Thursday, June 11, 2009

One big weekend of music in Brooklyn, from hip-hop to reggae

Pharoahe Monch

By Meredith Deliso

It’s a weekend of hip-hop and dancehall beats in Brooklyn when two music festivals come to the borough boasting such top talent as Pharoahe Monch and Beenie Man.

First up on June 20 it’s the Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival, which for the past five years has been drawing the borough’s B-Boys and B-Girls to the DUMBO waterfront for a celebration of hip-hop music and culture.

Held at DUMBO’s Empire Fulton Ferry State Park (located between the Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridges) from noon to 8 p.m., the festival zeroes in on local developing artists and puts them on the biggest stage they’ve ever been on, as well as speaking to those who grew up on hip-hop with performances by more old-school acts.

Past festivals have seen Ghostface Killah, Lupe Fiasco, KRS ONE and Big Daddy Kane play, and this year welcomes headliner Pharoahe Monch, a New York-based rapper of the legendary duo Organized Konfusion and the single “Simon Says.”

Returning to the festival is DJ Premier, one half of Gangstarr, as well as a producer for artists like Notorious B.I.G., Jay Z, Nas, Snoop Dogg, The Black Eyed Peas and 50 Cent. With the recession making sponsorships not what they were in the past, Jackson was afraid he wouldn’t be able to afford Premier. That was until his manager, Phat Gary, said not to worry about it, that this was something Premier needed to be a part of, “almost like it’s my duty as a kid who grew up in Brooklyn to make sure this event is as big and successful as I can make it.”

Other acts confirmed as of press time to play include Grand Puba, Donny Goines, Tiye Phoenix, Nyle, Keys N Krates, Eagle Nebula, MC Styles P, Smif N Wessun, who are preparing for a new album this summer, and J Period, a staple of the festival.

Last year also saw the inclusion of the Brooklyn Hip-Hop Family Day, a half-day event geared towards those who grew up on Rakim and A Tribe Called Quest who were bringing their children to experience the festival’s music festival for themselves – what the festival’s organizers like to call “hip-hop families.”

Organizations participating include Black Girls Rock, which will be teaching kids how to DJ, The Beacon Program, Metropolitan Hospital, The League of Young Voters, CityYear, Brooklyn Crescents Youth Lacrosse Team, and SohNup Industries NYC, among others. There will also be activities like face painting, sneaker decorating (with shoes donated from Foot Locker), and silk screening sessions, and events from the Brooklyn Children’s Museum and Transit Museum.

“It’s almost like a mini version of what happens at the Atlantic Antic,” said festival founder Wes Jackson.

As more acts take to the stage, the family portion will move to the north lawn of the park, a perfect playground for families looking to spend the day outdoors and hear some music. When the festival first started, held in the parking lot of sponsor the Brooklyn Brewery, that option may not have been as welcoming.

“A parking lot in the middle of Williamsburg is cool,” said Jackson, “but being at the base of the Williamsburg Bridge and having the headliner go on as the sun is setting, it couldn’t be better.

There is a suggested donation of $10 for the festival. For more information, go to


The tables turn to reggae, ska, and R&B, as well feature more hip-hop, when the Brooklyn Music Festival returns to Floyd Bennett Field on June 21.

Last year’s festival, produced by Jammins Entertainment, was more reggae focused, with Gregory Isaacs, Mavado, Bunji Garlin, Marcia Griffiths, FayAnn Lyons and Serani among those on the bill.

This year’s features a more diverse lineup in terms of music to accurately represent this “melting pot” of a borough, as well as with the food, as many multi-cultural food vendors will be on hand that day.

On the bill are such major acts as reggae and dancehall artists Beenie Man, Bounty Killa, Capleton, Serani, Tarrus Riley, Ding Dong, and Mavado, the DJ Elephant Man, hip-hop artist Big Daddy Kane, Spice, reggae singer Natural Black, Barbee, and R&B/reggae band New Kingston.

Most of these acts would be worth the price of admission alone, but you can find them all on one Brooklyn stage.

Tickets range from $59 to $100 (VIP), though children under 12 are admitted for free.

The concert will be held outside of Aviator Sports and Recreation at Floyd Bennett Field (located on Flatbush Avenue, just south of Belt Parkway, Exit 11S). Gates open at 1 p.m.

For more information, call 718-282-8041.


Copyright © 2009 All rights reserved

  © Blogger templates The Professional Template by 2008

Back to TOP