Today marks the start of the Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival. Entering its ninth year, it started at a time when the eyes of the hip-hop nation weren’t as glued to the culture’s birthplace as it once was, allowing the festival each subsequent year to remind the world why New York hip-hop is not only pivotal and important, but consistently great. This year’s festivities are no exception, boasting a bigger line-up and presence than ever. Being that there’s so much going on, especially with the recent explosion of fresh new New York talent over the past year or so, we’ve assembled this list of who’s performing to help bring you up to speed with all the talent rocking the stage. This is our guide to the 2013 Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival.
BHF ’13 “Back to Work” Kickoff Party
Brooklyn Bodega’s Dumbo Loft
8 p.m., $5.
The Brooklyn Bodega’s Dumbo Loft will be the sight of the invite-only (or limited edition ticket purchased) party to mark the start of the week’s festivities. DJs J. Period, Jenny Blaze and Mobile Mondays will be on hand getting the party started alongside the Festival staff, performers, sponsors, vendors, media and anyone purchasing the specified tickets here.
The Show & Prove Superbowl
8 p.m., $5.
Since April, Brooklyn Bodega’s been holding monthly judged performance showcases featuring some of the underground’s hungriest artists, all hoping for the coveted slot performing at Saturday’s final day of the festival. April’s finalist Billy Conahan and Famous, May’s finalist Undeniable and June’s finalist Kon Boogie have each been building a strong reputation for years, so the spirit of competition is sure to bring out the best in each of them.
SATURDAY: Family Day and Artist Performances
Brooklyn Bridge Park
Saving the biggest and best for last, Saturday closes the festival at the Pier 5 Uplands of Brooklyn Bridge Park on Joralemon St. in the Greenway section of Brooklyn with a family-friendly hip-hop themed festival. Starting at noon, there will be music, workshops, and exhibitions from a bevy of community based organizations. Admission for children 12 and under is free.
Following Family Day, sit tight for one of the the most jam-packed hip-hop festival line-ups of the year:
Justo 2 p.m.
Definitively New York in his syllable-stacking style, 22-year-old Justo first popped up on hip-hop radars after recording with his cousin, the underrated DJ Vic Black of Gang Starr Foundation. Putting out tracks since 2010, and blistering through every stage that would have him since (most memorably at the Occupy Wall Street protests) Justo’s charisma has stood out among contemporaries who’ve attempted to bring back the snarling confident East New York style with much less success. With the news that his forthcoming album’s going to be produced by DJ Premier, Pete Rock and Marco Polo, there’s a promise of brand new boom-bap to batter the speakers on Saturday.
Dillon Cooper, 2:15
19-year-old Brooklynite Dillon Cooper shifts flows in songs with the ease of a hot summer sprinkler system, so his early set should be ideal in getting the Brooklyn summer party vibe established. A rapper, guitarist and in-line skater, it’s unsure exactly which of his talents he’ll be bringing to the festival setting. Following Cooper at 2:30 will be a set from the winner of Brooklyn Bodega’s annual Show and Prove competition to earn a spot performing at the festival.
Danse of BKLYN STICKUP, 2:50
BKLYN STICKUP, a collective of New York MCs, DJs, Producers, Directors and other artists have been gaining buzz for their back-to-basics, stripped-down, unmistakably New York approach. Representing them at BHF will be Danse, who personifies what the group is about. Strictly adhering to the foundations of classic New York hip-hop to almost a militant degree, Danse’s focus is matched by his energy, making him one of the day’s most anticipated sets.
Soul Understated, 3:10
Lead by vocalist Mavis “SWAN” Poole and percussionist Jeremy “BEAN” Clemons, New York based band Soul Understated bring their soul/jazz/gospel/funk-hybrid sound to the Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival. Their debut single “Same Ole Groove” is set to be released later this year.
Another young Brooklynite, 20-year-old DyMe-A-DuZin has already been actively rapping for nine years and signed to Warner Bros. in 2012. A veteran of the Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival, DyMe returns this year after the success of his collaboration with Joey Bada$$ and spins from Hot97’s Peter Rosenberg. His performance is expected to include his new Harry Fraud produced single “Memories.”
Originally from the Southside of Chicago, F.Stokes has called New York his home for the past decade. While he’s been galvanized by living in the home of hip-hop, his frequent traveling has lead him to collaborate with vastly different artists from all over the hip-hop map, including a 2009 album with Doomtree producer Lazerbeak. F.Stokes takes the stage propelled by the momentum of his brand new album Fearless Beauty, one of a handful of hip-hop projects successfully funded by Kickstarter. F.Stokes is one of the most in-demand names on the festival circuit right now, so catching his performance on Saturday will be a necessity to be part of the nationwide conversation.
Dizzy Wright 4:05
Signed to alternative-to-alternative-rappers-rapper Hopsin’s Funk Volume label, Las Vegas MC Dizzy Wright made headlines this year as he was voted into the People’s Choice seat of the 2013 XXL Freshmen Class list. Wright’s detached-but-smooth delivery has garnered him a cult following anticipating his set this Saturday as much as his upcoming mixtape The Golden Age, which is set to feature Wyclef Jean, Kid Ink and Honey Cocaine.
DJ Enuff’s Tribute to Beastie Boys’ MCA, 4:35
Ensuring that there’s “No Sleep Til Brooklyn,” a tribute to the late great MCA will come from the hands of DJ Enuff. Most known for being one of Biggie’s DJs and the leader of the Heavy Hitters DJ Crew, DJ Enuff is one of the most respected turntablist tastemakers on the planet. A Brooklyn native, Enuff was one of the first DJs to add 50 Cent and Kanye West to regular rotation, and is responsible for one of the all-time great remixes in Junior M.A.F.I.A.’s “Get Money.”
For two decades, Redman has been bringing his trademark brand of Jersey insanity to rap listeners. Since his 1992 debut Whut? Thee Album set off one of the strongest four-album sequences in the genre’s history, he’s made each full-length release an event. Redman takes the stage hot of the heels of his announcement that he’s officially prepping for the release of Muddy Waters 2, the sequel to his widely considered 1996 masterpiece Muddy Waters, later this year.
See also: Six Rare Early Jay-Z AppearancesEPMD, 6:00
In 1999, BET named EPMD the most sampled group in hip-hop history. It’s a hard fact to dispute, especially considering how influential and innovative the Brentwood, Long Island duo have impacted the generations of hip-hop in their wake. From their fashion to the dancers in their videos to unintentionally crossing over with a song that critiqued “crossover” artists, their storied legacy has only fueled further anticipation for when the duo takes the stage for a history lesson in making hip-hop classics.
Pusha T, 6:55
Famously one-half of critical darling Clipse, Pusha T has spent the past few years solidifying his reputation as a solo artist on Kanye West’s G.O.O.D. Music imprint. You may recall him being responsible for the best moments of last year’s Kanye West-curated compilation Cruel Summer. Of late, he’s been putting the finishing touches on his upcoming solo debut My Name Is My Name, much of which he’s likely to preview at this Saturday’s festival day.