by Shahid M. Allah
NEW YORK—The momentum and excitement going into the 50th Anniversary of Hip Hop concert at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, New York, only increased to a beautiful crescendo with a superbly executed event.
Upon arriving at Yankee Stadium, the reverberating sound coming from the rap music and the massive crowd inside could be heard throughout the entire area. At least 50,000 people were in attendance to witness history in the making.
Produced by Mass Appeal, Live Nation, and the New York Yankees, this majestic celebration of the 50-year history of hip hop did not disappoint. Run-DMC, KRS-1, Roxanne Shante, DJ Hollywood, Ice Cube, Snoop Dogg, Too Short, Nas, Lauryn Hill, Crazy Legs, Sugar Hill Gang, Fat Joe, Remy Ma, DJ Kid Capri, Melle Mel, Trina, DJ Marley Marl, Doug E. Fresh, Ghostface, Method Man, Cappadonna, Inspectah Deck, Computa 75, Mannie Fresh, T.I., Lola Brooks, Lupe Fiasco, Wiz Khalifah, Scar Lip, A Boogie wit da Hoodie, Grandmaster Caz, and others were in the place to be.
Student Minister Arthur Muhammad, the Acting Eastern Regional Representative of the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam; Brother Don Enoch Muhammad, an aide to Minister Farrakhan; Brother Khalil Muhammad and other F.O.I. (Fruit of Islam, the men of Nation of Islam) and this writer was also present to witness this phenomenal, earth-shaking event. Student Minister Arthur Muhammad and the F.O.I. went backstage and spent time with Ice Cube, Crazy Legs, Snoop Dogg, and many other artists. It was like a family reunion.
It is very important to acknowledge the influence of the life-giving Teachings of the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad on the molding and shaping of hip hop’s origin and evolution. The Last Poets, who were impacted and inspired by Islam, heavily influenced the origin of conscious rap groups such as Public Enemy, X-Clan, and others.
Portions of Minister Farrakhan’s speeches and the mentioning of his name continue to be inserted into various rappers’ music including Jay Electronica, Jay Z, and Wu-Tang Clan. Furthermore, the Minister has been present and spoken at several of the hip hop summits that were hosted by music mogul Russell Simmons and Rev. Benjamin Chavis.
“For the Hip Hop 50to happen at the ‘house that Ruth built,’ I can’t believe hip hop has come this far. There was a time when hip hop was marginalized by the masses because it was a new type of genre back in the 1970s and early 1980s; because disco was the popular dance music,” said Student Minister Arthur Muhammad (formerly known as Kid Dust of The Zulu Nation, a hip-hop collective).
Student Minister Arthur Muhammad shared that he and the F.O.I. who accompanied him were received tremendously well upon their arrival. People were complimenting the brothers on how sharp they looked in their suits and bow ties. “In the 1980s the Fruit were a staple! The F.O.I. were always at those rap concerts on security … In my earlier days in Zulu Nation, Crazy Legs and I hit itoff, even though I was from Mt.
Vernon and he was from the Bronx. To be able to be backstage, because of my history in Zulu Nation and hip hop, I was able to reunite with Ralph McDaniels and Charlie Mac. And we, the F.O.I., were able to give everyone backstage the greetings from the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan,” Min. Authur said.
Brother Don Enoch Muhammad’s start in the music industry began by working with Brother Haqq Islam, who used to manage Dru Hill and Mya. Brother Don Enoch Muhammad shared that he had mentioned the Hip Hop 50concert to Minister Farrakhan’s office, and he was sent as an emissary to the event.
Brother Don Enoch Muhammad helped organize the detail to the event with Student Minister Arthur Muhammad and Brother Salim Muhammad, the Student F.O.I. First Officer of Mosque No. 7 in New York.
He indicated that Brother Kevin Lacey, head of security for Nas, gave the F.O.I. access to the concert; and Brother Ron Muhammad, Ice Cube’s manager, provided them with backstage passes.
It was a lovefest backstage, Brother Don Enoch shared. When Lil’ Kim saw the F.O.I. she exclaimed, “the Brothers! the Brothers!” he said.
While backstage Student Minister Arthur Muhammad and the F.O.I. were greeted by and took pictures with Chuck D and Flava Flav of Public Enemy, Crazy Legs, Ice Cube and Snoop Dogg, activist Tamika Mallory, activist Erica Ford and Mysonne.
Brother Salim Muhammad pointed out that if it wasn’t for DJ Kool Herc’s foresight, tenacity and will to make a genre of music that didn’t exist hip hop may have never been born. He said that he started listening to rap music when he was in the fifth or sixth grade.
While backstage at the Hip Hop 50he had an opportunity to speak to Ralph McDaniels, whom he pointed out was the pioneer of giving the world access to rap videos via public access television Monday through Friday. Brother Ralph was the founder of Video Music Box.
Brother Salim said Ice Cube spoke with the F.O.I. for 15 minutes before he went on stage to perform. Ice Cube went out there and lit upYankee Stadium with some of his old-school, hard-core hits. The F.O.I. spoke with and took pictures with the Ruff Ryders, Fat Joe and Doug E Fresh, shared Brother Salim.
Bad BoyRecords top producer Ron Amen-Ra Lawrence, who was also in the Bronx during the celebration past weekend, shared the significance of Russell Simmons making sure that DJ Hollywood was present at the event. DJ Hollywood, who is originally from Harlem, started using a Disco 3800 mixer to blendthe beats of various records, to keep the party going as he harmoniously rhymed over the music in 1973.
At the concert Snoop Dogg introduced DJ Hollywood, and he performed a short melody. Nas brought out DJ Kool Herc and Cindy Campbell, thanking them for their significant contributions to hip hop culture. Amidst Nas’s performance, he also brought out old-school, smooth rap sensation Kool G Rap.
All the artists were rhythmically flowing with their lyrics. They all kept the crowd amped up and full of enthusiasm. Camron performed “Hey Ma” and the crowd went bananas and Lil Kim performed some of her classic hits. Fat Joe added that “Boricua flavor”performing, “What’s Luv” and “All the Way Up.” He brought out Ashanti and Remy Ma. Crazy Legs and the Rock Steady Crew performed break dancing maneuvers to old-school hip-hop beats.
When one of the hosts brought Yankee legend Derek Jeter on stage the crowd showed him so much love and cheered so much that no one could hear what he was saying (laugh). A Boogie wit da Hoodie was presented with a proclamation from the Hood Caucus by way of Bronx Councilman Kevin Riley.
Snoop Dogg didn’t just mesmerize the crowd with some of his classic hits. He also showed love to the new school rappers by bringing out Flo Milli and Scar Lip. Hip Hop 50 showed and proved that the genre and culture is still alive and thriving.