Thursday night was Brooklyn’s turn to host the NYC Homecoming hip-hop tour with a big free outdoor concert at the Brooklyn Army Terminal over by the water in Sunset Park. The fully vaccinated crowd numbered in the high hundreds—the grounds were clearly set up for a much larger turnout, and one frustrated food vendor called the night “a fiasco”—but what it may have lacked in size it made up for in exuberance.
The night’s co-headliners were especially good at getting the crowd hyped. Desiigner, one of the rare Gen Z rappers we've seen so far this week, exploded with energy the moment he hit the stage, and at one point jumped into the audience and hoisted a random kid onto his shoulders. And Big Daddy Kane got everyone singing along to his late 1980s hits, then gave a moving tribute to his longtime friend Biz Markie, recalling how the two first met in 1984 at the Albee Square Mall for a rap battle.
Other performers on the humid night included Pop Smoke's big brother Obasi Jackson, an updated version of the '90's dance party staples C+C Music Factory, the club hitmaker Judy Torres, Brooklyn hip hop pioneers Stetsasonic, one-time teen sensation Special Ed, and longtime Whodini DJ Grandmaster Dee.
As I guess has become expected at these shows, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer joined Mayor Bill de Blasio and Public Advocate Jumaane Williams on stage for his "Killer Chuck" routine. This time, however, he began by saying, "Jumaane says he’s the highest-ranking Black official in attendance, but what about me?"
He promised us all he would be in Queens on Friday night, too. And these local politicians aren't the only ones hitting all the boroughs. 29-year-old Angie told me, "I've been to the Bronx show, I've been to the Staten Island show, now I'm here, I'm going to Queens tomorrow, and it's fantastic. This is hip-hop, this is what I grew up on, with my parents jamming out to these old guys."
Or as Rodney D, who introduced himself as "Hip-Hop Pioneer, the Original Radio Raheem" put it: "I don't call it old school, I call it classics. We're the classics. And the classics never die."