Thousands lined up early — either fully vaccinated or with negative COVID-19 tests — to honor the Notorious B.I.G. for the fourth week of BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival. The entire Lena Horne Bandshell was transformed into a celebration fit for a king, filled with photobooths and limited edition Budweiser merchandise.
DJ Stretch Armstrong, DJ Enuff and DJ Steph Cakes had the park jumping like The Tunnel nightclub back in the 1990’s. Senator Chuck Schumer stopped by the show to support the night of Hip-Hop and Radio legend Angie Martinez introduced The Lox, who was the first act to hit the stage.
The Lox opened up the show giving fans a high energy performance fresh off their Verzuz battle. They played “Locked Up” “We Gon Make It” “I Get High” and brought Lil Kim to the stage with “All about the Benjamins.”
The Queen Bee sent the crowd into a frenzy. Wearing a leopard ensemble, dripping in diamonds and with soft waves of hair brushing her ankles as she performed. The petite rapper made several tributes to Biggie during her set. She performed “Big Momma Thang” Her verse on the “Quiet Storm Remix” and “Lighters Up” an ode to Brooklyn, which had fans shouting out neighborhoods from all corners of the borough. Junior Mafia joined her on stage towards the end of her set.
Busta Rhymes and Spliff Star closed the show, The East Flatbush native set the crowd ablaze with hits like “Pass the Courvoisier,” “I Know What You Want,” and “Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Can See.” Busta Rhymes gave hip-hop fans the best performance of the night, spraying champagne into the crowd of screaming spectators and all.
Friday night of the festival continued with a free show headlined by the legendary Kool Keith and opening set by Mari World. Last minute cancellations created a very intimate show with plenty of room for dancing near the stage. Kool Keith made the most of it, with help from DJ Grant Shapiro and two hype men, performing his rewardingly bizarre records like “Girl Let Me Touch You There” and “Livin Astro.” Bluepoint Brewing provided beers and fun lawn games for everyone to play as many folks gathered on the grass.
The night also included funk-soul rapper Mari World who warmed up the early set with an amazing high-energy performance. The Atlanta-based rapper swung his bouncy ‘fro around with fancy footwork that rivaled James Brown as he got the small crowd off their blankets and on their feet. He performed his song “Dollalujah,” and a beautiful cover of D’Angelo’s “Untitled (How Does It Feel).”
Saturday night was a wet and wild one. The hurricane warnings did not stop people from lining up hours before doors opened to get the best seats for the night’s performances. Audry Funk warmed up the crowd with a blend of rap, philosophy, and body positive messages to set the tone of the show. She made a special shout out to Puebla, Mexico and advocated for a woman’s right to choose — her song “No Me Representas” is about just that.
Prospect Park then rocked out with author, musician, and performance artist Rita Indiana Hernández. Rita Indiana has become one of the most influential creators and voices in the Caribbean. Heavy rain from Hurricane Henri began to fall during her set but did little to deter her fans from stomping in puddles and screaming along the lyrics to “Mandinga Times.”
Lido Pimienta closed the show with electro-cumbia, porro, and bullerengue rhythms. By Lido Pimienta’s 9:05pm set, the heavy rain quickly became a torrential downpour. That seemed to invigorate the fans who waited all night for the Colombian Canadian musician even more. Flash flooding around the park caused concern and her set was shortened after just three songs. Fans got a taste of her sensational live vocals with “Nada” and “Eso Que Tu Haces.”