BK Hip Hop Fest: Old school, new school and everything else

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“Where Brooklyn at?”

Be prepared to hear that famous line bellowed from the Empire Fulton-Ferry State Park when the Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival comes to town.

Now in its fourth year, the festival’s main show on July 12 will feature veteran rappers, Brooklyn-based MCs and up-and-coming rhymers.

“I’m very happy with the lineup,” said Wes Jackson, the festival’s executive director. “It has a nice balance of old school acts, new school acts and emerging guys. I think we’ve done a good job.”

This year’s headliners are the legendary KRS-One and DJ Premier. KRS-One was actually booked for another gig on July 12 but dropped out when offered a chance to hit the Brooklyn stage.

“We had a guy who used to work for KRS-One and he went and took our case to him,” Jackson said. “He chose to do our festival instead.”

The chance to share a stage with beloved performers like KRS-One and DJ Premier is appreciated by local artists.

“For me to be performing alongside of them is amazing,” said Buckshot, a Crown Heights-based rapper and founder of the independent record label Duck Down Enteprizes. “If it wasn’t for people like Big Daddy Kane, KRS-One and Premier, I might have been a janitor. I might be working as a construction worker somewhere.”

Buckshot is no stranger to success himself. He’s been in the game since 1992 when he was a member of the hip hop group Black Moon. Over the years, he’s released several albums, formed the Crooklyn Dodgers to release a single on the soundtrack for the Spike Lee film “Crooklyn,” and worked with superstars like the late Tupac Shakur and Q-Tip. He’s now working on a series of books about his rise as an independent rapper. (Check out for release dates.)

Buckshot’s been a guest at the Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival since its inception but this year marks the first time he’ll get his own full set.

“Buckshot has been a supporter since year one and has been on the stage as our special guest. This year we wanted to make it official and give him his own spot,” Jackson said.

For the 6,000 people expected to attend the festival, get ready for an “electrifying” show.

“I don’t stand in one spot and rap all day,” the Coney Island-raised rapper said. “You’re going to get a show like the Ringling Bros.”

Local hip hop fans love the flashy shows. The festival attracts celebrities like Rosie Perez, urban cats, hipsters from Wiliamsburg and even the bridge and tunnel crowd.

“We have people coming from Australia, Japan and London,” Jackson said. “I want to establish Brooklyn as a cultural destination. Not just midtown Manhattan and Times Square but come down here.”

The Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival will kick off on July 10th with a “Revive Da Live!” show at Brooklyn Masonic Temple, 317 Claremont Avenue, at 9 p.m. Performers include Chris Dave with Bilal, Smif & Wessun, Chip Fu, Ladybug Mecca, and other surprise guests. Buy tickets at

On July 11th, there’s “Brooklyn Keeps On Taking It” with performances by Fresh Daily, Sputnik Brown, P.Casso and DJ Sucio Smash. The show’s free and will be held at the Powerhouse Arena at 37 Main Street from 6-9 p.m. The Brooklyn Brewery will provide free drinks.

It’s “Brooklyn Family Day” on July 12th from 12-3 p.m. at Empire Fulton-Ferry State Park. The park’s entrance is on the corner of Plymouth and Main streets. There will be games, food, music, giveaways, and health screenings.

Then stick around for the main festival show from 4-8 p.m. to see live performances by KRS-One, DJ Premier, Buckshot, Blu & Exile, Mickey Factz, 88-Keys, J.Period, Fresh Daily, Zaki Ibrahim Homeboy Sandman and other special guests. The show is hosted by Uncle Ralph McDaniels.

The July 12th shows are generally free but this year, because of limited corporate sponsorship, there’s a suggested donation of $10. It can be made online at or at the door on the day of the show.

When the main shows are over, they’ll be an official after-party at Southpaw, 125 5th Avenue, at 9 p.m. Performers include Platinum Pied Pipers. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased at

For more about any of the festival events, log onto

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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