Back to The Roots with NYC's rap icons
February, 3, 2014
By Manoj Gopinath | Special to ESPN.com
Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images for Bud LightRun-DMC headlined a night of NYC hip-hop at the EA Sports Super Bowl party.Since the explosion of hip-hop in the early 1990s, rap music and sports have always gone hand in hand. Your favorite athlete wants to rap, and vice versa.
Super Bowl week is a prime example of how hip-hop culture and sports can create the perfect harmony. Throw in a popular video game franchise and the biggest beer company in the world and the perfect party is created.
“The Roots Present Hip Hop NYC,” sponsored by EA Sports and Bud Light, was a one-of-a-kind history lesson on New York’s hip-hop legacy with The Roots performing alongside a who's who of New York hip-hop artists including Run-DMC, Busta Rhymes, Naughty By Nature, De La Soul and DJ Jazzy Jeff. The concert followed the EA Sports Madden Bowl XX, which showcased NFL players and celebrities in head-to-head "Madden NFL 25" competitions.
The show started off with a bang. Black Thought busted through The Roots' catalog with classics like “The Next Movement” and “What They Do” as well as a plethora of 1990s hip-hop hits, including “C.R.E.A.M.” by Wu Tang Clan, "NY State of Mind" by Nas and "Shook Ones" by Mobb Deep.
Next, De La Soul ran through its vast catalog of hits. The crowd was warming up, and when De La Soul closed its mini-set with "Me, Myself and I," you could tell it was going to be a special night.
Naughty By Nature then took the stage, and Vinnie and Treach were representing the New York Giants hard-core. They took the crowd on a journey through their discography, performing everything from “Hip Hop Hooray” to “Feel Me Flow” and their most recognizable classic, "O.P.P."
NYC hip-hop will forever have one of the most charismatic personalities and lyrical spitters in Busta Rhymes, and he made his mark on the stage. Busta, flanked by longtime hype man Spliff Star, rolled through a bevy of hits, at one point yelling at the crowd to "put their hands where his eyes could see." The highlight was Busta and Spliff doing a sound check midset so he could make sure he ripped his verse from Chris Brown's hit "Look At Me Now." Busta definitely stole the show and promised the crowd one thing when he left: "You will see us again!"
As DJ Jazzy Jeff took over in between sets, people were getting amped for the headliner, Run-DMC. But before the legends took the stage, fans were treated to a couple of songs by Jim Jones of The Diplomats. He rocked the crowd with his biggest hit to date, "We Fly High," as spectators were bobbing their heads and drinking their beers.
To close out the show, Reverend Run and DMC took the stage with two DJs. In a tribute to the late Jam Master Jay, Run and DMC pumped up the crowd by going through their hip-hop classics, one after another. The highlights of their set were "My Adidas" and "Walk This Way." The Roots added a great element to Run-DMC's set, with live guitars emphasizing the classic Rick Rubin licks from the 1980s.
All in all, this show truly highlighted what New York City has contributed to the still growing hip-hop landscape. It was a great kickoff for Super Bowl week.
Diddy leads Revolt
Combine the Super Bowl, Diddy and Drake, as well as Diddy’s new music lifestyle network Revolt, and the outcome is a monster party with amazing performances. As the lights dimmed, Drizzy took to the stage at Time Warner Cable Studios, an intimate venue in Manhattan that houses Revolt’s NYC studio. Drake did not disappoint as he rolled through hits such as “Crew Love,” “The Motto,” “Worst Behavior" and “Just Hold On (We’re Going Home).” He even brought out his flagship artist, Party Next Door, from his new label venture with Warner Music Group, OVO Sound, to rock a few songs for the crowd. Drake was far from finished as he shouted out Diddy and invited him on stage to do his classic record “All About The Benjamins.” French Montana then followed with his hit “I Ain't Worried About Nothing” as Wale and Bun B provided dancing support.