Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Wednesday Evening on the Lower East Side: SummerStage presents Lyricist Lounge 20th Anniversary Show with DJ Premier vs. Pete Rock at East River Park

(Photo courtesy of James Early)
We were at the East River Park amphitheater tonight for SummerStage's continuing celebration of SummerStage's 20th anniversary celebration of the acclaimed hip-hop brand, Lyricist Lounge. Tonight's show, better attended than any of the many events we've seen here, featured an old-school face-off, Pete Rock vs. DJ Premier. The very large crowd loved it, as it brought back many memories yet seemed fresh.
As we were reminded from the stage at the beginning of tonight's show, thirty years ago, this amphitheater served as the setting for climactic and thrilling last scene of the seminal hip-hop film, Wild Style, which we saw at the Brooklyn Public Library as part of the Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival on July 10.
As William Faulkner would say, hip-hop has not only endured, it has prevailed.
The SummerStage promo stuff said:
A respected part of hip-hop music and culture, Lyricist Lounge has hosted hundreds of live showcases featuring the best up and coming talent while acting as a career platform for many of today’s superstars. Lyricist Lounge hosts a night featuring two legendary DJs battling it out for turntable supremacy.
Pete Rock, also known as Soul Brother #1 and The Chocolate Boy Wunda, is a producer, DJ and rapper and is one half of the critically acclaimed group, Pete Rock & CL Smooth. He has arguably pioneered the fusing of jazz, funk and soul into hip-hop as well as laid down the blueprint for beautiful soulful productions in hip-hop. ranked him #3 on their “Top 50 Hip-Hop Producers” list. Pete Rock’s production has appeared on many of hip-hop’s most important records: Heavy D’s Peaceful Journey, Nas’ Illmatic, and Kanye West/Jay-Z’s Watch The Throne to name a few.
Christopher Edward Martin, better known by his stage name DJ Premier (also known as Preem, Premo, or Primo for short) is a producer and DJ and is the instrumental half of hip-hop duo Gang Starr, together with emcee Guru. DJ Premier recognized as one of hip-hop’s most important track masters his style is aggressive and raw. ranked him #1 on their “Top 50 Hip-Hop Producers” list and Rolling Stone identified DJ Premier as arguably “hip-hop’s greatest producer of all time.” DJ Premier’s production has appeared on many of hip-hop’s most important records: Nas’ Illmatic, the Notorious B.I.G’s Ready to Die, Jay-Z’s Reasonable Doubt and numerous others.
Here's a video of the opening, courtesy of luvjonezmusic, who has four more from the show:
The show came to an abrupt halt when the power went out. We waited a while, then along with a bunch of people, went over the Grand Avenue overpass over the FDR Drive, grateful we got to hear and see as much as we did tonight.

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