Reviews

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="http://images.popmatters.com/bullet.gif" alt="" width="10" height="10" border="0" /> Email f" alt="" width="10" height="10" border="0" /> Email Print
c="http://images.popmatters.com/bullet.gif" 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


Music


Books


Film


Television


Recent
Music

The 10 Best Experimental Albums of 2015

Music of all kinds are tending toward a consciously experimental direction. Maybe we’re finally getting through to them.

Books

John Lewis, C.T. Vivian, and Their Fellow Freedom Riders Are Celebrated in 'Breach of Peace'

John Lewis and C.T. Vivian were titans of the Civil Rights struggle, but they are far from alone in fighting for change. Eric Etheridge's masterful then-and-now project, Breach of Peace, tells the stories of many of the Freedom Riders.

Music

Unwed Sailor's Johnathon Ford Discusses Their New Album and 20 Years of Music

Johnathon Ford has overseen Unwed Sailor for more than 20 years. The veteran musician shows no sign of letting up with the latest opus, Look Alive.

Jedd Beaudoin
Music

Jazz Trombonist Nick Finzer Creates a 'Cast of Characters'

Jazz trombonist Nick Finzer shines with his compositions on this mainstream jazz sextet release, Cast of Characters.

Music

Datura4 Travel Blues-Rock Roads on 'West Coast Highway Cosmic'

Australian rockers Datura4 take inspiration from the never-ending coastal landscape of their home country to deliver a well-grounded album between blues, hard rock, and psychedelia.

Books

Murder Is Most Factorial in 'Eighth Detective'

Mathematician Alex Pavesi's debut novel, The Eighth Detective, posits mathematical rules defining 'detective fiction'.

Music

Eyedress Sets Emotions Against Shoegaze Backdrops on 'Let's Skip to the Wedding'

Eyedress' Let's Skip to the Wedding is a jaggedly dreamy assemblage of sounds that's both temporally compact and imaginatively expansive, all wrapped in vintage shoegaze ephemera.

Film

Of Purges and Prescience: On David France's LGBTQ Documentary, 'Welcome to Chechnya'

The ongoing persecution of LGBTQ individuals in Chechnya, or anywhere in the world, should come as no surprise, or "amazement". It's a motif undergirding the history of civil society that certain people will always be identified for extermination.

Television

Padma Lakshmi's 'Taste the Nation' Questions What, Exactly, Is American Food

Can food alone undo centuries of anti-immigrant policies that are ingrained in the fabric of the American nation? Padma Lakshmi's Taste the Nation certainly tries.

Film

Performing Race in James Whale's 'Show Boat'

There's a song performed in James Whale's musical, Show Boat, wherein race is revealed as a set of variegated and contradictory performances, signals to others, a manner of being seen and a manner of remaining hidden, and it isn't "Old Man River".

Music

The Greyboy Allstars Rise Up to Help America Come Together with 'Como De Allstars'

If America could come together as one nation under a groove, Karl Denson & the Greyboy Allstars would be leading candidates of musical unity with their funky new album, Como De Allstars.

Music

The Beatles' 'Help!' Redefined How Personal Popular Music Could Be 55 Years Ago

Help! is the record on which the Beatles really started to investigate just how much they could get away with. The album was released 55 years ago this week, and it's the kick-off to our new "All Things Reconsidered" series.

Music

Porridge Radio's Mercury Prize-Nominated 'Every Bad' Is a Wonderful Epistemological Nightmare

With Every Bad, Porridge Radio seduce us with the vulnerability and existential confusion of Dana Margolin's deathly beautiful lyricism interweaved with alluring pop melodies.

Music

​​Beyoncé's 'Black Is King' Builds Identity From Afrofuturism

Beyoncé's Black Is King's reliance on Afrofuturism recuperates the film from Disney's clutches while reclaiming Black excellence.

Reading Pandemics

Colonial Pandemics and Indigenous Futurism in Louise Erdrich and Gerald Vizenor

From a non-Native perspective, COVID-19 may be experienced as an unexpected and unprecedented catastrophe. Yet from a Native perspective, this current catastrophe links to a longer history that is synonymous with European colonization.

Music

John Fullbright Salutes Leon Russell with "If the Shoe Fits" (premiere + interview)

John Fullbright and other Tulsa musicians decamped to Leon Russell's defunct studio for a four-day session that's a tribute to Dwight Twilley, Hoyt Axton, the Gap Band and more. Hear Fullbright's take on Russell's "If The Shoe Fits".

Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews

Features
Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.