Last night marked the tenth anniversary of the Black August Hip Hop Project. Organized by the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, the annual celebration commemorates positive hip hop and political activism in black and immigrant communities. The concept behind the event is really interesting and centers around key moments in resistance history, you can check it out here.
First act on the bill was an energetic trio of MCs from Chicago called Rebel Diaz. Their sharp lyrics are very thoughtful and provocative, plus they roll with a lady DJ, which I always think is really cool.
It was Dead Prez who really got things started, and M1 was a capable emcee for the night.
Of course they had to play this jam
Dead Prez – It’s Bigger Than Hip Hop Remix
Common made a surprise appearance as the “Very Special Guest,” it’s always a delight to see this dude do his thing. Mos Def completely took over the show afterwards. Even though Talib Kweli’s performance followed Mos’ set, you couldn’t pry Mos from the stage, he was killing it and the crowd loved it.
This is one of my favorite Mos tracks. Last night was the second time I’ve seen him in concert, and the second time I’ve heard him end a show with this beautiful song. I guess it just works best that way.
Mos Def - Umi Says
This year’s project is dedicated to Assata Shakur, a freedom fighter who is living in exile in Cuba. You can read more about her and the “Hands Off Assata!” campaign here.