The summer ain't over yet. Still lots good stuff happening in NYC. And sure, New York City in the summer can endure some extreme and unpredictable weather shifts that can unleash some unbearably hot and humid weather or thunderstorms that come out of nowhere, but that's all part of what makes it New York in the summer. Another defining factor is the jaw-dropping amount of amazing & free outdoor cultural events, especially all the music concerts in the parks. Of these there is no shortage of hip-hop free shows by legends of the genre such as the free SummerStage
show in Central Park
today (Aug 21) featuring Rakim, EPMD,
and DJ Funkmaster Flex
or the free Digger's Delight
park jam on Tuesday evening (Aug 23) in St Nicholas Park
up in Harlem with hip-hop icons Lord Finesse, GrandMaster Caz, Jazzy Jay
, and Red Alert
. Then on Wednesday evening of this week (August 24), there is a free concert by highly-influential and legendary hip-hop act the Cold Crush Brothers
who will be downtown Manhattan on the
bandshell in the East River Park.
Today's free SummerStage show
, which starts at 3pm and goes til about 7pm, should be a goodie since it features Rakim
, who many have called the greatest emcee in the history of the genre. It is also the 25th anniversary of Eric B & Rakim
’s iconic album, Paid in Full
which is considered to be among the top ten greatest hip-hop album of all time. EPMD's debut album, Strictly Business
, is another golden-era hip-hop classic that makes many best of lists, as does their follow up Unfinished Business.
Funkmaster Flex will DJ at the start of the day and throughout the afternoon for which it is likely special guests will stop by. Last summer, I caught Public Enemy
in the same spot. Earlier this summer, I saw Brazilian rapper Marcelo D2
same Central Park stage. Also this summer, I made it to two park jams at Queensbridge Park
(another legendary spot in hip-hop's formative years) to see concerts from both N.O.R.E.
and Kool Moe Dee
. Each was really good, especially Kool Moe Dee. Then two weeks ago, I trekked over to Tappen Park
on Staten Island to catch the Sugarhill Gang.
While disappointing overall due to the fact that they spent most of their set doing covers of other old school acts, it was worth it to hear them do "Rapper's Delight" and it was free! Like today's Rakim & EPMD show, these were all part of the public funded City Parks Foundation Summerstage Series
, which puts on a wide array of shows in the parks of each NYC borough every summer.