Forget what you think you heard from Nas, Oprah Winfrey, Al Sharpton or Master P. Real hip-hop is not going to die. It may fade away from the mainstream, but who cares? Real heads know that living, breathing culture — DJ’ing, graff writing, B-boying and MC’ing — has thrived both in and out of the limelight for decades, and it doesn’t need a backup dancer spot in a Christina Aguilera video to survive.
Summer park jams in New York are as old as the art form itself. This year, event promotion/publicity company Tools of War has teamed up with various sponsors and local politicians to throw a series of parties that not only bring the elements together, but feature many of the classic artists that helped birth hip-hop. Participants range from founding fathers Grandmaster Caz, Grandwizzard Theodore and Kool DJ Red Alert; to golden age heroes Lord Finesse and Steve Dee; and newer jocks such as Egg Foo Young. All of the events are free and family friendly.
“Our community gatherings celebrate the positive aspects of the culture,” writes park jams coordinator Christie Z-Pabon in a press release. She runs Tools of War with husband and B-boy legend Jorge “Popmaster Fabel” Pabon. “We feature many of the DJs who broke ground for Hip Hop in the 70s, at the legends-only Crotona Park Jams, and we make space for world champion battle DJs and top turntablists at the Turntablist Sessions. This year, we are so happy to throw jams in the historic Harlem parks with Diggers Delight featuring a few of our favorite record collectors and selectors and also Harlem Hop which aims to please the b-girls, b-boys, poppers, lockers and uprockers!”
The first series kicked off last week with the Turntable Sessions. The rest of the schedule can be found below.
Turntablist Sessions, Queensbridge Park, Queens, NY
6/07: w/Rob Swift, Grandmaster Caz, GrandWizzard Theodore
6/14: w/DJ Scratch, Rockin’ Rob, DJ Flawless, DJ Slyce, “Johnny Juice” Rosado
6/21: w/Roc Raida, Cut Master DC, DJ Supreme, Mysterio 9000, Egg Foo Young, DJ Fat Fingaz
6/28: w/Davy DMX, DJ Steve Dee, DJ Esquire, DJ Boogie Blind, DJ A Plus
Digger’s Delight, St. Nicholas Park, Harlem, NY
6/20: w/Miss Shing-A-Ling, Jazzy Jay, Lord Finesse, Rockin’ Rob
Crotona Park Jams, Crotona Park, Bronx, NY
hosted by Grandmaster Caz and Popmaster Fabel
7/05: w/DJ Mean Gene, GrandWizzard Theodore, Mix Master Ice, Tipski
7/12: w/Popmaster Fabel, Lord Finesse, Kool DJ Red Alert, Roc Raida
7/19: w/AJ Scratch, Grandmaster Caz, Rockin’ Rob, T-Ski Valley, Imperial Jaycee
7/26: w/Charlie Chase, Jazzy Jay, DJ Cash Money, Busy Bee
Harlem Hop, Jackie Robinson Park, Manhattan, NY
7/31: Charlie Chase, Rockin Rob, DJ Disco Wiz, King Uprock
Harlem Hop, Marcus Garvey Park, Manhattan, NY
7/07: w/Grandmaster Caz, Danny Dan the Beat Mann, Popmaster Fabel, King Uprock
7/14: w/GrandWizzard Theodore, DJ Steve Dee, Popmaster Fabel, King Uprock
7/21: w/Kool DJ Red Alert, Jazzy Jay, Popmaster Fabel, King Uprock