There’s no question as to who tore down this year’s Brooklyn Hip-Hop Music Festival. Roc Nation rapper Jay Electronica brought his A-game, as well as a handful of all-star special guests, and gave the crowd at the Brooklyn Bodega in Williamsburg a show that they won’t soon forget. During his set, the N’awlins native ran through his own string of acclaimed tracks, but also shared the stage with fellow Roc Nation star J. Cole, as well as Mac Miller and, most notably, Jay Z himself.
After Miller and Cole exited, Electronica told the crowd to raise the infamous Roc Diamond hand-sign to the sky as the man himself emerged, sporting a Roc Nation chain and gold grill. Jay and Electronica then ripped through cuts like “Shiny Suit Theory” and “We Made It,” before Jay Z treated the crowd to an enthusiastic performance of his classic “Public Service Announcement.”
Electronica then re-claimed the stage for himself, performing “Exhibit C” while walking through the crowd and interacting with fans.
The night’s least-engaging show came from veteran Wu-Tang Clan rapper Raekwon, who closed the day. It was a decision that made sense on paper, but because of Electronica’s performance and guests, Rae’s set came off as a major buzzkill. The Wu rapper mostly covered old hits from his bandmates, awkwardly rapping their verses–but, inexplicably, failing to rap his own verse on the Wu classic “Triumph.” He also paused the show for a lengthy and awkward tribute to the late Ol’ Dirty Bastard which featured the DJ playing Stevie Wonder’s “You and I” as Rae sang along.
Rae’s guests included AZ and Fame of M.O.P., both of whom got more energy from the crowd than “The Chef,” and he often stopped to snap at his deejay.
But, despite ending on a somewhat lackluster note, the 2014 Brooklyn Hip-Hop Music Festival was one for the ages. A mainstay of Brooklyn art and culture that celebrated it’s 10th year, as host Ralph McDaniel explained, “THIS is what hip-hop looks like.”
Footage of Jay Z performing “P.S.A.”: