The Rock Steady Anniversary show is always bittersweet. It’s sweet because it’s the closest thing to a vintage 1970′s park jam, filled with real hip-hop music and break dancing. It’s bitter because each year, the crowd shifts from tri-state Hip-Hop heads to a Newark-only event, only encompassing the local community around the park. Also, the line-up of artists has gradually gone from old school and underground legends to no-names.
First off, I’m not knocking what Rock Steady does. It’s a free concert and they don’t have the budget to get the same acts as Rock The Bells so I get they are limited. But, I’ve been going to the Rock Steady show a few years now and I felt this was the worst one yet. Below is my honest review of what could have done better.
Artist Line-up – Other than the surpise headliner Redman and Mr. Cheeks the line-up was really weak. Craig G performs every year so that’s no suprise. X-Clan? I get they were part of the political hip-hop movement but who is really checkin’ for them? Consequence – dope. But then people like Jo Jo Pellegrino? Rasheed Chappel? Maffew Ragazino? There are other underground artists that are better performers that could have came through.
No DJ Sets – A few years back Tony Touch was DJ. This year, Evil Dee was the headliner DJ, but I barely saw him on the 1′s and 2′s. Other than a special appearance by AJ Scratch I was disapointed. The show used to have DJ’s performing sets, scratching, etc. This year – nothing.
Missing the other Elements – The old shows used to have graf artists throwing up peices on canvas. That was absent. Also, the break dance floor was over crowded with people just standing around. Even though it was the Rock Steady Crew show, b-boy’ing was lacking.
The Hosting – E.O.W. (End of the Weak) normally does a great job at hosting but they seemed kind of lazy/bored this year. The annual freestyle battle was missing as well.
Overall, Redman single-handedly saved the show (video here). It was worth being there all day to witness a free show by Reggie Noble. Ironically, even though the show is in Newark, this was the first time he performed. According to him, he was banned from performing in Newark for years because he threw an American flag at a show in the 90′s.
For pics from the event, check out facebook/illtalbeats.