Hip-hop’s New Yorkers came together through their screens on Thursday night (April 23) for a coronavirus relief benefit concert to help the heavily impacted state where the genre was born.
The Universal Hip Hop Museum (UHHM) curated the “Hip-Hop Loves NY” event, hosted by Video Music Box host and co-creator Ralph McDaniels, and featured a number of high-profile stars including Chuck D of Public Enemy, LL Cool J, Big Daddy Kane, Biz Markie, De La Soul, Kurtis Blow and more.
A common topic of conversation throughout the night was Fred the Godson, who tragically died at age 35 due to COVID-19 complications earlier in the day. Ice-T, who also mourned the rapper via Twitter, called Gordo “one of my good friends and brothers in hip-hop,” before going on to reveal that he “lost about six people” due to the virus. “It’s dead serious, man,” he noted, adding that he spoke to Scarface, who also tested positive for coronavirus, and he “had kidney failure, he’s on dialysis now. If you survive it, it will still destroy your body.”
While McDaniels was chatting with Nas, Fred the Godson was brought up once more. “We lost a soldier today,” Nas said. “Very sad news, very talented young man. And we realize this is touching home.”
The three-hour event focused primarily on how the coronavirus has impacted African American and the New York communities by raising money for SOMOS Community Care and The Bronx Community Relief Effort. However, there were also a number of uplifting moments to prove New York’s strength in tough times. From Chuck-D’s three-way chat with Nas and McDaniels, to throwback footage of Run-DMC performances and some live freestyling, there really was never a dull moment.
Doug E. Fresh even premiered a fun hand-washing tune. “Everybody wash your hands (20 seconds or more!) / My people downtown, wash your hands / People from the East coast, wash your hands / People from the West coast, wash your hands,” he rapped as stars like Ashanti, Jordin Sparks, Charlamagne tha God, Chuck D, Jamie Foxx and more are seen implementing the proper hand washing technique.
If you happened to miss the event, worry not. Watch the full show here.