Honoring Hip Hop Legends at the 2020 Elements of Hip Hop Awards

It was a full house at Beatstro last night as Windows of Hip Hop in conjunction with the Borough President’s Office honored hip hop legends and pioneers Londell McMillian, Sal Abbatiello, Ralph McDaniels, and Slick Rick. It was amazing to see all these legends in one room and hear them tell their stories. DJ Red Alert and 2019 Elements of Hip Hop honoree, Fat Joe, stopped by to pay homage to Ralph McDaniels. It truly is amazing how this genre that was started right here in the Bronx had gone global and has evolved in so many different ways. When Sal Abbatiello did a call and response to a few different hip hop faves, the crowd did not hesitate in chiming in (myself included!)

Martell Cognac sponsored an open bar and kept the specialty cocktails flowing all night. To be totally transparent, I never ever drink cognac and the Martell Punch, I think is easily one of my new favorite drinks. Going to have to find out the recipe! And! the food!  The wings, rice balls, and shrimp were all sooo good. Everything was so flavorful, I think my favorite was definitely the rice balls. Oh god, I will have to make a separate trip to Beatstro so I can do a whole post dedicated to the food.

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Bulova x Windows of Hip Hop Host Hip Hop Celebration This Saturday 9/21 at Mall at Bay Plaza – FREE

Bulova and Windows of Hip Hop (WoHH), a Bronx Non-Profit Organization dedicated to preserving the history and education of hip hop, celebrate ‘Back to School’ season, partnering with New York based artist, Nicholai Khan, to design an exclusive storefront window of the world famous Macy’s Herald Square.

The custom window celebrates a new academic year as Bulova and WoHH continue together in their mission to preserve the history of hip hop and keep the love for music alive amongst the youngest of generations.

Together Bulova and WoHH are working to promote the educational, communal, and historical perspective of Hip Hop, specifically in the Bronx at CS 55 Elementary School. Earlier this year, the first part of their partnership took place with the launch of a hip hop music program. The next phase will be the construction of the first-ever recording studio within a New York school, for children to explore and express their musical creativity.

This Saturday, join WOHH and hip hop legend Grandmaster Caz for an interactive workshop, open mic, and other family activities at the Macy’s at Mall at Bay Plaza at 2 p.m.

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Hip Hop Legends & Street Artists Come Together for Boogie Down at the Bronx Zoo

This weekend kicks off Boogie Down at the Bronx Zoo -” A Celebration of the WILDLIFE that is Bronx Culture and History” featuring a full line up of Music, Art, Dance, Food, and MORE.” 

Read below for more info:

The Bronx Zoo is celebrating wildlife and the diverse culture of the Boogiedown Borough like never before at a series of springtime events fittingly titled “Boogie Down at the Bronx Zoo.”

For more than 120 years, the Bronx has been the birthplace of culture that has changed history and created movements. From humble beginnings, the Bronx is the home of global legends and leaders that have had a profound influence on the world through hip hop, breakdancing, doo wop, street art, salsa, AND wildlife conservation. The Bronx has it all!

 Boogie Down at the Bronx Zoo presents a variety of many cultural contributions that have resonated from the Bronx. Starting on Saturday and Sunday, April 21 and 22, and continuing weekends from May 5 through June 3, artists and performers from a diverse representation of Bronx cultures will be on-site to celebrate the Bronx Zoo, Bronx culture, and wildlife.

Many iconic forms of music have originated in the Bronx. Working with Bronx-based organization Windows of Hip Hop, the zoo will host musical performances by hip-hop pioneers, world-class DJs, and teach guests how to “scratch,” create an 8-meter rhyme, and more.

Special appearances by Grandmaster Melle Mel and Scorpio ‘Furious Five’ and The Sugarhill Gang will be the backbone of the of the musical line-up. Hip hop legendGrandmaster Caz will be on site at “Caz’s Corner” each weekend teaching everyone how to create rhymes and emcee like only he can.

The street corners of Arthur Avenue in the 50s, helped solidify doo wop’s place in New York City.  Boogie Down at the Bronx Zoo will take a step back in time to feature performances from artists that will keep everyone dancing. Guests can also enjoy some of the cuisine from the real Little Italy. (June 2-3.)

Music and dance performances derived Puerto Rican, Cuban, and Afro-Caribbean rhythm and dance that emerged and thrived in the Bronx will take center stage on themed weekends that will include music, dance, and traditional cuisine samplings. (May 26-28.)

Not only is the Bronx Zoo home to historic sculptures and architecture like Rainey Gate, Rockefeller Fountain, and the landmarked beaux art buildings on Astor Court, but Boogie Down events will feature Bronx artists creating new masterpieces live for the crowd.

Graffiti started as a scourge that transformed into a modern art form that can be seen and appreciated in murals around the Bronx, New York City, and around the world. Renowned street artists will create wildlife works on the zoo’s historic Astor Court.

Even the Bronx Zoo’s resident wildlife will get into the spirit of the Boogiedown as they contribute their own artwork to the festivities to create original paintings like no other.

Painting is a form of enrichment that some of the animals at the zoo engage in, and provides a great opportunity for them to interact with their keepers. These animal paintings will be the basis for some of the artwork finished by famous street artists like Crash, Tats Cru, Andre Trenier, and others.  The finished paintings will be one-of-a-kind works.

Participating performers:

  • Grandmaster Melle Mel, Scorpio ‘Furious 5’
  • The Sugarhill Gang
  • Grandmaster Caz
  • Rokafella (breakdancer)
  • BombaYo (Bomba music)
  • Rock Steady (doo-wop music)
  • Luis Damon salsa band
  • Mighty Bengal Step Team (student step team from the Bronx’s PS 55)
  • Dynamic Rockers Crew
  • Hip Hop Dance Conservatory

 

Street Artists:

  • Tats Cru (Bio, Nicer, BG 183)
  • Crash (John Matos)
  • Andre Trenier
  • Giz
  • Menace 2
  • Resa Piece
  • Shiro
  • Ian Sullivan
  • Matt Buck
  • Son of a Finch
  • Kay Love
  • Lovie Pignata

 

        DJs:

  • DJ Sammy
  • DJ Jazzy Jay
  • DJ C Styles
  • DJ Lady Love
  • DJ Jazzy Joyce

Take a look at a sample of the cool art project that combined art created by actual otter at the zoo that artist BG183 transformed:

I can’t wait for you to hear Melle Mel and Grandmaster Caz perform “Animals and MCs” , it’s legit. (New summer anthem?)

 

Grandmaster Caz
Melle Mel

Curtis Fisher
Melvin Glover

For tickets and a full schedule of performances, activities and themed weekends, visit www.BronxZoo.com/boogie-down.

Last, but not least, a huge shout out to Windows of Hip Hop for their work on this project.

It’s going to be amazing, get your tickets now.

 

Did You Catch Our Bronx Hip Hop Legends in Macklemore’s New Music Video?

After a brief hiatus, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis are back with their latest single “Downtown.” The best part about this news is that it features Bronx hip hop legends Grandmaster Melle Mel and Grandmaster Caz.

Read more about the collaboration from Windows of Hip Hop below:

Grandmaster Melle Mel and Grandmaster Caz have been active board members of Windows of Hip Hop since it’s inception in 2012. Windows of Hip Hop (WoHH) is a non profit, Bronx based economic development project promoting the educational, communal, and historical perspective of Hip Hop. The ultimate goal is to create a state of the art, fully interactive, educational institution dedicated to Hip Hop in the Bronx. Melle Mel is excited to see the progress of the organization’s mission.  “The people of the Bronx thought that Windows of Hip Hop and us [the pioneers] opening up an academic center in the Bronx was important. It’s befitting that the people of the Bronx benefit from it the most and spearhead it- that’s why I’m 100% behind it and it’s what we are going to do.”
The organizations founder, Melissa Libran, is ecstatic that Macklemore has acknowledged the history of hip hopand chosen to bridge the gap between the pioneers of the genre and mainstream music. “These past three years have been an amazing experience building the Windows of Hip Hop (WoHH) brand and programs alongside the great architects of Hip Hop and the WOHH team.  We are very excited about the project and we will be revealing soon our newest initiative with Grand Master Melle Mel and Grand Master Caz along side other great hip hoplegends. Congrats to Macklemore and the pioneers featured on this track.”

Check out the video below!

Windows of Hip Hop: Youth & Community

Now that I’ve had a couple of days to settle back in after my vacation, I can finally tell you about this awesome event I went to a few weeks back (yes, yes, I’ve been slacking).  The youth and community forum was hosted by Windows of Hip Hop , an organization dedicated to promoting and preserving the core principles of hip hop culture and expanding the public’s perception of hip hop’s reach into areas such as history, economics, and community.  This second forum focused on hip hop and its relationship to youth and community. Featuring special guest Melle Mel Walter Hidalgo, Chief 69 (who you might remember was featured in The Spotlight a couple of months ago), Kayo Chingonyi, and NeNe Ali performed and spoke to the powerful unifying impact hip hop can have.

Walter Hidalgo led a rhyme line – an activity where everyone gets in a circle a claps to keep the rhythm going no matter what – and had everyone introducing themselves and rhyming together. He spoke of hip hop’s ability to help formulate one’s identity and as  a vehicle of communication, acting as a mirror to society.  A really cool perspective that Walter brought to the forum was his background in researching the connection between hip hop and spirituality.

Chief 69 performed some b-boy dance moves  and displayed his biting lyrical skills for the crowd. In order to really get the full experience, you have to see Chief in action.  Everything from his style to his artistic work is reminiscent of those golden days of hip hop – when nothing was frivolous or superfluous, it was fun, but it had meaning, too.

Poet and playwright Kayo Charles blew us all away with his powerful poetry. When he speaks, you cannot pay attention to anything else.  His delivery is really that captivating . I can’t even add much else to this description, because in this case, you’ll have to see the video to get a feel for what I’m talking about. Hop on over to my Youtube channel in the next few days to check out his performance as well as the other performers.

Last, but definitely not least, was the poignant NeNe Ali. A spoken word artists that demonstrates ” rap with a conscience,” NeNe is the feminist voice, recent hip hop has been lacking. In a way, she reminds me of Queen Latifah circa “U.N.I.T.Y.”

Remember, this was only the SECOND Windows of Hip Hop forum, stay tuned for updates on the next one.

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