On July 21, 2023, in the hallowed halls of Radio City Music Hall in New York City, DJ Cassidy played host to one of the most epic nights in Hip Hop history and the commemoration of the culture’s 50th birthday.
The legendary DJ's Pass The Mic Live Tour proved to be one of the best celebrations of Hip Hop 50 thus far, with an epic three-hour show that took the audience on a journey through the evolution of rap music.
“Tonight is a celebration of hip hop. Where it all began, New York City. The place where I was born,” Cassidy said to the energetic, sold-out crowd of over 6,000 attendees. “This is how we celebrate Hip Hop 50.”
The origins of Pass The Mic began during the global pandemic, when most of the world was on lockdown. From his home, Cassidy began airing videos on Instagram featuring numerous artists performing their signature songs that he titled Pass The Mic. The series continued to grow in popularity as he was on the post-shows for all of BET’s awards shows. Concluding the virtual series at the 2022 BET Hip Hop Awards, DJ Cassidy announced that he would take his show on the road and launched Pass the Mic Live! Tour.
After bringing the show to different venues, the disc jockey came to the mecca of the music genre to 'pass the mic' to his hometown where the world’s most recognizable culture was birthed.
Highlighting the "Golden Era of hip hop," he invited 50 of the most renowned rappers from New York. Iconic MCs such as Big Daddy Kane, Doug E. Fresh, Rakim, Slick Rick, KRS-One, Melle Mel, CL Smooth, Sugarhill Gang, EPMD, Nice ‘N Smooth, Roxanne Shante, Monie Love, Treach of Naughty By Nature, Kurtis Blow and many more surprise guests to come on the stage to rock the sold-out crowd in the historic event in partnership with Martell Cognac.
Several of the legendary emcees spoke with EBONY to reflect on Hip Hop 50 and how the culture continues to impact the world. Regarded as one of the greatest ever to rock the mic, Rakim shared hist thoughts on the importance and how honored he was to be one of the participants.
“You know man Hip Hop 50 has been an amazing celebration of the culture,” Rakim said. “To rock the stage with so many legendary artists was a blessing, and I’m just glad to be a part of it. Shoutout to DJ Cassidy for making it happen.”
Kurtis Blow, rap music’s first solo star, expressed his excitement about the future of the genre.
“Tonight was an amazing night to celebrate,” Blow said. "To be in Radio City Music Hall with a packed house 50 years later is incredible, hip hop will always live on."
“I’ve been a part of Hip Hop since day one,” Melle Mel of Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five added. “Hip Hop 50 is showing love to all the pioneers, and thanks to DJ Cassidy for allowing us to perform.”
For the finale, all the artists joined Treach of Naughty By Nature for a legendary rendition of “Hip Hop Hooray” as the audience chanted along with every line as confetti fell from the sky.
As the monumental moment came to an end, the words of the Notorious B.I.G. rang truer than ever.
“Whoever thought that Hip Hop would take it this far?”