J Dilla Day Weekend 2015's Birthday BBQ - Wynwood, Miami

Check out New Times' 48-photo J Dilla Birthday BBQ slideshow.
Photo by Alex Markow

The J Dilla Day Weekend 2015's Birthday BBQ at LMNT in Wynwood was a nostalgia trip through all things Dilla and the hip-hop days of yore.

Hipsters, hip-hop heads, stoners, and the occasional high schoolers united for the day the experience a festival that seemed designed to entertain the late, great producer himself.

From the multiple makeshift record collecting booths - all of which featured an excellent, selection of rare, mint soul staples - sneaker booths, assorted artwork and knick knack booths, to the range of old-to-new lyrically gifted artists, the festival aimed to please any hardcore hip hop head.

See also: Ma Dukes Talks J Dilla: "He and His Friends Rehearsed at My House Every Day"

J Dilla Day Weekend 2015's Birthday BBQ - Wynwood, Miami
Photo by Alex Markow

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For hours, folks lined up to get their fix of the BBQ that permeated the event with a heavy, smoky smell.

And they drank. They laughed. They chilled near the main stage as DJs dropped that real hip-hop.

Prodigy on the mic.
Prodigy on the mic.
Photo by Alex Markow

The crowd went absolutely HAM on their smartphone cameras when Prodigy of Mobb Deep (albeit sans Havoc) came out to say a few words in memoriam of the late James Dewitt "J Dilla" Yancey.

He also went in on some killer rhymes from his legendary albums, The Infamous and Hell on Earth. Near the end of the 40-minute set, the opening hook and iconic beat of "Shook Ones (Part II)" blurted out of the speakers and blunts were lit up.

Prodigy applauded the crowd's decision to smoke reefer. And hands were thrust into the air, in a fashion that indicated a lack of care.

See also: Slum Village on Deaths of J Dilla and Baatin: "It's Our Mission to Keep Their Names Alive"

 

Joey Bada$$: Budding ambassador of hip-hop.
Joey Bada$$: Budding ambassador of hip-hop.
Photo by Alex Markow

Joey Bada$$, while a more nascent artist relative to some of the other acts, fit in to the celebration with his old-school aesthetic and detail-oriented storytelling.

His bass-heavy, slow beats, kept the crowd in a steady groove while he gruffly exalted the crowd with his complex, word-heavy tracks.

Bada$$ was extremely excited. Live, his voice was gravelly and authoritarian. He bantered with the crowd, encouraging everyone to enjoy some '90s throwback vibes and light up.

J Dilla Day Weekend 2015's Birthday BBQ - Wynwood, Miami
Photo by Alex Markow

Later, Joey said a few somber words for his deceased friend and rapper Captain Steez, who committed suicide in 2012. He implored the crowd to pause for a moment of a silence, and everyone politely agreed.

Like Ma Dukes and the rest of the Dilla crowd, Bada$$ is focused on preserving the legacy of hip-hop, and jumped right back into his raps.

Heads were dutifully nodded for the rest of the hour-long set.

J Dilla Day Weekend 2015's Birthday BBQ - Wynwood, Miami
Photo by Alex Markow

J Dilla Day Weekend 2015 -- three days long and peaking with the Birthday BBQ -- was a joyous celebration of Dilla's life. But it was also proof that real hip-hop still lives.

As we left, Slum Village's "Fall in Love" played, and faded as we got further away.

It felt like leaving an old friend behind.

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