Rakim, EPMD, Lord Finesse, Jazzy Jay, & Cold Crush Brothers Among Those Doing Free Concerts In NYC's Parks This Week

Posted by Billyjam, August 21, 2011 09:57am | Post a Comment
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 on the 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.

The Tools of War-produced Digger's Delight park jam on Tuesday is part of these wonderful DJ-themed park jams - all part of the summer-long True School park jam series that show love for hip-hop June, July, and August. Run by folks who truly understand and respect hip-hop culture, this commendable series travels from park to park each month with legendary hip-hop figure Grandmaster Caz of the Cold Crush Brothers fame acting as the host for each park jam. Last month's True School series was fittingly held in the Bronx's Crotona Park - an historic spot in hip-hop where the culture first took root with important figures like Caz.

This month's Tools of War True School Park Jam series is at Harlem's St Nicholas Park, where last week's turntable wreckers included GrandWizzard Theodore (creator of the scratch), Boogie Blind, Woo-D, and Miss Shing-A-Ling. Next week, Tuesday August 30th, the diggers will be DJ Large Professor, PopMaster Fabel, and Fly T. If you go to this Tuesday's park jam with DJ Lord Finesse, GrandMaster Caz, and Jazzy Jay plus DJ Red Alert, try and get there at 4pm to secure a comfortable spot and allow time to hang out. The events are always friendly and are all ages event.

More info here on Wednesday's East River Park show by the Cold Crush Brothers.  Note that there is a possibility that the Tools of War-produced NYC park jams may be extended into September. For updates and continued info on this, sign up for the newsletter or join the Tools of War Facebook group, or check the main TOW Facebook event page for more info.

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Christie Z (4), Tools Of War (23), True School (1), New York (57), Nyc (84), Travel (23), Rap (133), Hip Hop (93), Hip-hop (209), Rakim (12), Grandmaster Caz (6), Epmd (8)