This weekend has several landmark concerts here in New York City. First, there is the 25th anniversary of the movie ‘Wild Style’ popping off at Central Park’s Summer Stage on Sunday, and foremost, there is the Rock The Bells concert at Randall’s Island on both Saturday and Sunday. Both events will represent the greatest aspects of the Hip-Hop artistic movement. I wish that I could be at both events simultaneously to soak up the raw energy and love that that devoted Hip-Hop fans bring to the artform.
I had the chance to meet the director of ‘Wild Style’ CHARLIE AHEARN at a film screening earlier this summer. Dude was so down to Earth and amazed at the response that his movie still generates after a quarter of a century. He knew Hip-Hop was real from the first moment he experienced it. Long before General Electric and Viacom embedded their vulturous corporate claws into the movement. He recognized the unique self expression and valiance of the performers. ‘Wild Style’ is a fitting homage to that spirit. Not only will the film be screened at the SummerStage, but there will be an all star performance by some of the giants that gave birth to the movement. GrandMaster Caz, Chief Rocker Busy Bee and the Grand Wizard Theodore will be live and direct, just to name a few. I’m sure there will guest appearances and surprises all afternoon. The best part of this event is that it’s FREE. There is nothing more Hip-Hop than a free park jam.
The Rock The Bells concert is far from free, but it will feature the most important groups in the history of rap music. The Wu Tang Clan, The Roots crew, Public Enemy and a reunited Rage Against The Machine along with Blackstar and the God emcee, Rakim Allah are just some of the names on the lineup. I’m not sure how many members of the Wu will actually appear but as long as the RZA is in the building I know the spirit of Osiris will be there as well. For me, O.D.B. is the epitome of Hip-Hop’s true essence. His art and his energy all arise from his soul. O.D.B. was as incorruptible as he was uncontrollable. He was complex and conflicted. I regard him as a modern day hero because he had the courage to speak his mind at all times. At some point this weekend, whether you go to any of the concerts here in New York City or wherever you are doing your thing please take a minute to make the Wu salute with your hands and give praise to the almighty for blessing us with the spirit of Ol’ Dirty Bastard.