Saturday, January 3, 2008
James L. Knight Center
Better Than: Watching Senator Clinton trying desperately to be funny during ABC’s Democratic Debate.
While the Nation transfixed their eyes on their television screens, enraptured by both the Republican and Democrat Debates in New Hampshire over the weekend, it was apparent that the folks that came out to Hoodstock this past Saturday night might easily mistake Huckabee for a type of fruit. Whatever the case may be, Hoodstock 2008 was a sight to behold. This festival was a long time coming. It's been 10 years since Wynwood hip-hop legend DJ Raw first started Hoodstock. After serving a decade behind bars for drug trafficking and delving into various street hustles, many of which can be read in a recent New Times cover story on him, the Hoodstock founder swore that he would bring his festival back, no matter what it takes.
So do you want the good news first or the bad news?
The Good News is – indeed, Raw did it! After much speculations and “mad haters” that in Raw’s word “tried their best to not make Hoodstock happen” – this man needs a round of applause for truly making Hoodstock 2008 a reality. 10 years to be gone from a scene, especially in hip-hop, is a disheartening and at times, frightening realization. “The scene has definitely changed,” notes Peter Price, Hoodstock’s Programs and Marketing Director, “We’re dealing with a whole different generation now but we embrace it and offer these young dudes a platform to showcase their talents.”
And showcase they did. On the line-up was, well, let’s just say, a LOT of folks that I have never heard of. About 20+ artists allocated approximately six minutes to perform to the sparsely attended banquet hall located in the lobby of the James L. Knight Center. Unlike the great outdoor, open-air concert of Hoodstock’s yesteryears, this Hoodstock was a direct polar opposite. Why they didn’t return to Roberto Clemente Park was due to time, money and politics but nonetheless, the poorly lit stage (we’re talking no spotlights but just the fluorescent ceiling lights already in place) along with the malfunctioning soundsystem was definitely a sore eye/ear experience. Oh and it wasn’t free – which sucks, seeing that the earlier Hoodstocks had complimentary entry.
I guess this now brings me to the Bad News … boy, where does one begin?
First things first – whoever was their soundman, he needs to get his ass kicked. It was, at times, painful to watch these rookie artists get up on stage, rapping their heart out without knowing that their microphones weren’t even on. The feedback was horrendous and the amount of times the stage DJ messed up by accidentally pausing the track mid-way through performances were too many to count.
Second – the performances were scary. Some of the music and rhymes performed that night made Lil’ Jon seem like Beethoven. Common song titles throughout the night were “3-0-5 Niggaz!” and “Niggaz Get Shot!” and my personal favorite, “Shawtie Wanna Thug Nigga!” Deep, moving and inspirational – three words that did NOT pop into my head when witnessing these performances.
Third – where the hell was everyone? For the amount of amateur talents, you would think they would’ve brought their whole family (mom, dad, aunt, uncle, out-of-town cousins, etc.) and their respectable neighborhood crews. Goes to show you that in Miami, even your friends hate on you!
Fourth and I’ll stop - where the hell were the artists? I was greatly looking forward to seeing old-skool Miami MC, Mother Superior, who was prominently featured as the first artist on the Hoodstock flier, to take reign of the microphone and spit some of her classic flow but alas, a no show. Granted, I did not have the enough stamina to stick around to the bitter end but a source who did reported back to me that there were some artists who were slated to appear were no-shows. So it goes – as the industry calls them “Scheduling Conflicts”
Final words of the night, I give all congratulatory salutes to DJ Raw as he had this to say: “This is just a showcase that Hoodstock is back. I promise you Hoodstock 2009 is already in motion and it’s gonna be bigger and better than ever before!” – Esther Park
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Personal Bias: There were two memorable performances that stuck out during Saturday night. I have to give it up to Gotcha Records for taking the award for the most entertaining and energetic stage show that I have witnessed in a while. These guys scared the shit out of me and I liked it. The 2nd award for most chongalicious goes to Juelz & Daze – two sexy mamis that killed it on stage. I honestly have no idea what they did up there but whatever it was, it was on point. They did their own remake of Souljah Boy’s “Crank Dat” and wore these skimpy Wonder Woman outfits and then did this crazy rendition of the Latin-freestyle jam “Morena” and oh my god – shivers! These girls are onto something – mark my word, all they need is will.i.am behind these badass bitches and they are set to pop!
Random Detail: Aside from getting popcorn and hotdogs at the nearby concession stands, you could get a complimentary tattoo as well. Yes – there was actually a tattoo set-up next to the stage so folks with a lot of tattoos could get even more tattoos. Now that’s what I call “hood”!
By the way: The ghettoblasters that were stacked to the ceiling and were the night’s official “soundsystem” is from the Sugarhill DJs, Miami Bass Legend Uncle Al’s crew. Is that historical or what?