If you love real Hip-Hop, then Soldier Field in Chicago for The Breaks, Vol. 1, was the place to be Sunday for the unofficial end of Summer, where you were able to get a full days worth of classic true to the core Hip-Hop. Which is why it’s very appropriate with a lineup that featured such true to the core breaks acts as Tech N9ne, Method Man & Redman, Slaughterhouse, Cam’ron, Immortal Technique, Rittz, Jedi Mind Tricks, Mac Lethal, Crucial Conflict and Do or Die, that it was the perfect festival for a Sunday Funday, the day before Labor Day.
By far up among the best Hip-Hop festival’s I’ve ever been too, Chicago’s very own Do or Die and Crucial Conflict got things started off among the main acts. Do or Die going through several of their classics such as the Twista and Johnny P featured, Do U?, Mary Jane, Playa Like Me and You. Group member, Belo, giving a small speech about the crowd needing to show love to the soulful, Johnny P, who was also featured on the latter track and unfortunately passed last year. You know D.O.D. couldn’t do a set without their classic multi-platinum, Twista & JP featured, smooth playas Chicago anthem, Po Pimp. Which really got the mostly all Chicago crowd going and singing and rapping along. Crucial Conflict really bringing the energy for their performance with such classics, as Life Ain’t the Same, Smoke Somethin’, Desperado, Ride The Rodeo and their always classic Chicago smokers anthem, Hay. Before the sound unfortunately cut off in the middle of Hay and they had to finish it off acapella. Crucial’s set being cut short, being one of the few mishaps of the whole festival.
Jedi Mind Tricks, Mac Lethal and Rittz really putting down before, Immortal Technique, came out and rocked the stage. Immortal even bringing fellow legendary independent Hip-Hop emcee, Chino XL out during his performance. Then really starting to get to the nitty-gritty acts, most everyone was really waiting to see in Tech N9ne, Method Man & Redman, Slaughterhouse and Cam’ron.
With Cam blessing the stage with a very killer performance. Rocking everything from Killa Cam to Bout It Bout It… Part III, Get’em Girls and Get It in Ohio. You could never go without the classics in a Cam set either, such as Dipset Anthem, Down & Out, I Really Mean It, Oh Boy and Hey Ma. Besides the classics, Cam being in Chicago, obviously getting the most love when he did his classic, “I’m on the Westside of Chicago, lookin’ for a bust-down. To make me put my two arms up, touchdown!” line.
Slaughterhouse would then bless the stage by letting everyone know what type of emceeing they’re about with the horns playing, as Royce Da 5’9” first entered spitting his opening verse of Sound Off, before Joell Ortiz then entered spitting his killer double-time verse and KXNG CROOKED finally entered spitting his amazingly killer verse of his own, before switching to his own killer double-time flow midway through his verse. Then switching things up a little with the little bit more party type vibes, you rarely hear from the group on Frat House and Party. Before going back to the true emceeing they’re known for with R.N.S. getting the crowd to really go off. Each member going into their own solo material. Joell appropriately with Hip-Hop for all the true Hip-Hop lovers out there and then Crook going into his own killer track, No Sleep. Before of course Royce had everybody put their lighters or phones up, as he went into his verse from Eminem and his Bad Meets Evil classic killer track, Above the Law. Slaughterhouse of course couldn’t do a killer performance as theirs without doing their always classic killer, true to the lyrics and emceeing tracks of Microphone and Hammer Dance, to really get the crowd going, as they closed out their killer performance. Thus setting the stage for Method Man & Redman.
Method Man & Redman coming out to their classic Errbody Scream to set the tone right away for all the energy and dope rhymes, you always get in a Red & Mef show. Going through many of their other classic collaborations, such as How High, Y.O.U. and of course Da Rockwilder. Method Man & Redman also played covers of several of their own solo material. Taking it back to ’93 for Redman’s Time 4 Sum Aksion and Method Man’s solo single on Wu-Tang Clan’s classic debut album 36 Chambers with M.E.T.H.O.D. Man. Mef asking before that how many Wu-Tang fans were in the building and if he can take them back and get a “SOOOOO!” To which they of course obliged. They would then ask if they can bring it back to ’94 for Method Man’s always rugged and raw first single, Bring the Pain. Also performing covers of Redman’s own, Let’s Get Dirty (I Can’t Get in da Club) and I’ll Be Dat, as well as Raekwon’s Ice Cream. You know no Method Man & Redman show is complete without their cover of The Sugarhill Gang’s Rapper’s Delight or them saying a piece for fallen Wu member Ol’ Dirty Bastard, before going into his classic Shimmy Shimmy Ya. Mef’s always timeless classic Mary J. Blige collabo, All I Need of course is always another staple they always perform, as well as one of the best part of a Method Man & Redman show. Which is when they slow things down to do their always classic verses from their guests feature on LL Cool J’s ’97 classic, 4,3,2,1.Method Man & Redman’s performance, which was by far the best of the whole night and festival, showing once again why they’re not only arguably still one of the best live Hip-Hop acts today and of all-time, but also across any genre of music.
Tech N9ne had a tough task as the next act to follow, but would do pretty good himself. As he came out in a mask, before unveiling himself and going into Stamina, Einstein/KCMO, Godspeed, Riotmaker, Pledge, Fan and Bitch to open his killer set to close out this historic Hip-Hop festival in Chicago. Of course with his longtime Strange Music label mate and longtime partner in rhyme, Krizz Kaliko joining him during his set, Tech would then go into No Can Do, Dysfunctional, No Nos, Outta Line, Big Fu, Talk Up On It and Mental Giant. Before closing out with Sriracha, Industry, Blown Away, and speeding things up with the always incredible display of double-time flow on Midwest Choppers, Midwest Choppers 2, Worldwide Choppers and Speedom. Even shouting out Chicago’s very own legendary Twista as the only one who could kill with lyrical prowess in a double-time flow the way he does. Just when everybody thought Tech was done for his encore to really close out the historic night and day of Hip-Hop, he would end with the always very popular Fragile, Caribou, Hood God Crazy, Erbody and Playa. With his always great choreographed type moves incorporated into his set, to always really bringing the entertainment in Tech’s always killer performances, he showed why he’s also still one of today’s best live performers not only in Hip-Hop, but across any genre. Method Man & Redman’s set being the only one greater than Tech’s the whole day for an event that’s sure to be around for many more years to come here in Chicago and something positive the city can look forward to every year, in much the same way people look forward to other festival’s like Lollapalooza, Pitchfork and others throughout the summer.