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Raekwon, GZA and DJ Kool Herc Rock ATP NY

Roger Kisby, Getty Images

Every year, the All Tomorrow’s Parties music festival, or ATP NY, picks a curator for its third and final day’s lineup. This year the privilege went to filmmaker Jim Jarmusch. A lover of Wu-Tang Clan, Jarmusch famously used a RZA score for his 1999 urban samurai film ‘Ghost Dog: Way of the Samurai,’ as well as featuring RZA and GZA in a scene with Bill Murray in ‘Coffee & Cigarettes.’ Therefore the indie film director’s decision to put some of hip-hop’s elite — Raekwon, GZA and Kool Herc — up against the fest’s usual experimental rock bill was a no brainer.

Raekwon hit the main stage shortly after 10PM on Sunday to rapturous applause. The soundsystem turned some of his intricate beats into a massive sludge of bass, but fans were more than happy to take in the noise assault. Raekwon ran through classic Wu hits, covering Ol’ Dirty Bastard and rocking rhymes over the instrumental for Slick Rick‘s ‘Children’s Story.’

GZA was supposed to perform earlier in the day, but delays pushed his set back to the absolute last performance of the festival. The Genius worked the crowd from side-to-side, stopping tracks to revel in his choppy, heavily-enunciated style. Raekwon joined in as a hype man during the set. “I don’t even have to do nothing,” Rae told the crowd as he leaned against the DJ stand. “This man is a master.”

After GZA’s performance concluded, festival goers gathered to witness DJ Kool Herc on the turntables. The rare set was jam packed and mixed with reggae, funk, jazzy textures and a whole lot of break beats and rap classics. Kool Herc, the true innovator of early hip-hop DJing, provided a history lesson via his music, reminding that hip-hop is an eclectic combination of all genres that forms something new.

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