Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival The Tobacco Warehouse, Brooklyn, NY - June 24, 2006

Under a concert tent due to the overcast and rainy day, a slew of hip-hop newcomers and veterans performed at the free outdoor Second Annual Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival. Appearing after a few acts had already hit the stage, Sleepy Brown, most famous for crooning on Outkast’s "The Way You Move,” appeared in the late afternoon previewing some of the material from his as yet unreleased and oft-delayed solo album. While some of the songs sounded good, it wasn’t until his honeyed croon slipped into the aforementioned Outkast hit that anyone took notice. Next up and virtually unannounced, Lupe Fiasco bounded on stage. He didn’t flaunt the fact that he’s the new artist everyone has been talking about, and for much of his set Lupe was decidedly low-key, something that wasn’t helped by a stage light being inexplicably extinguished, obscuring him from view for about half of his set. When it was restored, he finally came out of his shell, matching the wisecracking energy of his hype man when he launched into mix-tape staple "Tilted” and the sure-shot finale of "Kick Push.” Suitably buoyed, Lupe left the stage teasing the crowd about the ever-changing release date of his album and its Jay-Z duet. The crowd was then treated to a trio of unannounced sets from NYC veterans. First up was CL Smooth, who kept it short and sweet with both new and old music, and almost raised the roof with his rendition of hip-hop classic "T.R.O.Y.” Unfortunately, Craig G’s following set failed to capitalise on the crowd energy, inflicting an overlong set of new and unfamiliar material on those assembled, failing to take advantage of the Juice Crew alumni’s reputed free styling skill. Tellingly, the biggest cheer came when Talib Kweli bum rushed the stage for an impromptu rehash of Rick Ross’s "Hustlin’.” The ship was righted a little by a boisterous set from Just Ice, setting the stage for headliner Big Daddy Kane. By sticking to his classic-filled catalogue, he had the crowd rhyming to his every word. But he didn’t just rely on his music. Exuding boundless charisma and dedicating a refreshingly creative "moment of noise” tribute to everyone from Biggie to Big L, the veteran was the consummate performer, showing not only the crowd but veterans and newcomers alike how it should be done.