Public Enemy and Ice-T to Headline National Celebration of Hip Hop at 50
Public Enemy and Ice-T will headline the national celebration of Hip Hop at West Potomac Park on the National Mall in Washington, DC on October 6 and 7.
The concert is free, and you must sign up for free tickets at nationalcelebrationofhiphop.com. Hip-Hop is celebrating 50 years of culture, vision, and voice. Billboard Magazine states hip-hop is the “most consumed type of music globally.”
The rapper and actor Ice-T exclaimed, “We are coming to the National Mall to bring you authentic hip-hop for the 50th celebration!” And they said it would not last.
The lineup features rap legends and reads like a who’s who of the genre – the Sugarhill Gang, Kurtis Blow, Kid N’ Play, Soulsonic Force, a Beastie Boys Tribute set, Roxanne Shanté, Melle Mel and Scorpio, Peter Gunz, CL Smooth, DJ Kevie Kev Rockwell, Mad Skillz, Busy Bee, Joe Ski Love, Positive K, Boogie Black, Mick Benzo, Gumbo and Donald D.
Chuck D of Public Enemy talked about the hip-hop genre and how it has evolved over 50 years: “It’s a cultural movement that has dominated art, fashion, politics, poetry, academia, film, and every corner of the world for the past 50 years. The National Celebration brings it all together in one place for the people, by the people, he said.
Hip-hop burst on the scene in the 1970s. First, the DJs were filling the dance floors; DJ Kool Herc is credited with setting up his turntables at a Bronx party and changing the music industry from that day forward.
Soon, the MCs (master of ceremonies) arrived on the scene, using the mic to freestyle, rhyme, and tell stories reflecting daily life as they knew it. Many in the music business saw it as a flash-in-the-pan, predicting a quick demise. But it was here to stay.
If you’ve never heard Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five “The Message,” go now to YouTube and press play, and the next time you hear someone say, “It’s like a jungle sometimes, it makes me wonder how I keep from goin’ under” or “Don’t push me cause I’m close to the edge,” you will understand how the genre has remained at the top for 50 years. Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five were the first hip-hop group Inducted into the Rock and Rock Hall of Fame.
Hip-hop artists pushed the limits of style and music. They came barreling into the musical mainstream, spitting lyrics that spoke about police violence, drugs and social injustices, love, and sex through the eyes of those who wanted not only to educate but, at times, to provoke.
Demonstrations, conflicts, shootings, and deaths are a part of the legacy, and hip-hop artists have never shied away from speaking about the genre’s beauty, boldness, and pain.
Hip-hop has reinvented itself many times and is the cultural center of music in America. Is there anyone over the age of 12 who doesn’t recognize the musical introduction, da da da da, featuring Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg on “The Next Episode,” or gets up to dance as soon as they hear 2Pacs’ “California Love?” Hip Hop is fifty and has no plans to exit the world’s musical stage