Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival 2011: Show & Prove 7/11/11 (Recap)
Photos by Liz Allen.
Brooklyn Bowl in Williamsburg, Brooklyn was a sight to behold. There was a young, Black man that wore a snapback, basic tee, camo shorts and Chuck Taylor’s. There was a young, Asian man that was dressed nearly the same, save for the retro Jordan’s on his feet. There was a Black man here who celebrated his Pan-African roots, wearing garbs and a beaded necklace reminiscent of his native Nigeria. There was a white man there in a Stussy shirt and cargo shorts with an identical beads, except his were Thai. There was a middle-aged woman there wearing an outfit you would see in the late 80′s or early 90′s. There was a girl probably half her age that was dressed the same.
This was the scene at the Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival’s event, Show & Prove, which took place Monday, July 11. The first event of the week’s festivities defined the growth of Hip-Hop and Brooklyn,NY. In fact, this mixture of fashion and styles, this erosion of cultural boundaries and racial differences has defined the evolution of both landscapes as a whole. It was only right that the event centered around 3 new acts that championed this new generation in Hip-Hop.
While I appreciated performances of veterans The Architects, J-Live, and Camp Lo, I was most interested in the new artists that would be performing. Chris Faust, LA, and the Clear Soul Forces had won their respective preliminary rounds earlier this year at Brooklyn Bodega events. BHHF brought them together to celebrate their talent, and have them compete once more to open up for the main concert this Saturday. They embodied that evolution and growth in Hip-Hop, and brought the diversity I witnessed in the Brooklyn Bowl to life on stage.
The first to hit he stage was Chris Faust, representing Brooklyn, NY. 2 Dope Boyz has cosigned the artist formerly known as Print for some time and with good reason. He was backed by a singer and live band, and wasn’t overpowered by either. The chemistry was evident between them all: the singer backed up Faust as he flowed over the sound of the band. Between the covers and remakes of popular songs, including Drake’s “Fireworks,” as well as his own personal work, you could not deny his talent. Faust even called me out on how I hard I was rocking to his music.
LA strutted on stage next. Backed by her own band, she was full of energy and attitude. You could tell she was Brooklyn girl: that attitude and confidence coupled with warmness and humility. You could tell she had a background in spoken word, there was a dramatic flare behind her lyricism uncommon with the typical rapper. You couldn’t tell that she had only been performing with her band for a weeks: she rode the keys, flowed over the violin, and jumped to the percussion like she started her career with them. LA demanded the crowd’s attention and the crowd gave it willingly. And when she felt she lost that attention, she dove off the stage… twice. The first time she danced to some oldies then successfully seduced Jah C. The second time she finished her set, exiting the mosh pit around her confident she had captured our hearts.
The last act to swarm the stage was the Clear Soul Forces, a group of 4 young men from Detroit, Michigan. They had no band, just their DJ and swag. The four would just flawlessly transition between each other, shifting from hype man to lead before you noticed. They’re apart of a new generation of Hip-Hop artists from Detroit, but Brooklyn couldn’t tell the difference. They all had different flows, and one or two would sit out of a song, but they could all spit. They relied on lyricism and attitude and the crowd of New Yorkers adored it. Their songs were heavy on bass that you could feel in your chest. You could also feel there intensity, their hunger for more in their lives and career. If they would have ran in Kanye West in that radio station instead of Big Sean, I’m sure the quartet would be finally famous.
The Artifacts, J-Live and Camp Lo owned the stage with a confidence that comes with time and dedication. They have been able to stay successful and relevant in Hip-Hop after 10-15 years; young artists today hope to just get recognized.
The Artifacts were a successful underground Hip-Hop group, and have earned success as solo artists. They could still rock the crowd together, as they ran through their group and individual catalogs. J-Live was incredible. He was completely at ease with his live band on stage and in his hometown. Since their beginning, Camp Lo has put out quality music produced by Ski Beatz. However, they closed the show with music from their newest mixtape, 80 Blocks From Tiffany’s, which was produced by Pete Rock.
I still can’t decide who I thought should have opened on Saturday between Chris Faust, LA, and the Clear Soul Forces. I don’t know what the criteria was, and I wouldn’t have been able to judge one act over the other. However, I’m happy for LA for winning the opportunity to perform in her hometown. I’m sure she will capture the crowd’s love like she captured the crowd at Show & Prove.
If you haven’t been to a Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival 2011 event, please check out the remaining events for the week and attend. It doesn’t matter who you are or where you’re from, but you need to be here in Brooklyn NOW. It is a true celebration of Hip-Hop, past, present and future inspiration to all.
Special thanks to Liz Allen and Jah C. They have been absolutely wonderful to me as I try to capture the creativity flowing through this festival. They believe in my words, and I believe in their movements.
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