Although the 50th anniversary of hip-hop is technically in October – in line with the first time the “father of hip-hop” DJ Kool Herc mixed records live at a party in the Bronx – the celebrations are underway since the beginning of the year. From books chronicling the “golden age” of New York mixtapes from decades past to a Brooklyn Library exhibit historic Jay-Z’s career, the music industry is brimming with projects paying homage to both to the ancestors of hip-hop and the contemporary artists of today.
However, perhaps the best way to celebrate 50 years of hip-hop is to discover those who have marked the history of music in real time. Over the next few months, a series of star-studded concerts and festivals will take place across the country, and while many rappers are hosting their own solo gigs, a few select events will bring together artists and bands such as DJ Kool Herc himself. even, Run-DMC, the Wu-Tang Clan, Mary J. Blige and more.
Below, Hypebeast has rounded up some of the summer’s most anticipated hip-hop events.
“Rock the Bells” at Forest Hills Stadium
Rock the Bells, the eponymous festival on SiriusXM’s Channel 43 hip-hop radio station, has played a major role in hip-hop history, serving as the platform for the career-defining shows of a few. artists. Take the newly reunited Wu-Tang Clan, for example, who performed at the inaugural 2004 festival just four months before Ol’ Dirty Bastard passed away.
After a few more iterations of Rock the Bells across California in 2005 and 2006, the festival went on hiatus for nearly two decades until LL Cool J revived it last year.
“I feel like hip-hop is indispensable, and the same reverence and deference in how Paul McCartney is celebrated, the way Bob Dylan is celebrated or Mick Jagger, I feel like these artists, these kings and queens deserve the same treatment for this art form,” LL Cool J said of the festival.
The throwback event will return once again in 2023, this time to LL Cool J’s hometown of Queens at Forest Hills Stadium. Hosted by Rock the Bells radio personality Roxanne Shanté, the August 5 event will feature performances from DJ Z-Trip, Queen Latifah, Ludacris, De La Soul, Method Man and Redman, Swizz Beatz and some surprise special guests.
“Hip Hop 50 Live” at Yankee Stadium
Run-DMC was scheduled to play its final show in April at Madison Square Garden, an event that ultimately did not take place. Fortunately, fans of the ’80s hip-hop group will have the opportunity to see them live for one last time at Yankee Stadium’s “Hip Hop 50 Live” event on August 11.
“In the Bronx where it all began, we will celebrate this historic moment in history!” said Darryl “DMC” McDaniels. “I’m honored to honor the culture that allowed this shy little kid from Queens to grow up to be The Mighty King of Rock!”
The group will be joined by a few of their fellow tastemakers, including Lil Wayne, Snoop Dogg and Ice Cube. The occasion will also include a “Queens of Hip Hop” set featuring Eve, Lil Kim, Remy Ma and Trina. And to top it off, the “Pillars of Hip Hop” segment will be hosted by the one and only DJ Kool Herc, alongside Cindy Campbell, Grandmaster Caz, Kurtis Blow, Melle Mel, Roxanne Shanté, Scorpio, Sugar Hill Gang and more. others.
Hot 97’s “Hip Hop Forever” at Madison Square Garden
Hosted by DJ Funk Flex, influential hip-hop radio station Hot 97 will bring together a roster of accomplished rappers for a live show on September 15. The Wu-Tang Clan will take the stage, followed by Mary J. Blige and Sean Paul. Brentwood hip-hop duo of Erick Sermon and Parrish Smith, better known as EPMD, will also perform their unique funk-inspired hip-hop tracks.
Funk Flex will also share co-hosting duties for the evening with Mariah Carey, as well as Maxwell and Tyrese.
“Masters Of The Mic: Hip-Hop 50 Tour”
For its own contribution to the festivities, “Masters Of The Mic” – organized by Universal Attractions Agency (UAA), RAMP Entertainment Agency and Mahogany Entertainment – focuses on old school style OGs. Big Daddy Kane, Doug E. Fresh, KRS-One, Rakim and Slick Rick all headline for a hip-hop night full of performances. Select cities will feature a rotating assortment of special guests, including EPMD, Roxanne Shante, DJ Spinderella and more
“50 Years of Hip-Hop” at Mable House Barnes Amphitheater
Georgia has carved out a place in hip-hop history as the birthplace of rappers such as TI, Ludacris, Andre 3000 and many more. On the outskirts of Atlanta, flowmasters Doug E. Fresh, Rakim, Slick Rick and Chubb Rock will grace the Mable House Barnes Amphitheater on September 3 for an evening tying together the various subgenres of hip-hop music, sur- the -fly beatboxing of Fresh to the intricate MC techniques of innovator Rakim.
Joining the main roster will be British rapper Monie Love, alongside Kwamé and Dana Dane.