... Show less

Aaron Sorkin's real-life twister about Molly Bloom, an Olympic skier turned high-stakes poker wrangler, is scorchingly fun but never takes its heroine as seriously as the men.

Chances are, we will never see a heartwarming Aaron Sorkin movie about somebody with a learning disability or severe handicap they had to overcome. This is for the best. The most caffeinated major American screenwriter, Sorkin only seems to find his voice when inhabiting a frantically energetic persona whose thoughts outrun their ability to verbalize and emote them. The start of his latest movie, Molly's Game, is so resolutely Sorkin-esque that it's almost a self-parody. Only this time, like most of his better work, it's based on a true story.

Keep reading... Show less

There's something characteristically English about the Royal Society, whereby strangers gather under the aegis of some shared interest to read, study, and form friendships and in which they are implicitly agreed to exist insulated and apart from political differences.

There is an amusing detail in The Curious World of Samuel Pepys and John Evelyn that is emblematic of the kind of intellectual passions that animated the educated elite of late 17th-century England. We learn that Henry Oldenburg, the first secretary of the Royal Society, had for many years carried on a bitter dispute with Robert Hooke, one of the great polymaths of the era whose name still appears to students of physics and biology. Was the root of their quarrel a personality clash, was it over money or property, over love, ego, values? Something simple and recognizable? The precise source of their conflict was none of the above exactly but is nevertheless revealing of a specific early modern English context: They were in dispute, Margaret Willes writes, "over the development of the balance-spring regulator watch mechanism."

Keep reading... Show less
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.