THE ECKO CHALLENGE: Catching up with Marc Ecko and the Getting Up Performances

16 Aug 2005

The T-dot got a double dose of hip-hop last weekend with Marc Ecko’s Getting up festival. Hip-hop is everywhere, so some may ask why put on a two day festival revolving around it? “Why not?” says Marc Ecko. A simple answer but in its simplicity Marc reveals the inevitability of such an undertaking, it was only a matter of time. The result? One of Toronto’s biggest concerts this summer.

With an almost unbelievable line-up of North America’s most prestigious hip-hop artists, the festival got off to a surprisingly slow start due to low ticket sales. However word that the ticket prices had been slashed to half-price soon got around and whatever bumps were felt in the beginning of this journey were soothed in the end with satisfied fans taking with them the memory of powerful performances .The festival showcased local performers Keshia Chante, Jellestone, Jully Black and Kardinal Offishall. They had the opportunity to rub shoulders with hip-hop heavy weights Ludacris, Kanye West ,Mos def and Nas. Though support for Canadian acts could have been better, a soul performance by Jully black made one proud of their hometown. Because of technical difficulties, artists like Keshia weren’t able to give 100%. Mr. X formerly Little X, was acknowledged as the creative director for Getting up and congratulated for his efforts.

The festival focused on all the elements of hip hop culture beyond the music. Graffiti, artists, DJs, freestylers, emcees, b-boys and video vixens all had their time to shine. And if that wasn’t enough activity to keep any A.D.D hip-hop junky busy there was the auto show, sneaker expo and V.I.P lounges providing more than enough entertainment. Cool points must be given for the diverse and entertaining activities available at every corner of the Docks, one stand-out feature of the festival was the “Players Club” where attendees could preview Marc Ecko’s new video game “Getting up: Contents under pressure”, which educates players on the art of graffiti. Rosario Dawson and Talib Kweli are featured as the female and male characters in the game. This along with other Atari and Playstation games was available for attendees to try out.

On the musical tip, the stand out performance for the entire festival event was the god’s son. Nas’ set was stunning, his performance of “One Mic” had every soul mesmerized, his followers raising their lighters and cell phones in adoration, waving at his command and leaving little doubt that he is indeed the street’s disciple. In the end he left us all chanting “Brave heart.”

Fat Joe was all thugged out ending with his 50-Cent diss track and Mos Def kept it cool, providing a rousing performance of “Umi says” and a crowd pleasing free style.

Busta “Buss-a -buss” Rhymes was a little disappointing, perhaps the crowd was busy floating on a Nas high but the energy just wasn’t felt through out his performance.

Ciara and her dancers kept the crowd transfixed. Her moves were well executed and despite her late arrival the T-dot crowd showed her much love. LiL’ Jon, Mr. Yeahhhhhhhhh!! kept it Crunk as expected but did the unexpected when he took us back to his roots doing his dance-hall DJ set . He also appeared at the back of the crowd after a hilarious Dave Chappelle/Chris Rock/Usher video introduction for “Lovers and Friends.”

More surprises were had with the appearance of LiL’ scrappy, who had women screaming with his antics “sacrificing” his body by throwing himself into the crowds of lust-crazed women. Kanye was his usually witty self. He kept us waiting but was worth it giving the crowd “Diamonds from Sierra Leone” to open his set. Getting Up had its ups and downs but with great performances nonetheless. Hopefully the T-dot will have more of the same next summer.

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