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Hip-Hop Family Picnic: Wild Style Reunion at Load of Fun, May 29 and 30

Hip-Hop Family Picnic: Wild Style Reunion at Load of Fun, May 29 and 30

The real-life record skipped. Chief Rocker Busy Bee--Baltimore resident since 1989 and party-rocking MC since his '70s NYC youth--had gotten the crowd pumped up for his 1982 hit "Making Cash Money." It was time for Los Angeles' DJ Ice to extend the instrumental break of James Brown's "Funky President" using two LPs, and let Busy bust it. What happened next was a technical difficulty seldom seen in the age of the digital DJ. Around the third bar of Brown's classic disco beat, the needle on the right turntable jumped a beat. Like watching a blacksmith at Colonial Williamsburg, the crowd saw "the way it used to be." Busy Bee, being who he is, kept the party going without a hint of disappointment other than a lighthearted, "C'mon, man." Knowing that there's an unfortunate sense of novelty seeing pressed vinyl records being juggled on turntables in 2010, Busy Bee and PedX Clothing in Fells Point gathered stars of the seminal hip-hop film

over Memorial Day weekend at the Load of Fun gallery space. There at the corner of North and Howard--until fairly recently a no-go area set off by burnt-out buildings and eerie flickering motel lights--Baltimoreans and visitors stepped back to the unlikely cultural spring

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Wild Style

director Charlie Ahearn documented nearly 30 years ago in the blighted South Bronx. An MC both in moving the crowd and as master of ceremonies, Busy Bee reminded hundreds who came out that "hip-hop is something we live." Aside from Busy Bee, it turns out that some other

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Wild Style

players now dwell in Charm City and its periphery. Master Rob of the Fantastic Freaks, who feature in the epic "Basketball Throwdown" scene in the film, lives in Owings Mills. Martha Cooper, a Baltimore native who was among the first photographers to commit subway graffiti to film while working for the

New York Post

, strolled around and snapped photos outside the back of the gallery, where spray-paint luminaries Cope 2 and Indie 184 were joined by dozens of other established and aspiring street artists in the creation of several murals. The smell of hot dogs, burgers, and blunts mingled with the Krylon fumes under a partly cloudy sky while

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's middle-aged legends performed, remembered, and were thanked by fans who knew their faces from footage shot when they were barely old enough to drink. Ultimately, "reunion" was the right name for the event. Some vendors hawked

Wild Style

-related wares, but director Charlie Ahearn walked around with his own video camera like it was the Ahearn Family Picnic and he wanted to catch his cousins' kids playing catch. Everyone seemed genuinely excited to catch up and look at the legacy they created from some of the shittiest circumstances of Cold War-era America. Four hours south of the South Bronx in Baltimore, their record had jumped from 1983 to 2010 and landed right on beat.

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