DJ Kool Herc, Rakim, Big Daddy Kane, Roxanne Shante, Marley Marl and
the Soulsonic Force played the SummerStage event.
A host of legendary artists, including DJ Kool Herc, Rakim, Big Daddy Kane, Soulsonic Force and Marley Marl celebrated hip-hop’s 40th anniversary with a free gig in New York’s Central Park yesterday (August 10).
The event was hosted by Roxanne Shante, who opened by saying: “We’re gonna celebrate 40 years of hip hop, 40 years of music, 40 years of love, 40 years of looking good and feeling ‘hood… We could not celebrate 40 years of hip hop without this great man right here,” she said, referring to DJ Kool Herc, who is often credited with inventing hip-hop, and being the first ever hip-hop DJ.
Before performing with Coke La Rock – the first ever hip-hop MC – Herc spoke to the crowd at the SummerStage event about how hip hop had changed many people’s lives. “It started giving people a life, money, a job,” he said, adding that hip-hop now should focus on giving something back to the community. “Instead of making it rain in the strip club, make it drizzle in the daycare centre… It’s about people respecting people, that’s what hip hop’s supposed to be… How many Trayvons got shot in Harlem last week, how many Trayvons got shot in Brooklyn last week?,” he added, referring to the 2012 shooting of African American teenager Trayvon Martin.
Dressed in a white T-shirt and hat, Rakim performed ”I Know You Got Soul’, ‘Paid In Full’, ‘Eric B Is President’ and ‘I Ain’t No Joke’, saying “I wanna thank my man Kool Herc. I’d probably be a football player or a basketball player if it wasn’t for what Herc did to the game.” After his set, Big Daddy Kane arrived on stage and the pair joined hands and held them aloft to cheers from the crowd before Kane ran through the songs ‘Young, Gifted and Black’, ‘Raw’, ‘Smooth Operator’ and ‘Warm It Up, Kane’.
The event also saw the inventor of scratching, Grand Wizzard Theodore, DJing before a short set from the Soulsonic Force, who played their influential 1982 track ‘Planet Rock’. DJ Red Alert, Marley Marl and DJ Premier also performed.