The idea that I would be traveling to Governor’s Island, located off the tip of lower Manhattan, kind of had me feeling like I was traveling onto the island in Bruce Lee’s, Enter of the Dragon. What awaited me after this boat ride? MC battles? Wordsmiths ready to rock the microphone the best way they could? What Ruben (our photographer of the day) and I docked in to were four stages with artists doing their best in attaining crowd control. The thing about RTB was that the line-up was filled with acts that I (and many others) as a hip-hop junkie were able to relate to. Most of the performers were part of what is considered the golden age of hip-hop. Black Moon, Cyrpess Hill, Mobb Deep, GZA, Raekwon, Ghostface, Souls of Mischief, Nas, Black Starr even Queen of the era Lauryn Hill was present to rekindle that old hip-hop essence. I’d be remiss to not mention the new generation trailblazers like Slaughterhouse, Roc Marciano, Evidence, Immortal Technique and Fashawn+Blue+Exile. Yeah it was nothing short of an all out hip-hop festival…(jump in for more)
I couldn’t help to think that the majority of the young crowd there, were most likely in elementary school when most of the albums being performed were released. Like this young bird I was talking to waiting for Mobb Deep to come on – she was telling me that she was mainly here to see Mobb do their Infamous album. Word? Shorty was only 19 years old! That pretty much has her at 3 years old when that album dropped! That just confirmed in me that the music of that era will maintain longevity for a long time. Why? Because it was real! I’m not talking about “real” as an adjective to add some sort of validity to a delusional act or lifestyle. I’m talking about the real energy and spirit that was the norm in that era. Just to be clear there are still purveyors but obviously not in the abundance that we were used to. But I digress let me not get into a rant here – back to RTB!
There were old and there were young fans of hip-hop that gathered to see their favorite artist that day. Black Moon’s live band set was probably one of the livest hip-hop instrumentation performances I’ve seen since The Roots in the mid 90’s. Cypress Hills rocked it! Lauryn was a little wild-eyed but she still managed to hold it down and give the crowd a long over due performance. RZA, the host of the 36 Chambers Stage brought out the Wu-Tang patriarch Papa Wu! Even Young Dirty (ODB’s son) was present. Rae & Ghost still managed to keep the heads open even with the terrible technical issues they were getting from the lights and the sound engineers. The only problem I really had, was that there were 4 stages. It makes it difficult to catch all the acts you want to catch because you end up trekking to stage after stage trying to cover the performances. All in all it was good weather and hip-hop was in the air amongst other things…