Behind The Scenes At Mad Decent Block Party
On Sunday night Diplo’s Mad Decent imprint came to Brooklyn’s Williamsburg Park for the third stop of their annual label showcase and summer sweatfest that is the Mad Decent Block Party. First held as a one-off rager in front of their Philadelphia headquarters in 2008, the block parties were originally meant to promote the then-tiny label’s roster of artists. Now, four years later, the block party has become a massive, all-ages, touring spectacle featuring performances from label’s entire arsenal spanned out over shows in LA, Chicago, Toronto, Philadelphia, and New York. Sunday’s lineup was by far the largest of the tour with a lineup that featured DJ sets from Major Lazer, Erol Alkan, and Lunice and live performances from Bonde do Rolê, Riff Raff, Zebra Katz and more. And while an unexpected downpour forced the camp to shut-down their stage suddenly, the thousands of attending revelers certainly got their fill of daytime partying regardless.
We arrived as Reptar was leaving stage to make way for Riff Raff. The rapper has become something of a walking meme and his performance only exaggerated the fact as he took the stage wearing a neon green tshirt and his signature, blinged-out Icee cup and logo-emblazoned chains. His live show fell a little flat following the bubbling cheer of the band before him; the constantly flailing inflated blow-up man propped in front of the stage might have had a stronger stage presence than the G’s To Gents rapper. Riff Raff stumbled across his verses, occasionally revealing that he was lip-syncing to his own tracks. Lunice, however, picked up the energy and literally stomped through a DJ set of hype party rap — Chief Keef, Waka Flocka, and 2Chainz — and a blend of bass-heavy hip-hop instrumentals, including “Bugg’n” from his recently released TNGHT collab. New Jersey’s Brick Bandit DJs Tim Dolla and Yahmean took on shirtless back-up duties, moshing alongside Lunice as he shuffled across stage and hyping the crowd up on the mic (i.e., “A low system, that’s that shit we don’t like. A loud system, that’s that shit we do like”).
Bonde do Rolê won the award for the most ludicrously brilliant props of the night. Amid their baile funk bombardment, where the duo of MCs Laura Taylor and Pedro D’Eyrot hair-flipped and bounced along to their screamy lyrics, the trio shot milk onto each other (and the moshpit) out of a dildo-outfited squirt gun. When they ran out, they took to pouring gallons of milk onto willing volunteers. And while the sweaty mayhem continued to ensue on stage as Erol Alkan dove into a frenetic house groove upon reaching the turntables, we got a chance to go behind the scenes and chat some of the day’s highlights.