Brooklyn was home to nostalgia Friday night (Nov. 3) as the annual Masters of Ceremony celebration hit the Barclays Center. Some of hip-hop’s most respected and celebrated MCs took the stage in front of a capacity audience that was energized from beginning to end. Freeway, The LOX, Jeezy, 50 Cent and more each performed a collection of hits, and fans couldn’t get enough. For five hours, Brooklyn took a ride down memory lane.
The Masters of Ceremony event is a night celebrating the MCs who have left a lasting mark on hip-hop. Some of the heavy hitters who’ve graced the Masters of Ceremony stage years prior were Mobb Deep, Method Man, DMX and Rakim, just to name a few. This year’s version lived up to tradition as the lineup did not disappoint.
<a href="/music/dj-Enuff">DJ Enuff</a> and <a href="/music/Funkmaster-Flex">Funkmaster Flex</a> provided the sounds for the night as they ran through classic hip-hop records between the acts. The energy in the arena was a force to be reckoned with, and fans were dancing and rapping the night away. Acts like T-Pain, Jeezy, Freeway and <a href="/music/beanie-sigel">Beanie Sigel</a> ripped through their individual sets. For those who reveled in the late ‘90s and early to mid-2000s era of hip-hop, the Masters of Ceremony show was the place to be.
Let’s look at the top five highlights from the night:
Casanova Performs Not Once, But Twice
“We in Brooklyn, right? So, it’s only right that I got my Brooklyn n---a Cas with me here,” said Freeway midway through his opening set. The Brooklyn native stormed onto the stage like he was shot out of a cannon with a fiery performance of his hit record “Don’t Run.”
Anytime Casanova hits the Barclays stage, his performance is red hot, and his hometown never lets him down. As he hit his patented “Don’t Run” dance, the crowd responded back with an emphatic rendition of the catchy hook.
Just when the crowd thought Casanova was done for the night, he once again charged the stage, this time accompanying Fabolous’ set. Casanova performed an encore of “Don’t Run,” while the crowd sang the chorus even louder than before. Once finished, Casanova yelled to the crowd “Brooklyn!” with the crowd yelling back with cheers.
The LOX Has a Catalog of Hits
The LOX has provided hip-hop fans with some memorable records throughout their 23-year career. Friday night, Brooklyn got a taste of the legendary catalog that’s amassed The LOX such a loyal and dedicated fanbase. When the crowd knew what it was time for, the energy went through the roof.
The Yonkers trio performed several of their classic records. “Wild Out," “Recognize" and “Blood Pressure” rang through the Barclays Center with everyone in attendance on their feet. <a href="/music/Jadakiss">Jadakiss</a> told the crowd, “We got hits,” and this paved the way for their solo hits.
Jadakiss annihilated his verses on “Knock Yourself Out," “Banned from T.V.” and “Where I’m From (Freestyle).” <a href="/music/Sheek-Louch">Sheek Louch</a> and <a href="/music/Styles-P">Styles P</a> demolished their own verses on “Locked Up,” “Good Love” and “Good Times (I Get High)." The best part of the set was the deafening cheers that came from The LOX closing out their set with “We Gonna Make It” and “Mighty D-Block.”
Fabolous Reveals Release Date for Summertime Shootout 3
Fabolous is another artist with a long catalog full of hits. Despite his performance being short, it featured some of the classic records that set the Brooklyn MC apart from his peers. “Lituation,” “Ball Drop,” “Ima Do it,” “Breathe” and “Throw It in the Bag” had Fabolous hitting the Brooklyn crowd with his famous punchlines and clever metaphors. In the closing seconds of an already-blazing performance, Fab mentioned his joint project with Jadakiss, Freddy Vs. Jason, to be released on Black Friday. He then left the crowd with a bombshell of an announcement: “Summertime Shootout 3 coming this Christmas.”
Busta Rhymes and Spliff Star Prove They Haven’t Missed a Step
For 26 years, Busta Rhymes has always been known for his high-energy performances and rapid-fire delivery. Some might say he’s the king of high-octane performances, and Friday night was an indication of that. Dressed in a crown and robe fit for a king, Busta appeared to the Brooklyn crowd seated on a throne.
After two women assisted him in the removal of the crown and robe, Busta got right to business. With <a href="/music/Spliff-Star">Spliff Star</a> accompanying him onstage, Busta Rhymes got the party started with his verse from “Ante Up.” Not feeling the energy from the crowd, Busta demanded the DJ play the record again, this time with <a href="/music/mop">M.O.P.</a> joining him onstage.
“I don’t want to play anymore games. Play the next tune,” Busta said in front of a wild Brooklyn crowd. Without hesitation, Busta and Spliff Star put the show on overdrive and ran through their extensive list of hits. At one point during the set, Busta said, “They’re running behind schedule, so I intend to fit 26 years of hits in 10 minutes. Call the ambulance.”
And for 10 minutes, the Flipmode Squad never took their foot off the gas. To the end the set, Busta told the crowd, “I want make a toast: We going to celebrate this Brooklyn love, this hip-hop love. This is the Masters of Ceremony night.”
50 Cent Only Wanted to Hear the Hits
In true 50 Cent fashion, the Southside Jamaica, Queens, product hit the stage taking shots at a longtime foe. The sounds of the Murder, Inc. diss record “I Smell Pussy” echoed throughout the Barclays Center, and the crowd couldn’t get enough of the bold statement.
50 went through several records and proceeded to bring out <a href="/music/Uncle-Murda">Uncle Murda</a> who performed his own record “Cam’ron Voice.” There was a time where 50 would put out a record and it was guaranteed to be a hit. Brooklyn re-lived that memorable time. “We are playing nothing but No. 1 hits,” 50 announced as the crowd roared. “Magic Stick,” “In Da Club,” “Candy Shop” and more had the crowd rapping along to every word.
Poking fun at the audience rapping in unison, 50 said, “You’re not supposed to be singing that. You’re supposed to be singing ‘Rain Drop, Drop Top’. That’s the new shit.” In a very quick, but awkward moment, 50 once again told the audience that nothing but hits were going to be played.
People were expecting the next record to play, but 50 said, “That’s the show, thanks for coming,” and walked off the stage. The crowd stood in bewilderment wondering if 50 was joking, but the house lights came on, validating the end to 50’s set.