A decade after the establishment of the annual cultural phenomenon celebrating Brooklyn’s rich hip-hop culture and tradition, the Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival is returning back to its home in Williamsburg this year.
Over a dozen artists will headline this year’s hip-hop extravaganza taking place over a four day period beginning Wednesday, July 9, at 50 Kent Avenue.
“10 years ago we cooked up this idea of having a world class Hip-Hop Festival in Brooklyn,” said Wes Jackson, the founder and executive director of the festival. “Our partners at The Brewery generously offered us the parking lot of their warehouse. We weren’t event producers or party promoters. Just a crew of creative folks looking to do something different. A decade later and we are still here with an impressive resume of accomplishments.”
Some of the prominent headliners at this year’s event include Raekwon, a rapper and a member of the Wu-Tang Clan. He is often considered one of the pioneers of the Mafioso rap sub-genre. Another headliner is Jay Electronica, a recording artist and producer from New Orleans. He is best known for his composition Act I: Eternal Sunshine (The Pledge), a fifteen-minute piece that has music playing continuously without the use of drums and is built from the soundtrack of the cult classic film, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.
But the Hip-Hop festival isn’t just about musical performances. Apart from the shows, the festival also includes panel discussions, exhibitions, an award show, and a family-friendly block-party on the concluding day of the event.
It’s a means to highlight Hip-Hop’s role as a community building activity, and an expression of social change.
This year, Grammy-award winning producer, DJ and MC, Pete Jackson, will be part of an opening day panel discussion highlighting the issues facing the Hip-Hop community in the face of rapid gentrification in Brooklyn and the use of cultural appropriation, increasingly witnessed in the music videos of a slew of American pop stars today.
Over 20,000 people attended the festival in 2011 when the festival was held at Brooklyn Bridge Park, the festival’s home since 2006. And similar levels of excitement are expected at the festival’s return to Williamsburg this year.
“Bringing the Festival back to Williamsburg is a blessing,” said Jackson. “The Williamsburg community, the good folks at The Northside Media Group, Open Space Alliance for North Brooklyn (OSA) as well as the Brooklyn Brewery are committed to the arts and supporting programming like ours that represents all of Brooklyn. We are all excited about this new opportunity.”
Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival, July 9-12, 50 Kent Avenue, for detailed info on the event and tickets visit http://www.bkhiphopfestival.com/