If you love real classic Hip-Hop, then Toyota Park in Chicago for The Breaks, Vol. II was the place to be Saturday. As you were able to get a full days worth of that classic true to the core Hip-Hop. From Wu-Tang Clan to Yasiin Bey (formerly Mos Def), Talib Kweli, Vic Mensa, Curren$y, Freddie Gibbs and Twista, it was one of the more crazy dope lineups, you will ever see or witness in person.
While it didn’t top last year’s first edition of The Breaks, it was still pretty dope and a really overall solid Hip-Hop festival that I can still see going on for years to come. Especially with the incentive to showcase graffiti artists and b-boys, which was among a few of the new things they added from last year. Chicago’s very own Twista and originally from Gary, Indiana, but also repping Chicago Freddie Gibbs starting things off among the main acts. Twista of course opening with his always forever classic killer track, Adrenaline Rush, to really set things off. Also going through several of his classics such as Emotions, Get It Wet, Slow Jamz and Overnight Celebrity, as well as of course the guest verse on fellow Chicago legends, Do or Die’s, Po Pimp, he had one of the better sets of the whole day. His longtime hype man, B-Hype, really helping bring the energy for such a crazy dope performance. You have to appreciate how he even let his GMG Entertainment artist, BoDi Deeder, come out to perform his single, Trap Money, too. You know Twista couldn’t go without cutting everything off and going acapella to show how fast he can spit that killer rapid-fire flow on, Gucci Louis Prada. Showing how we get down here in Chicago.
Freddie Gibbs was straight killa, no filla. As in a short amount of time he was still able to run through some of his newer heaters such as Automatic, Death Row, Triple Threat, 2 Legit and Toe Tag, as well as some of his more classic material such as BFK and Thuggin’. Curren$y following not long after blessed the crowd with a pretty solid performance himself. It then getting to the nitty-gritty acts most everyone was really waiting to see in Wu-Tang Clan, Yasiin Bey, Talib Kweli and Vic Mensa.
Chicago’s very own hometown rising great, Vic Mensa blessing the stage with a very killer performance. Rocking everything from Didn’t I (Say I Didn’t) to 16 Shots, U Mad, Down for Some Ignorance (Ghetto Lullaby) and Memories on 47th Street. Mensa being the outspoken voice that he’s for this generation, you know he didn’t hold anything back when mentioning the corrupt Chicago politics that surround Chicago Police officer Jason Van Dyke’s 2014 shooting of Chicago teenager Laquan McDonald, who’s currently on trial for the shooting, which killed McDonald. Showing the great talent that there’s here in Chicago for the homegrown Hip-Hop festival, the Roc Nation emcee even showed love to Chicago originals and living legends, Crucial Conflict too. As he brought out the Westside of Chicago group, who actually performed at the first The Breaks, just last year. Crucial Conflict of course performing their forever classic weed anthem, Hay, which many know as the unofficial Chicago Hip-Hop anthem.
Talib Kweli would then bless the stage. Showing how a true emcee controls the crowd Talib started off with his Reflection Eternal classic, Down 4 The Count and of course he couldn’t play Chicago without spitting and performing his killer guest verse from Kanye West’s all-time classic, Get Em High. The Brooklyn emcee would go through a lot of his classics such as Shock Body to Hot Thing and some even rare gems, which your casual fan wouldn’t know, such as Lonely People and Raw Shit. Really getting the ladies in the crowd moving their bodies when he performed, Hot Thing and being in Chicago you know Kweli couldn’t go without bringing out Chicago emcee and his very own Javotti Media signed artist, K’Valentine. With Valentine performing her track, Chiraq, showing how despite being a female, she could hold her own on the mic both lyrically and with such a killer stage presence, which could match most anybody. You know Kweli couldn’t close out his set without performing what’s not only still his biggest record to date, but one of the biggest records still in Hip-Hop history, Get By. Thus perfectly setting the stage for fellow Brooklyn-bred emcee, Yasiin Bey.
Yasiin Bey coming out to his always classic, Ms. Fat Booty. You know he couldn’t play Chicago without doing a cover of his timeless guest feature, Lord Lord Lord, from Chicagoan Kanye West’s very popular 2010 G.O.O.D. Fridays series. Bey went though several other of his other classics mostly from his critically-acclaimed debut album, Black On Both Sides, when he went by his former alias, Mos Def. Performing Hip Hop and UMI Says. He would also bring his Black Star partner in rhyme, Kweli, back out to perform their classics Definition and Re: Definition, off their very critically-acclaimed self-titled debut album.
The main act, who most everyone was really waiting for, legendary and arguably the greatest Hip-Hop group of all-time, Wu-Tang Clan, would then take the stage. Bringing da ruckus for a 25th anniversary performance of their seminal groundbreaking debut album, Enter the 36 Chambers. The nine group collective would take the stage with one of the groups leaders and co-founders, RZA, getting the crowd going, telling fans to throw up their middle fingers, before they went into their very classic and still raw, grand opening track to Enter the 36 Chambers, Bring Da Ruckus. The sold-out crowd joining along and rapping the very aggressive lyrics, “Bring da motherfuckin’ ruckus! Bring da motherfuckin’ ruckus!” Wu-Tang would go through Shame On a N***a, Clan In Da Front, Wu-Tang: 7th Chamber, Can It Be All So Simple, Da Mystery of Cheesboxin’ Wu-Tang Clan Ain’t Nuthing tu Fvck Wit, C.R.E.A.M. and Method Man, in virtually the same order they appeared on the album. With Method Man himself being the one from the group who really brought the most energy from his bars to his stage presence to how lyrically sharp he was throughout the killer performance. Of course performing the very soulful, Tearz and very raw and rugged, Protect Ya Neck, the Clan showed how nearly 25 years after their seminal groundbreaking classic debut their chemistry is still as seamless as ever. It really showing when they showed off the different types of flavors brought by virtually each member. As they threw in a bunch of their solo classics. Which ranged from Raekwon’s Only Built 4 Cuban Linx classic, Ice Cream to GZA’s, Liquid Swords, Mef’s very own raw and classic, Bring Da Pain and Cappadonna’s very own, Slang Editorial, from his very underappreciated classic debut album, The Pillage.
You know you can’t close out a Wu-Tang Clan show without RZA and all the other members telling you to put your lighters and/or lights from your cell phones up for a tribute to their own fallen member, Ol’ Dirty Bastard. Ghostface Killah also shouting out recently fallen rapper, Mac Miller. But it was Method Man ironically enough, like he almost always does, ending up doing almost spot-on renditions of ODB’s always very classic and timeless singles, Shimmy Shimmy Ya and Got Your Money. Wu-Tang Clan would triumphantly end their set appropriately with their always classic lead single from their double-disc classic sophomore album, Wu-Tang Forever, with Triumph and from their third album, The W, the always also very triumphant sounding, Gravel Pit. Which makes you want to jump up and as RZA said before they performed it, “When you hear this track, this the jumpoff, which if you love Hip-Hop. You have to try jumping as high as you can, when we play this!” To which the crowd obliged doing and closing out easily one of the best performances I’ve ever seen live from the Wu or anybody ever period.