Jay Z, Jay Electronica And Raekwon Shine At Star-Studded Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival

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“My name is Jay Electronica. And I am hip-hop.”

Jay Elect’s first words upon taking the stage at yesterday’s Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival in Williamsburg were bold yet prophetic, much like his entire career. When Brooklyn Bodega first announced the set times for the festival, with co-headliners Jay Elect and Raekwon each given an hour, the first thought that popped up was, “An hour for Jay Electronica? That must mean guests.” And wow, did he deliver.

Opening the show with “Exhibit A” and “Abracadabra,” the Roc Nation magician was there to make a statement, and he wasted little time doing so. ”We didn’t come here today with a new dance, we came here today to spit fuckin’ lyrics,” he told the crowd, getting chants of “real hip-hop” and “true hip-hop” going as he rolled through “The Announcement.” And then came the flood of high-powered guests—Mac Miller came out for “Suplexes Inside Of Complexes And Duplexes” and Talib Kweli and J. Cole arrived for “Just Begun.” Then came Hov.

The crowd turnout wasn’t as big as could have been expected, but those that did show up got a rare treat with Elect brought out Jay Z, in town performing at Met Life Stadium later that night with Beyonce, to run through “Shiny Suit Theory” and their remix to “We Made It” (in which Hova throws shots at Drake), before Jigga tore the place down with “Public Service Announcement.” ”Brooklyn, New York City! It feels good to be home!” he said as he left the stage.

Pro Era’s CJ Fly had the unenviable task of following up Jay Electronica, but the young gun brought a refreshing, jazzy feel to the show. Earlier, CyHi The Prynce had delivered a solid set as well. Not that it was their fault at all, but the two were overshadowed by the raw star power that Jay Electronica and, later, Raekwon brought to the stage.

When the Wu-Tang Chef hit the stage, he opened with Ghostface’s “Daytona 500,” and it was clear from the jump that he was in the mood to rap; each track that he did, he ran through every verse, no matter whose it was; Inspectah Deck’s verse on “C.R.E.A.M.,” O.D.B.’s verse on “Shimmy Shimmy Ya,” U-God’s opener on “Da Mystery Of Chessboxin,” all seven verses on “Protect Ya Neck.” The level of MC’ing was almost unbelievable.

And not to be outdone, Rae came through with his own stable of guests. Masta Killa came out to run through his verse on “Glaciers Of Ice,” AZ came to rap his verse on Nas’ “Life’s A Bitch,” Lil Fame rocked through “Ante Up,” and Troy Ave, Bobby Shmurda and Papoose all hit the stage as well. By the time Raekwon dropped “Incarcerated Scarfaces,” it was met with almost a detached surrealism, like when you walk through the Vatican Museum and then walk out into St. Peter’s Basilica, and you can’t even believe that anything could get better, and it does.

The 10th anniversary of the Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival promised something special. What it delivered was the best possible edition in the festival’s history. —Dan Rys

Previously: Jay Electronica Brings Out Jay Z, Talib Kweli, J. Cole & Mac Miller At Brooklyn Hip-Hop Fest 2014
Ranking Jay Electronica’s Best Verses Since Signing To Roc Nation
Jay Electronica Goes On Another Twitter Rant
Raekwon And Jay Electronica Will Headline 2014′s Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival
Jay Electronica Promises ‘Act II: Patents Of Nobility’ Will Drop In 2014