The end of an era

I Am Hip Hop t-shirt

The last of the I Am Hip Hop t-shirts was moved at the NYC Marathon last Sunday.  No new shipments are coming in, so if you were able to get your hands on one over the past few years, relish owning a piece of history… or sell it on Ebay.  Don’t forget that the new Fam t-shirts currently being offered also guarantee you a free copy of the Family Business album before its release.  Just had to throw that out there.  I’m waiting for video from the Marathon show to surface, but until then here are some reflections:

Show date: November 2, 2008
@ 115th Street and 5th Avenue
New York, NY

-The show (which took place two days before the election) was an official Obama campaign event and he was even purported to make a surprise appearance at one point, but the logistics would have made that impossible.  The space was too open, and as Timid pointed out, if he stepped on stage during the show the marathon itself would have been sabotaged because all the runners would stop.  Still, the support was strong and I got to wear my “That One ’08” button that was given to me as a gift for helping the campaign in Virginia.  I brought my Shepard Fairey “Hope” poster that I also received for my efforts, but due to time constraints didn’t get to showcase it during the set.

-My laminated “2008 ING NYC Marathon” pass allowed me to bypass police barriers and park on a street that was blocked off to the public.  Being a performer has its perks.

-Since the show was outside along the marathon route, there was a bus parked on 115th Street that acted as a “backstage” area for the artists.  Aside from serving bagels, its primary functions were providing temporary relief from the cold and housing all the clashing egos.  Seriously, the bus was a good look.  We shot some footage on the bus with Greg Williams (of Switch/DeBarge fame) — who loves pointing out his writer credit on Rich Boy’s “Throw Some D’s” — for Willie Spade’s video blog.  Spade told the story of how he and I first crossed paths in the 1990s before either of us was involved with Hip Hop.  I’m looking forward to seeing it.

-I’m going to go ahead and say it:  Willie Spade was the MVP of the 2008 Marathon show.  He had songs done with seemingly every artist that performed which ensured stage time on all their sets.  Traveling from Alabama for the show, he made the most of his (and everyone else’s) time.

-While Team Blackout may have a long way to go before reaching Run DMC status, it was an honor to share the stage with the son of one of Hip Hop’s founding fathers, and the nephew of another.  Despite early tension resulting from a misinterpreted remark about JoJo’s Sidekick, everything settled down and he and I later bopped our heads and rapped along to a BIG song together.  Due to his age, I was surprised he knew the words to “Warning” so well.  Oh, and they’re filming the new season of Run’s House as we speak.

-Persia of VH1 infamy showed up in a tutu and followed her one song with the monosyllabic proclamation:  “Cold!”  Well, yeah.  Other upcoming and newly signed major label artists also took the stage.

-We got to do the first live rendition of “Mr. Carter” while Timid donned a t-shirt that said “Mr. Jaylon Carter” on it.  During the set, I threw some of the extra shirts into the crowd along with hats, CDs, and whatever else was in the bag.  There are now people walking around New York City with Timid’s given name on their clothes.  We also handed out CD copies of the “Dreams Come True” single after the performance.

That marked the third year in a row that I was part of the ONLY live music show at the biggest marathon in the world.  Shout outs to Scott @ SBS, Akademy, Bonz, Living Legends, and everyone else who made history with us.


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