On November 11, Moscow was taken over by the biggest hip-hop event in the city’s history: BURN Battle School Remixed. The event showcased the best that Golden Age hip-hop culture has to offer, featuring the best graffiti artists, break dancers and b-boys from around the world, and lining up O.G. talent from the United States next to fresh, local rising stars from Russia.
The ethos of BURN Battle School Remixed centers around the idea of keeping real hip-hop alive in future generations and paying respect to the foundations of the culture. The Golden Age of hip-hop has never been more relevant, with renewed interest in the culture’s foundations being spawned by shows like The Get Down and with the return of iconic, founding artists such as the recent release of A Tribe Called Quest’s new album, We Got It From Here… Thank You for Your Service.
The event took place at Stadium Live, a massive industrial space with an upstairs level that afforded prime, steeped viewing, and a VIP area full of finger food and flowing vodka. Break dancers warmed up the 5,000-strong crowd first, and then one of hip-hop’s founding fathers, Grandmaster Flash, took the reins, with a DJ set that epitomized that had the crowd bopping to Michael Jackson one minute and then Dr. Dre the next.
Russian rapper L’One then took over the mic, bouncing around the stage with the charisma and confidence that makes his Russia’s version of Drake. “Being able to perform on the same stage as Busta Rhymes and Grandmaster Flash, in my home country, is nothing but an honor,” he said of the evening.
Finally, the headline performer of the night took over the stage: hip-hop veteran Busta Rhymes, who was celebrating more than two decades in the game and who treated the now thoroughly turnt crowd to throwback hits like “Break Ya Neck,” “I Know What You Want” and “Woo Hah!! Got You All in Check.”
As Busta Rhymes himself said in one of his many memorable quotes from the event, “You don’t necessarily have to be a rapper, DJ or graffiti artist to directly empower the culture. Just genuinely being a fan and someone who honestly loves the culture – who just wants to see it continue to live and who does things to make sure it never dies – makes you probably more important than the rapper.”
Check out everything that went down in the gallery above, and for more information go to BURN Battle School’s website.
Also, speaking of Golden Age hip-hop artists, here’s your first look at RZA’s new clothing line.
- Images: Isaac Cambridge