Run DMC, Nas, Lauryn Hill & More Honor Hip-Hop's 50th Birthday In The Bronx
By Tony M. Centeno
August 14, 2023
Some of the most iconic acts in Hip-Hop flocked back to the genre's birthplace to put on a show rap fans will never forget.
Rap enthusiasts of all ages congregated at Yankee Stadium in anticipation for Mass Appeal and Live Nation's "Hip Hop 50 Live." The sold-out show allowed fans and artists alike to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Hip-Hop by watching the originators, legendary hitmakers and the new generation share one stage as they brought their contributions to the rap game to life. Each rapper that hit the stage, from the first-ever MC Coke La Rock to the newest artist to blow up Lola Brooke, paid homage to every decade of Hip-Hop's existence.
The concert was full of unforgettable moments that will live on in Hip-Hop history from Lupe Fiasco's dedication to our fallen soldiers like Nipsey Hussle and Fred The Godson to Slick Rick's rare performances of classics like "Children's Story" and "Mona Lisa." Iconic DJ's like Marley Marl, Hurrican, Aktive, Battlecat and more provided the vibes throughout the night while legends like Common and Ice Cube represented the Midwest and West Coast with their memorable sets.
Scroll below to check out all the other incredible moments that went down at "Hip Hop 50 Live."
DJ Kool Herc and his sister Cindy Campbell were honored several times
DJ Kool Herc, the man who's credited for creating the culture at a back-to-school party he hosted with his sister Cindy Campbell in The Bronx, was honored throughout the night. At the beginning of the show, Video Music Box's Ralph McDaniels brought out Kool Herc, Cindy and the mother of the culture to be recognized by Senator Chuck Schumer and Govornor Kathy Hochul. Later on, Kool Herc and the family returned to the stage to accept the RIAA's Cultural Impact Award. Towards the end of the show, Kool Herc had a special moment with Nas, who also honored him on stage.
"August 11, 1973, this man did something that changed the world and changed all of our lives," Nas said. "So I want to thank you Mr. Godfather. Make some noise for my brother."
Kurtis Blow, Cold Crush Brothers, Coke La Rock, Sugarhill Gang & more originators performed their classics
The "Pillars of Hip-Hop" did not disappoint. Kurtis Blow kicked off the set with "If I Ruled The World" and "The Breaks" before Roxanne Shante came through with her hit "Roxanne's Revenge." Grandmaster Caz was next up. He brought the Cold Crush Brothers, Kool Moe Dee and Sha-Rock, the first female MC, with him. They performed their hits and also mixed it up by freestyling over JAY-Z and Kanye West's "Otis." Grandmaster Melle Mel and the original Sugarhill Gang delivered a fresh rendition of "The Message" and "Rapper's Delight" as if they just dropped them. They couldn't leave the stage without shouting out the OG Sylvia Robinson.
DJ Drama brought Philly together with this rare mash-up
DJ Drama previously sparked plenty of debate over the official anthem of Philadelphia. During his brief set, Drama made sure to recognize both "Dreams and Nightmares" by Meek Mill and Lil Uzi Vert's "Just Wanna Rock" when he played a rare mash-up of both records. Drama put Meek's unforgettable lyrics over the top-notch instrumentals from Uzi's hit song.
The ladies of Hip-Hop represented their cities from New York to Miami
The Queens of Hip-Hop truly made an impact at Hip Hop 50 Live. Remy Ma kicked things off by performing her beloved verses from "Whateva" and M.O.P's "Ante Up." Afterward, Miami's own Trina hit the stage to represent Florida with her hits like "Pull Over" and "Nann." New York got a special surprise when the newest woman on the block Lola Brooke showed up to perform her hit "Don't Play With It." It wouldn't be a Queens set without one of the original Queens of New York City Lil' Kim. The Queen Bee busted out all of her greatest verses from "Get Money" to "Quiet Storm," but there was one moment in her set that will never be forgotten.
Lil' Kim & Lil' Cease performed "Crush On U" before they brought out King Combs
Towards the end of her set, Lil' Kim brought out Lil' Cease to perform their classic "Crush On U." After they ran through the entire record, both artists shocked the crowd by calling on King Combs to perform his Kodak Black-assisted joint "Can't Stop Won't Stop" alongside the Junior M.A.F.I.A. rappers. Kim had previously co-signed the banger, which samples her 1997 track, so watching all three of them perform the song was an amazing moment to witness.
Mannie Fresh & T.I. held it down for the South
Mannie Fresh opened "Hip Hop 50 Live" with the sounds of Cash Money Records and more legends. The New Orleans DJ had to stick around to catch Atlanta's own T.I. as he hit the stage. Tip performed all of his classics from "Rubberband Man" to "Top Back." While the Grand Hustle boss was performing, Mannie was jamming out along with the crowd.
Ghostface Killah surprised crowd with Method Man, Inspectah Deck & Cappadonna for special Wu-Tang set
Ghostface Killah was billed for a solo performance, but he couldn't celebrate Hip Hop's 50th without his Wu-Tang brethren. During his set, Tony Starks brought out Method Man, Inspectah Deck and Cappadonna to belt out a few classics from the Wu-Tang Clan's catalog. At one point, they even honored Raekwon by performing "Ice Cream" and, of course, "C.R.E.A.M."
Kid Capri brought out Deter Jeter to Yankee Stadium
Kid Capri kicked off the Bronx Bombers portion of the show with a sick mix of some of Hip-Hop's classics. Midway through his mix, Kid Capri switched things up by inviting a very special guest o the stage, Derek Jeter. Yankee fans roared the second they saw the Hall of Famer arrived at the DJ booth with Capri. Jeter spoke about the impact Hip-Hop left on the world and thanked Capri for bringing him to the show.
A Boogie Wit da Hoodie honored with proclamation from The Bronx
A Boogie Wit da Hoodie may have been one of the youngest artists from the Bronx to hit the stage at "Hip Hop 50 Live" (besides ScarLip), but he was treated like a seasoned vet. The crowd erupted in cheers when the Highbridge rapper hit the stage. Midway through his set, the New York City Council honored Artist Dubose with a proclamation from The Bronx that highlighted his achievements in the rap game. He and Kool Herc were the only artists who were recognized with awards during the show. Congratulations A Boogie!
Fat Joe honored numerous New York legends during his massive set
Fat Joe had the most New York set of the entire lineup. Before Joe hit the stage, revered bboy Crazy Legs busted out some of his classic moves. Afterward, Joe came through with Terror Squad's Tony Sunshine to perform memorable hits like "New York," "Twinz," Lean Back" with Remy Ma, "What's Love" with Ashanti and even honored the late Big Pun by playing "Not a Player." Towards the end of his set, Joe brought out Peter Gunz to perform "De Ja Vu (Uptown Baby)" and KRS-One to perform "South Bronx." Speaking of the Gunz family...
Lil Wayne shocked crowd by bringing out Cory Gunz
Lil Wayne shut down the stage with a slew of his classics from "Going In" to one of more recent hits "Uproar." Midway through his set, Wayne busted out his classic "6 Foot 7 Foot" and called on Cory Gunz to come through for a rare performance of his verse. Wayne and Gunz were on point throughout the entire set. Towards the end, Wayne referred to him as "Peter Gunz's son" but instantly saluted Cory for his contributions to the record. Speaking of Peter Gunz.
Snoop Dogg brought out plenty of new and old friends during his performance with Wiz Khalifa
Snoop Dogg brought his "High School Reunion Tour" with Wiz Khalifa to New York City with a twist that fit perfectly for Hip Hop 50. After belting out his own classics, Snoop paid homage to the OG's and the new school by bringing out a slew of special guests. The Doggfather started off with EPMD followed by his Mount Westmore homie Too Short to perform "Blow The Whistle," and Flo Milli, who delivered her version of Too Short's classic. Later on, Snoop tapped ScarLip to perform her hit "Welcome To New York." Snoop ended his set by making history with his OG's.
Doug E. Fresh, Slick Rick & Snoop Dogg perform "La Di Da Di" together for the first time
Doug E. Fresh was also in the building to perform for the peopleat the beginning of the show along with other legends like Coke La Rock. Doug decided to switch things up and performed some newer rap records. Doug even did "The Dougie" and he killed it. But, during Snoop's set, Doug returned to the stage with his former Get Fresh Crew member Slick Rick for a truly rare moment in Hip-Hop history. Snoop Dogg performed his cover of Get Fresh Crew's "La Di Da Di" together for the first time ever. At the end of their set Doug E. Fresh kept the beat going with his infamous beatboxing skills for well over a minute and some change.
Nas brings out Kool G Rap & Ms. Lauryn Hill
Nas had to come through with his classics for "Hip Hop 50 Live." The Mass Appeal co-founder hit the stage to the tune of "N.Y. State of Mind" followed by "Represent," "The Message" and "Hate Me Now." Later on, he brought out Kool G Rap to perform their 1995 banger "Fast Life." That wasn't the only surprise he had. Nas couldn't celebrate Hip-Hop's 50th without Ms. Lauryn Hill. The Fugees crooner hit the stage to perform their hits "Nobody" off King's Disease II and "If I Ruled The World." She also stuck around to deliver her own classics like "Doo Wop (That Thing)," "Killing Me Softly With His Song," "Ready or Not," and "Fu-Gee-La."
Run-DMC close out with their "final" performance
"Hip Hop 50 Live" was billed as Run-DMC's final live performance on stage, and they definitely came correct with an incredible show. Darryl McDaniels and Rev. Run came out on stage to deliver the historic rap trio's groundbreaking hits from "Sucker MC's" and "It's Like That" to "My Adidas" and their cover of "WAlk This Way." They truly made the late Jam Master Jay proud and ensured that all of their fans got to see them perform their extensive catalog of hits one last time.