The tri-state area is in for a hip-hop extravaganza on Saturday, November 29, when the Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, Connecticut hosts the Hip Hop Reunion: Masters of Ceremony concert. Public Enemy, MC Lyte, Rakim, Big Daddy Kane, EPMD, Special Ed, Black Sheep, and Slick Rick are all confirmed performers, making this one of the most star-studded rap affairs in recent history. Tickets range from $65-$115 depending on where attendees choose to sit; however, rest assured – there is not a single bad seat in the house when one considers the sheer number of legends on this line-up.
Public Enemy are the iconoclasts behind some of the most incendiary, revolutionary lyrics in hip-hop history. Since 1982 Chuck D, Professor Griff, Flava Flav, DJ Lord, and the S1W have been actively encouraging youth of color to fight back against the oppressive regimes under which they are controlled. Their 1990 masterpiece Fear of a Black Planet is considered to be one of the most historically valuable pieces of rap music; in fact, it’s even housed in the Library of Congress. They have earned five Grammy nominations throughout their 11-album repertoire and recently performed at the Brooklyn Bowl, proving they remain valued despite not having released any new music recently.
MC Lyte will be holding it down for the ladies. As a solo rap artist, she is credited with being the first woman to release a studio album; 1988’s Lyte as a Rock displayed her skills as lyricist and battle rapper and she continues to be respected as one of the genre’s pioneering women. She has released seven albums and has worked with Missy Elliott, Sinead O’Connor, Queen Latifah, LL Cool J, Busta Rhymes, and earned two Grammy nods along the way.
Rakim, as you should probably already know, is one half of the greatest rap duo in history. Along with Eric B., Rakim has been behind such iconic tracks as “Paid in Full” and “Microphone Fiend.” As a solo artist, he has proven to be just as lyrically beastly, releasing the seminal classic The 18th Letter in 1997. He has since released a couple more solo albums and still maintains a position near the top (or at the top) of every rap fan’s list of greatest emcees in history.
Big Daddy Kane is a Grammy-award winning rapper and producer who originally began as a songwriter for fellow rap pioneer Biz Markie. After setting out on a solo career, he earned instantaneous acclaim with the release of his 1988 debut Long Live the Kane, which features the mega-successful single “Ain’t No Half-Steppin’.” His sophomore effort, It’s a Big Daddy Thing, was even more successful and cemented his perennial place in hip-hop history and holds impressive positions on countless lists of the greatest emcees in history alongside Rakim, with whom he performed in Long Island earlier this year.
EPMD, perhaps one of the best known acronyms in rap music, is the name of the duo behind “I’m Housin’,” “You Gots to Chill,” and countless other funk-inspired hip-hop classics. Erick (Sermon) and Parish (Smith) Making Dollars have released seven albums since their perfection of a debut, Strictly Business, was released in 1998. Since then, they have broken up a handful of times, but will be back together on August 29, performing material from their 28-year career in the game.
Special Ed is a Brooklynite emcee who first made waves in the late eighties when he released his debut at only 16 years old. Youngest in Charge dropped in 1989 and was named by the Source as one of the 100 Greatest Rap Albums Ever. He went on to become a member of the Crooklyn Dodgers, a collective associated with Spike Lee soundtracks in the nineties. He has since released three more albums and maintains a signifcant following (over 20,000 twitter followers) despite not having released any music in a decade.
Black Sheep are the Queens duo comprised of Dres and Mista Lawnge who have gifted to the world the masterpiece that is 1991’s A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing. Although best remembered for their most successful single to date, “The Choice is Yours (Revisited),” the album displays the two emcees’ satirical qualities on other classics like “Strobelite Honey,” “La Menage,” and “Flavor of the Month.” As members of the nineties hippy-rap collective Native Tongues, Black Sheep can still be seen performing often, despite not having released an album since 1994.
Slick Rick has had a busy year, performing a handful of concerts in New York City since the summer. Most of us know him because of “Children’s Story,” the 1988 single off his debut album that first exposed his skills as a masterful storyteller to an international audience. Despite being born in London, Slick Rick has catapaulted himself into the highest echelons of rap royalty and is considered to be one of the most valuable treasures of the very-much American culture of hip-hop. Although never having repeated the sucess of his early career, his frequent performances prove that he remains one of the most in-demand emcees today, 26 years after releasing The Great Adventures of Slick Rick.