It’s Sunday morning, well afternoon actually – its 12:27pm to be exact.
I’m recovering from a big night in a little French café next door to my hostel in Bushwick, Brooklyn. Probably not the most desirable suburb according to locals, but it suits me just fine.
So if you have looked at my Facebook, Instagram or YouTube posts lately you will see that I have been busy over the past week. There is just so much going on in New York City and I really just wish I could do more.
This week’s flavour has been old school hip hop – 90’s era to be exact. I went to my much-anticipated Mobb Deep concert on Wednesday at Stage 48 in Manhattan with a German guy I met through a CouchSurfing event I created – his name is Maxamillion. We were both really surprised at the quality of the support acts as was the crowd with nearly all of them getting booed off stage. Even the main support – Joe Budden was ordinary, I guess we were all waiting for the real deal to arrive and that they did.
It was awesome to hear some of my all-time favourite tracks performed live such as ‘Survival of the Fittest’, ‘Getaway’ and of course ‘Shook Ones Pt II’. I have listened to these 2 guys for over 20 years and have never been able to see them live up until now and will probably never get another, so it was great to tick that off the bucket list.
The following night I heard about a free concert being organised by the legend Marley Marl in Queensbridge Park in Queens. Queensbridge is home to many hip hop artists such as Nas and Mobb Deep and is regularly mentioned in their lyrics. The actual bridge itself which connects Queens to Manhattan is stunning and I don’t understand why it doesn’t get as much attention as the Brooklyn Bridge.
The concert featured more old school hip hop acts such as Black Sheep, Special Ed, Large Professor, Jarobi from the Jungle Brothers and the legendary Das Efx who were the main act. The quality of the line-up was so impressive and best of all – it was free! There is no chance of a show like that in Australia but in New York this type of thing is a regular occurrence especially over summer.
To complete my hat trick, the following night I went to Yankee Stadium in the Bronx for the Legends of the Summer Tour featuring Jay Z and Justin Timberlake. The show was spectacular and ticked all the boxes including ambience, sound & lighting, crowd participation and most importantly the actual performances. As I mentioned in my Facebook posts, the highlight of the show was the last song ‘Empire State of Mind’ which was opened by JT doing a rendition of New York New York and featured a surprise performance from Alicia Keys. I have never heard a crowd so electrified in all my life.
New York has so much love for real hip hop – and by all demographics. Whether you are on the subway, listening to the radio, chilling out in a bar or out in a club you can hear and see people appreciating hip hop. The hip hop subculture was born in New York so it makes sense about why it is so popular here.
I’m glad I decided to hang around in New York for a little longer because to miss out on all of this would have been a tragedy. I’ll continue to post some more videos of the performances and you can view them on the tour videos page here.