8 Best Moments of Hip Hop 50 Live: Nas, Run-D.M.C., Fat Joe & More

“If you remember anything from tonight, remember this one thing: I ain’t s— without you,” proclaimed Lil Wayne at the Hip Hop 50 Live concert on Friday (Aug. 11). As tens of thousands of fans descended upon Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, New York, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of one of the most important and influential art forms in the world, Wayne’s message was proven correct.

Hip Hop 50 Live, which featured headliners Run-D.M.C. in their final show, was a celebration of the genre’s roots and evolution as much as it was a celebration of the fans and community that have kept pushing the culture forward for 50 years and counting. Featuring a crowd as diverse as New York City itself, the concert placed a heavy emphasis on honoring the genre’s pillars such as The Sugarhill Gang and Melle Mel. From undisputed icons like Roxanne Shante to new-school innovators like A Boogie wit da Hoodie, Friday night’s concert was the physical embodiment of the cross-generational impact of hip-hop.

Assembling a lineup that effectively conveys the cultural, regional, sexual, and generational diversity of a genre as multilayered as hip-hop is no easy task. While the show was notably lacking in contemporary stars, the concert’s lineup was more than capable of captivating the massive stadium. Performances included sets from Nas, Lil Wayne, Ice Cube, Wiz Khalifa, Ghostface Killah, Common, Lupe Fiasco, Cam’Ron, T.I., Lil’ Kim, Trina, Remy Ma, Fat Joe, Slick Rick, EPMD, Snoop Dogg and more.

Hip Hop 50 Live specifically commemorated a legendary party at 1520 Sedgwick Avenue hosted by Cindy Campbell and DJed by DJ Kool Herc — a party that birthed hip-hop. As such, the celebration took things all the way back to the beginning. The Sugarhill Gang delighted the audience with a rousing rendition of “Rapper’s Delight,” which is widely regarded as the first commercially released hip-hop song, and rap pioneer Grandmaster Caz rocked the house with performances of “It’s Us,” among other Cold Crush Brothers selections.

Of course, hip-hop is about more than just the rappers. DJs also got their due at Friday’s concert, with legendary DJs like Marley Marl and Mannie Fresh keeping the energy flowing with sets that frequently highlighted the sub-genres and sounds of hip-hop not present on the official bill.

As the night transitioned into lengthier sets, both Lil Wayne and T.I. reminded attendees that both have an endless stream of hits across eras and genres. T.I. held it down for the South and 20 years of Trap Muzik with a set that included such hits as “Swagga Like Us,” “Whatever You Like,” and “Live Your Life.” Lil Wayne, who masterfully tore through countless anthems, pulled out hits like “A Milli,” “Uproar,” “I’m Goin’ In,” and a cruel tease of “Back That Azz Up,” that left the crowd hanging.

Hip Hop 50 Live was co-produced by Mass Appeal, Live Nation, and the New York Yankees. Emmy Award-winner BASSic Black Entertainment CEO Adam Blackstone and producer and keyboardist Omar Edwards served as the concert’s creative music directors.

Here are the 8 best moments of Hip Hop 50 Live:

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