The Blaze ‘N’ Glory festival took place in San Bernardino CA, on June 4th, 2016. It was a typically hot summer day in California but that didn’t stop the Hip-hop fans from coming out in full force. Fans endured the heat but were rewarded by an excellent show filled with legendary Hip-hop talents.
The first amongst the festival and its many highlights were Dilated Peoples, they delivered an extremely impressive set. It was fascinating to watch the group preform in 2016, Hip-hop has long since moved away from the days of the traditional DJ and Emcee setup. Yet, Dilated Peoples are exactly that, a true throwback to the golden days of the genre. Evidence and Rakaa thoroughly hold their own on the microphone, but they happily gave it up to DJ Babu during their set. Gotta give the man behind the wheels some credit! DJ Babu tore up the wheels of steel while setting the stage for the group and their infectious hits. At one point during their set, Evidence pulled a fan up out of the crowd and had him rhyme alongside him. That was truly a once in a lifetime moment for that fan and it was a joy to be a spectator in the crowd.
Atmosphere was a high point of the festival, the sun was just starting to set as they took the stage but their performance didn’t lack any heat. Personally, I got the feeling that the bulk of the crowd was attending the show simply to see Atmosphere. Slug and Ant have tremendous chemistry on stage and that leads to a dynamite performance from the duo. You can really tell that Slug is still very much in love with Hip-hop and passionate about the culture. He delivers his lyrics with a type of fervor that I haven’t seen on stage in quite a while. Not only that, but the crowd was hanging on his every word, everyone sang along to the chorus of “Yesterday”. It was truly a pleasure to watch Atmosphere perform at Blaze ‘N’ Glory and it is a performance I won’t soon forget.
Last but certainly not least was Nas. The crowd was hyped up by Atmosphere which set the stage for Nas to come in and do his thing. He stormed the stage and instantly broke into “N.Y. State of Mind” off the legendary Illmatic album. Nas showed off a little clever word play and shouted “Im in a California state of mind!” as expected, the crowd erupted with joy. As a side note, Nas had DJ Green Lantern on stage with him for the entire set, he provided great energy alongside Nas. Together, they delivered all the hits from Nas’ lengthy catalog, he played everything from Illmatic to his most recent release Life Is Good. It was surreal to watch Nas go through his hits and see the pride on his face as he preformed them. Nas is the kind of Hip-hop giant that must be seen in person, his songs are legendary but when he performs them on stage they reach new heights. It is unreal to watch him preform “Made You Look”, the song is epic and he knows it, the crowd knows and you feel the ground shake under your feet as the beat slaps. At one point, he sat on the stage and preformed the opening of “One Mic” a cappella which was a real treat. If you ever have a chance to see Nas, make sure you jump at the opportunity.
Blaze ‘N’ Glory 2016 was a tremendous showing of Hip-hop music that I was proud and privileged to cover. I cannot recommend the festival enough, be sure to attend next year because this year was over the top! I can’t wait to see next years lineup.