Now It’s Raekwon, in Bushwick

“This is like my 10th time rocking here,” says Daniel Domingo Carrillo, a rapper who has been working local shows since the mid-2000s under the name “Termanology,” and has since moved on to writing self-published, self-help tomes. Behind him, under a candy-red bucket hat, a woman hawked the title of one of these, written on an enormous board, in easily legible font “100 Ways To Be a Better Dad.” 

Some might have noticed that it was the first of these festivals to have been thrown up since legal weed businesses have propped up in the neighborhood; not for nothing, a presence now as indelible a part of these. Other new and recurrent presence included the Mike’s Hot Honey brand, employees of whom were employed to hand those out and the ubiquitous Brooklyn photographer Scott Lynch, who could be spotted, turtle-like, hobbling around, searching for angles. “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,” he writes in a dispatch for “Brooklyn” Magazine.

The communal, entrepreneurial spirit animated the event, the latest summer kickoff organized Joseph Ficalora, owner of a local steel factory and most well-known for running the street art outfit “Bushwick Collective.” Last year, Ficalora pulled as far as the West Coast to bring Ice-T over to headline the set of largely local acts, many longtimers in the mix-tape department. This time, the call went local, to the Wu-Tang affiliate Raekwon, longtime resident of neighboring Brownsville. He’s the second member of the group to headline these since Ficalora nabbed Ghostface Killiah in 2021 and he was a notable draw, his perfected rat-at-tat bars drew silent appreciation from the crowd of some few hundred or so, divided semi-equally between longtime locals and more ironic newcomers. Raekwon tore through the major hits, a crowd-pleasing set that ended with “C.R.E.A.M.” a song title and way of life found on any number of t-shirts throughout the crowd.

Photos taken by Andrew Karpan.

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