Rakim, DMX & The LOX Keep the Old School Flavor Alive at Brooklyn's Hip-Hop Festival

Rakim performs during the 13th annual Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival on July 15, 2017.
Robert Adam Mayer

Rakim performs during the 13th annual Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival on July 15, 2017.

The 13th annual Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival returned Saturday (July 15) with a bang. With temperatures teetering along the 90 degree mark, the sweltering heat failed to derail the plans of the avid hip-hop fans in attendance. 

With rap purists aching to see Rakim, DMX, and The LOX grace the stage, many arrived early in hopes of securing a place to stand. Though the line-up was designed to cater to old school hip-hop lovers, young children of all races flooded the Brooklyn venue. Age wasn't a factor. The commonality shared between everyone who purchased a ticket was their sheer love for the boom-bap. 

Take a look at some of the highlights captured by Billboard below. 

Mister Cee Thrashes New School Hip-Hop

At 3:50 p.m., renowned DJ, Mister Cee, set the stage ablaze with his fiery mixes. Before he torched his turntables, Mister Cee duped fans with his first song Migos' “Bad and Boujee.” Instead of letting the track marinate, Cee yanked the record and instantly denounced the song. “We ain’t come here for that. Call 1-800-223-9797,” he quipped. After that, Cee feverishly spun record after record in hopes of satisfying the appetite of the old school aficionados in attendance. His eclectic sets included Eazy E’s “Boyz In Da Hood,” Tupac’s “Hail Mary,” Naughty by Nature’s “Hip-Hop Hooray” and more throwback classics.  For Cee, his set was immaculate and the perfect way to introduce the first prominent act of the night.

The LOX's Endless Catalog Keeps the Crowd Moving

Following Mr. Cee’s set was Yonkers’ most glorified rap trio The LOX. As they walked on stage to their 2016 record “Don’t You Cry,” mayhem quickly ensued. The demonstrative group allowed their swaggers do the talking. They deftly touted their mic skills through songs like “Wild Out,” “Dope Money,” “Money, Power, Respect” and “All About the Benjamins.” “We got hit records. We ain’t scared of y’all,” yelled Sheek Louch. The New York triad even broke out and performed their individual cuts. Jadakiss reached in his bag and gifted fans “Why” and “Knock Yourself Out.” Styles P followed his cohort’s blueprint and dished out his classic smoker’s anthem “Good Times,” while Sheek Louch flowed over his 2005 record “Kiss Your Ass Goodbye.”

Of course, The LOX had a couple of tricks under their sleeves, as they brought out a slew of guests. Within a millisecond, they went from performers to hype-men for Smif-N-Wessun -- who performed “Buck Town” -- and Junior Mafia. Biggie’s prized group kept the crowd entertained and skated through “Get Money” and “Biggie.”

DMX Redeems Himself After a Disappointing Week

After being arrested on Thursday (July 14) for tax evasion, fans were leery as to whether The Darkman would perform or not. Surprisingly, at 6:35 p.m., he entered the fray in peak form. With “They Don’t Know” blaring through the speakers, X exuded the hunger and focus he lacked at the  The Ruff Ryders 20th anniversary concert in May. “I almost didn’t make it to this motherf---er, but when God is for you, no one can be against you,” he told the crowd. High off the crowd's enthusiasm, he climbed up the speakers a la Peter Parker and jumped into “Ruff Ryders Anthem.” With several people holding onto the speakers, X audaciously rapped every lyric to his devotees.

Following his vibrant performances of “Get At Me Dog” and “Party Up,” DMX issued out a tearful sermon. “I’m walking, living, breathing testament of what God can do.” Drained from his emotional speech, the Ruff Ryder MC dedicated his final song, "Slippin'" to his "warriors." To punctuate his comeback efforts, he delivered a stirring closing prayer. 

Rakim Successfully Defends His Title as "God MC" 

With Rakim serving as the closing act for the hearty hip-hop festival, fans prepared themselves for the arrival of the God MC. Draped in all Chicago Bulls gear from head to toe, the Paid in Full lyricist blessed the stage at 7:15 p.m. To get things started, Rakim swept the crowd off their feet with "Don't Sweat the Techinique." With the crowd entranced by his godly presence, Rakim took advantage and churned out a lively performance of "My Melody."

Instead of hogging the spotlight, the "Move the Crowd" star invited Mobb Deep's Havoc to take center-stage. Having just place his partner-in-crime, Prodigy, to rest less than a month ago, Havoc paid homage to his fallen brother with the duo's 2001 "The Learning," "Survival of the Fittest," "Quiet Storm," and "Shook Ones II." "Thank You, Brooklyn. Rest in peace to my brother Prodigy," said Havoc following his heartfelt medley. 

Rakim kept the art of giving intact when he brought out Black Moon next. The hip-hop tandem instilled nostalgia to the older crowd when they rapped "I Got Cha Opin" and "Who Got the Props." "I wanna thank the God for having me on stage," said Buckshot following the group's performance. Just when you thought the God MC was through with his surprises, he brought out Lil Fame from M.O.P. to lead a rousing rendition of "Ante Up." The ravenous crowed stomped their feet and jammed along with him as they stomped through the record.

After "Ante Up," Rakim regained control and breezed through his opuses "Paid in Full" and "What's on Your Mind." He even tapped into the 2000s and treated his loyalists to verses from "Classic" and Truth Hurts' song "Addictive." Once he concluded his monstrous set, Rakim humbly thank everyone. "Thanks for the love and support throughout the years," he said at 8:15 p.m.

Fans lauded the 49-year-old for his humility and began exciting venue. As they walked out in awe, fans reveled at the level of excellence displayed some of hip-hop's most storied acts. 


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