On Saturday, August 29th, most of New York City was celebrating the 51st birthday of the King of Pop. In another corner of the city though, a few hip hop pioneers from The Bronx were celebrating the life & death of a fallen DJ.
Just days before a street in Hollis, Queens was renamed in honor of another DJ taken before his time, The Fillmore NY @ Irving Plaza hosted a concert in honor of DJ Scott La Rock. He was one half of the original Boogie Down Productions crew (AKA, BDP) which included KRS-One, D-Nice, and others.
In a story that seems written for an early 80's hip hop movie, Scott La Rock (real name: Scott Sterling) was the social worker assigned to assist KRS (real name: Kris Parker) with his homelessness issues. Upon realizing that they were both halves of what could be a successful whole, they instantly hit it off and decided to pursue a recording contract. Just-Ice, another local rapper who once lived in the same shelter as Kris and already successful in getting a song played on the radio, was instrumental in getting BDP signed to Jive Records (after having previously signing a contract with B-Boy Records). On the way back from signing with Jive, KRS and Just-Ice learned that Scott had been shot and killed in a situation he was trying to diffuse. It was this event which has spearheaded KRS-One's album themes and various movements ever since (i.e. Stop The Violence, H.E.A.L., The Temple of Hip-Hop, etc.).
The bill for the concert was decidedly old school: KRS-One, Grand Daddy I.U., Double XX Posse, Kool Moe Dee (with help from LA Sunshine & Mighty Mike C from The Fearless Four), Lord Finesse, Red Alert and others. Scott La Rock's family was there on hand to witness the event and cut a cake on stage. The cake was made to look like the first BDP album, Criminal Minded.
Unfortunately, due to the various MJ affairs and unnecessarily high ticket prices, the venue wasn't packed. Regardless, the artists did what they came to do and they did it in spades. I've seen many a KRS-One concert and he definitely lost more weight sweating in this one than recent memory can recall. It was refreshing to see him perform songs from his first album that he hadn't done in almost 20 years. Kool Moe Dee and crew NEVER cease to entertain either so it felt good knowing they still got it. As host, Red Alert didn't have much crowd energy to pull from so he did what he could with what he had to work with. All I ask is that they do this again sometime in the near future and in front of a bigger crowd. It was classic hip hop show celebrating a classic album produced by a classic DJ that should be seen my more fans.
Let us get back to what we call hip hop,
And what it meant to DJ Scott La Rock