The Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival is always one of the hottest tickets of the summer. But this year’s event is set to be even more momentous, as it marks the festival’s 10th anniversary. From its humble beginnings in a Williamsburg parking lot in 2005, the annual celebration has grown into a Brooklyn institution, with big names such as Big Daddy Kane, Busta Rhymes, and Ghostface Killah sharing the stage with some of the best young talent around. We caught up with executive director Wes Jackson to get some of his favorite moments from the festival’s first decade.
“We had this brainstorm just months before about doing something like this. We had Brand Nubian and Little Brother as headliners. I have been reviewing old footage and photos of the first year for a book we’re publishing and I forgot how many people came out. I remember standing on the stage and thinking, ‘Wow, we really pulled this off, didn’t we?’ ”
“I was born in the Bronx, so to me, he was the best rapper around. So to book him and have him pull me aside and tell me I did a good job and that he was proud of what we created here, that provided great personal satisfaction for me. I was, like, ‘I’m done! I’ve impressed KRS-One!’ ”
“We had big moments that year with Q-Tip from A Tribe Called Quest headlining and him bringing out Kanye West and Busta Rhymes. What gets lost in that moment is that we had Kendrick Lamar before he really blew up, and early in the day we had all these young guys like Schoolboy [Q] and Ab-Soul. That’s something we talk about a lot. That was a real feather in our cap.”