A week ago we gave you five reasons to attend the Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival, but if we could’ve predicted the deep pool of surprise talent we would have added three more: The Roots’ Black Thought, Busta Rhymes and Kanye West. All three co-starred with A Tribe Called Quest frontman Q-Tip during his headlining set, capping off an afternoon of green clouds, beer stains and lemon-flavored chicken wings that made the festival a profoundly fun celebration of hip-hop music and culture.
After Black and Busta left the stage, DJ J. Period dropped the opening piano chords to “Dark Fantasy.” Q-Tip asked the crowd, “I wonder?” while the audience collectively thought “Could it be?” It was, and West jumped across the stage wearing a tank top and snapback fitted cap. He was welcomed by a unified roar. West was only a teenager when A Tribe Called Quest’s classic album Midnight Marauders first dropped, and everything from his casual clothing to his huge grin while serving as Tip’s hype man for “Award Tour” reminded us that only seven years ago he, too, was an unknown producer with mainstream dreams and a fanatical respect for his hip-hop idols.