Wu-Tang’s Raekwon brought the heat to the 13th annual Bushwick Collective Block Party

It was a beautiful day in Bushwick on Saturday as thousands of hip-hop and graffiti heads gathered along Troutman Avenue for the 13th annual Bushwick Collective Block Party. The free festival was organized as always by Joe Ficalora, who started the Collective as a way to focus his energies after his mother’s death and wound up transforming this industrial stretch of Brooklyn into an internationally renowned outdoor art gallery.

“I had no idea this would become such a big thing when I started 13 years ago,” Ficalora told Brooklyn Magazine. “It wasn’t my purpose. I was just trying to figure out what to do with all my pain. But when you surround yourself with people who are creative, who are living with passion, you get inspired by that, and learn to live a richer life. Every year I can’t believe we’re here, loaded with legends of street art and music. I’m blessed to have all these people in my life.”

‘Style Wars’ tribute (Photo by Scott Lynch)

The headliner on Saturday was Raekwon, the Wu-Tang Clan emcee who born in Brownsville and did a 45-minute set of classics to the big crowd on the streets. Other acts hitting the stage included Nems, Termanology, Cash Sinatra, Tony Moxburg, Statik Selektah and Fatman Scoop. DStroy emceed all afternoon, reminiscing often about his (misspent) youth down the block during the 1980s and ’90s, and DJ Evil Dee kept the crowd bumping with medley after medley of old-school favorites.

Bushwick Collective founder Joe Ficalora (Photo by Scott Lynch)

There were loads of food and merchandise vendors on Troutman, nutcrackers and such were easy to acquire, and Ficalora said that 57 artists from all around the world had painted new murals in the area over the past week or so. And unlike most of the partying that goes on in the bars, restaurants, and clubs around here these days, many long-time Bushwick locals have made the Block Party their own thing, using it as an excuse to get together with old friends from the neighborhood.

Raekwon in action (Photo by Scott Lynch)

“I was born and raised on Knickerbocker and Melrose,” said Ozzie Del Rio, who was surrounded by a huge crew on the corner about a block away from the stage. “We call ourselves the Bushwick Legends, and have been coming here every year. It’s amazing. The neighborhood is awesome. We’re family in Bushwick. We grew up out on the street, we drank, we smoked, we went out clubbing, we did everything together. It’s a beautiful thing.”

A few of the Bushwick Legends crew (Photo by Scott Lynch)

Here are a few more scenes from the day.

Alicia Keys portrait by Sef.01 (Photo by Scott Lynch)

Artists Golden and Fo__Estudio stroll past their new mural on Troutman (Photo by Scott Lynch)

Photo by Scott Lynch

Photo by Scott Lynch

Photo by Scott Lynch

Photo by Scott Lynch

The post Wu-Tang’s Raekwon brought the heat to the 13th annual Bushwick Collective Block Party appeared first on Brooklyn Magazine.

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