• 17Jun

    #BHF13 – “I like that about us” – On old school, new school, relevance & the BK Hip-Hop Festival


    Wes Jackson is the President of Brooklyn Bodega.

    Some would have you believe that Hip-Hop started with Eminem and has climaxed with A$AP Rocky. “KRS ONE and Kool Herc are relics of an old time and are no longer relevant” is the argument I hear pretty much every year about a month after the Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival. “Wes, you need more young acts on stage.” “You’re too old school.” My response is somewhat canned at this point. I remind these constructive critics that we hosted Kendrick Lamar and the whole TDE crew before “Swimming Pools”. I mention that we had Curren$y open up for De La Soul and that Lupe Fiasco first big New York show was with us back in 2006. If that doesn’t work I pull out the iPhone and show them the poster of Little Brother headlining with Brand Nubian in 2005.

    The point is, we at Brooklyn Bodega and The Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival are very proud of our history of breaking new artists. But let’s be clear I get why we get the old school label. I am proud to be the old man in the office. The fact that I have had the opportunity to do business with Premo, Posdnous, Q-Tip and Grand Puba is actually what’s put a smile on my face at night. I am proud to be old school. Old school to me is not being the old curmudgeon sitting in the corner telling everyone how much better Hip-Hop was in my day. Being old school is being the academic, the historian and with The Festival I, and we, are the link that keeps Hip-Hop strong and moving forward.

    And I like that about us.

    What I also like about us is that we are like the Al Sharptons of Hip-Hop. Not in the perm in your hair, Tawana Brawley kind of way. In the ‘who do you call when the cops beat up your cousin’ kind of way. When things get out of whack and interlopers are running the globe you can always count on Brooklyn Bodega and The Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival to bring the conversation back down to earth. The people on our stage are not flash in the pans but the past, present and future of the culture.

    I like that about us.

    We are also the ones who honor those who have passed on. I was pleasantly surprised when I saw the reaction to the MCA Tribute. It was something that myself and the ladies in the office had been wanting to do since Yauch passed last year. The timing wasn’t right and I honestly felt it was too soon. This year we decided we could not let another year past. We were going to do it even if it was going to be me YouTube DJ’ing my favorite joints from “Paul’s Boutique”. Celebrating the life of fallen Hip-Hop solders and making sure they are not forgotten is what we do.

    And I like that about us.

    When I look back I realize we have been doing this since 2006 when Dilla passed away. We honored Mr. Magic at the second Salute The DJ and Grandmaster Roc Raida at the first. We reunited Pete Rock & CL Smooth because after Guru passed we wanted those brothers to remember how important they are to each other and us. So this MCA Tribute has snuck up and become a proud tradition for me and the team.

    And I like that about us.

    So I look forward to seeing you all on July 13th as we celebrate the legacy of Adam Yauch and The Beastie Boys. I hope Ad Rock and Mike D come out so I, no, we can all give thanks and praise for Yauch and every other brother and sister who have moved on. I think remembering the past makes the present that much sweeter. I guess that is what makes us old school and yeah…I like that about us.

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