At a time when festival culture has been co-opted by some of the largest corporations in entertainment and major events feature the same handful of bands, it’s near-miraculous that the Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival has made it to its 13th edition.
Bringing together music, activism, film and all the elements of hip-hop culture, the gathering is now almost a full week long at various venues in the titular borough, with contributions from superstars and upstarts alike.
Some of our best bets from the packed lineup include:
Rakim — Days after reuniting with Eric B. for a celebration of their classic album, “Paid in Full,” Rakim will take the stage alongside DMX and The Lox for the festival’s finale concert. He’ll also kick off the weeklong event, discussing his 30-plus year career with festival founder Wes Jackson. (Conversation: July 10, Brooklyn Historical Society; Finale concert: July 15 at St. Ann’s Warehouse)
Linda Sarsour — So far in 2017, Sarsour has co-chaired the Women’s March, given a commencement speech at City University of New York, and become a target of right-wing ire. What have you done in the past six months? Next for the activist: Delivering the festival’s keynote address during the Hip-Hop Institute. (July 12, Medgar Evers College)
The Combat Jack Show Live — Consistently ranked as one of the top 10 music podcasts in the iTunes store, Combat Jack and company land some of the biggest interviews in hip-hop, while displaying the type of easy chemistry that usually takes radio crews years of experience to create. (July 13, Alamo Drafthouse)
The Dummy Clap Film Festival — The movies themselves would be reason enough to attend the festival-within-the-festival, but question-and-answer periods with directors, producers and even journalists will give fans access to the people behind the big screen. Of special mention: Hip-hop heads of a certain age will appreciate the documentary “De La Soul is Not Dead” and episodes of web series “Rhythm Roulette” featuring 9th Wonder and Salaam Remi. (July 13, Medgar Evers College)
Juice Hip-Hop Exhibition — DJs, emcees, breakdancing and street art, all under one roof. Contributors include DJ Midnight and Kerim the DJ, Crybaby Cozie and Lite Feet Nation, and a “Brooklyn’s Finest” art exhibit curated by The Bishop Gallery. (July 14, St. Ann’s Warehouse, Brooklyn)
IF YOU GO: The Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival takes place at various venues in Brooklyn from July 10-16.