The party in the park is, quite possibly, hip-hop's most singularly enduring tradition. Saturday's Estria Invitational Graffiti Battle honored that tradition - and then some. Held in conjunction with the Living Word Festival, the National Poetry Slam, Hood Games and Life Is Living.org's Life is Living Festival, the event took over deFremery Park, which was buzzing with vibrant energy. In addition to live graffiti painting (this year's theme word was "grow"), there were b-boy battles, live performances by poets and musicians, eco-sustainable booths, and much more. Visceral activity was just about everywhere, and not a single one of hip-hop's foundational elements was overlooked--if anything they were added to.
|Oh, No: Pharaohe Monch|
Oakland's own Vogue TDK took home the top prize for his piece, a 3-D calligraphic masterpiece which used bamboo symbolism to convey the idea of verdant, active plantlife. Life performers included Marc Bamuthi Jacobs, Linda Tillery & the Cultural Heritage Ensemble--who performed folk songs from the Underground Railroad era--the Kev Choice Ensemble, and Pharaohe Monch
, who rapped with such intensity, he bloodied his lip. All in all, it was an extremely good look for hip-hop, reminding people that there is no substitute for organic community-building.
|2,3 Break: B-boys in a cipher|