Lehman Center for the Performing Arts in association with Sal Abbatiello of Fever Records celebrates the 38th Anniversary of the legendary Bronx nightclub Disco Fever with a night of OLD SCHOOL HIP HOP: Fever Re-Union Throw-Back Concert on Saturday, May 9th, 2015 at 7pm. In the early 1970’s the Hip Hop musical genre was born in the neighborhoods of the South Bronx. The Fever Re-Union concert will feature performances by KURTIS BLOW “The Breaks,” ROB BASE “It Takes Two,” SUGARHILL GANG “Rappers Delight,” BIZ MARKIE “Just A Friend,” GRANDMASTER MELLE MEL & SCORPIO of THE FURIOUS FIVE “The Message,” SOULSONIC FORCE “Planet Rock,” SWEET G “Games People Play,” MC SHAN “The Bridge,” FEARLESS FOUR “Rockin It,” T-SKI VALLEY “Catch the Beat,” SPYDER-D “Smerphies Dance,” SPOONIE GEE “Spooin’ Rap,” BUSY BEE STARKI “Running Things” and More Groups to be announced. Hosted by SAL ABBATIELLO and DR BOB LEE. Music by DJ MARLEY MARL, DJ HOLLYWOOD and DJ BRUCIE B. Produced by Lehman Center and Sal Abbatiello.
Lehman Center for the Performing Arts is on the campus of Lehman College/CUNY at 250 Bedford Park Boulevard West, Bronx, NY 10468. Tickets for OLD SCHOOL HIP HOP: Fever Re-Union Throw-Back Concert on Saturday, May 9th, 2015 at 7pm are $60, $55, $45 and can be purchased by calling the Lehman Center box office at 718-960-8833 (Monday through Friday, 10am–5pm, and beginning at 12 noon on the day of the concert), or through online access at www.LehmanCenter.org. Lehman Center is accessible by #4 or D train to Bedford Park Blvd. and is off the Saw Mill River Parkway and the Major Deegan Expressway. Low-cost on-site parking available for $5.
DISCO FEVER, the famous South Bronx Hip Hop dance club, started out in 1976 as a local bar operated by Allie Abbatiello, a local owner of several Bronx nightclubs. Abbatiello’s son Sal worked as the bartender and the bar’s night manager, George “Sweet G” Godfrey introduced Sal to a new local, yet unnamed music form where DJs rapped over records at a local park performance of Grandmaster Flash. In 1977, Sal started booking Tuesday nights at the bar, with the first show featuring Grandmaster Flash and the 3 MCs. It was an instant success and the club, now called Disco Fever was soon booking DJs and rappers exclusively. Named in 1983 the “Rap Capital of the Solar System” by People Magazine because of the many Rap and Hip Hop stars and producers like Russell Simmons, Run-D.M.C., DJ Junebug, Sugarhill Gang, DJ Hollywood and Kurtis Blow that started their careers there. Disco Fever flourished until 1985 when it was used as the location shoot for Krush Groove, a film based on the inception of Simmons’ Def Jam Records. During the process of obtaining the proper film permits, the city realized that the club was operating without the required cabaret license and shut it down.
GRANDMASTER MELLE MEL & SCORPIO of THE FURIOUS FIVE both started their rap careers with Grandmaster Flash. Originally rapping along with DJ Grandmaster Flash were the 3 MCs (Masters of Ceremonies) MELLE MEL, Kidd Creole and Cowboy. Cowboy is credited with originating the term “hip hop” which he used to describe the group’s technique of scat singing their rap in a hip hop cadence that mimicked the beat of soldiers marching. When SCORPIO and Rahiem were added, the group changed their name to the FURIOUS 5. With the release of their hits “Supperrappin’” (1979),”Freedom” and “Birthday Party” (both 1980) the group became the #1 Rap group in NYC. 1982’s hit “The Message” went Platinum in under a month and became the first Hip Hop record inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. Because of a dispute over the royalties for that song, Grandmaster Flash left the group and they renamed themselves Grandmaster Melle Mel and the Furious Five and released the hit anti-drug song “White Lines” (1983). The group had several more hits including “Step Off” (1984) and 1985’s “Pump Me Up” and “Vice” which was featured on the TV show Miami Vice. In 2007, they became the first Rap/Hip Hop group inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
KURTIS BLOW was born in 1959 as Kurt Walker and grew up in Harlem, NYC. He started out as a DJ using the handle Kool DJ Kurt, but by the time he was twenty he was rapping, becoming the first rapper to be signed by a major record label – Mercury Records, releasing “Christmas Rappin’” (1979). He followed up with “The Breaks” which quickly sold over half a million copies and other hits like “Party Time,” “Basketball” and “If I Ruled the World.” Kurtis released ten albums over the next eleven years before moving into producing, working with such acts like The Fat Boys, Run-D.M.C., Lovebug Starski, Full Force and Wyclef Jean.
BIZ MARKIE, the “Crown Prince of Hip Hop” was born Marcel Theo Hall in 1964, is originally from Harlem and grew up on Long Island. A beatbox DJ and rapper with humorous, witty rhymes, Markie’s 1988 debut album Goin’ Off featured the hit single “Nobody Beats The Biz.” The following year saw the release of the album The Biz Never Sleeps with the hit song “Just A Friend” that reached #9 on the Billboard chart.
ROB BASE is a Hip Hop rapper from Harlem in New York City that was born in 1967. His 1988 multi-platinum breakout single “It Takes Two” was recorded with DJ E-Z Rock and uses multiple samples from the James Brown/Lyn Collins song “Think (About It).” As a duo, their second hit song “Joy and Pain” also proved to be a smash the following year. Going solo in 1989, Base released “Turn It Out (Go Base)” which went Gold on the hit dance charts. In 2008, “It Takes Two” was ranked number 37 on VH1’s 100 Greatest Songs of Hip Hop.
SUGARHILL GANG inaugurated the history of recorded Hip Hop with the single “Rapper’s Delight,” a Multi-Platinum-seller and radio hit recorded in 1979 by NY rappers Master Gee, Wonder Mike and Big Bank Hank which sold more than eight million copies. In 1981 the group performed on the TV show Soul Train the hit title track of their second album 8th Wonder which also contained the hit single “Apache.” The trio made a comeback in 1999 with Jump on It, a rap album for children. In 2014 “Rapper’s Delight” was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame and the following year Rolling Stone Magazine listed it as the #2 Greatest Rap Song of All Time.
SOULSONIC FORCE was formed in 1982 in the Bronx by the popular DJ Afrika Bambaataa (Kevin Donovan) with DJ Jazzy Jay (John Byas) and rappers Mr. Biggs (Ellis Williams), Pow Wow (Robert Darrell Allen), The G.L.O.B.E. (John Miller) and Cosmic Force. Raised in the gang culture of the South Bronx, Bambaataa began hosting Hip Hop parties in 1977 as a way to draw angry kids out of the gangs. Credited as one of the originators of “Breakbeat DJ-ing”, he started experimenting with Rap music mixed with Euro-electronica. Borrowing an electronic keyboard hook from the German band Kraftwerk, Soulsonic Force’s first single “Planet Rock” went Gold. That song and 1983’s two follow up hits “Looking For the Perfect Beat” and “Renegades of Funk” inspired a whole new form of “electro-boogie” blend of Rap and dance music that influenced the development of Electro Funk and today’s Techno music.
DJ MARLEY MARL (Marlon Williams) was born in 1962 in Queens, NY. He grew up in the Queensbridge projects and started his career as DJ Mr. Magic’s sidekick on Rapp Attack, the first Hip Hop show on a major radio station, NYC’s WBLS-FM. As part of the Queensbridge Juice Crew, Marl became one of Hip Hop’s first superproducers and was an early innovator in techniques of sampling, resulting in a trademark raw sound that included some of Rap’s sharpest beats. A Hip Hop legend, he has produced and written with groups like Big Daddy Kane, LL Cool J, Biz Markie, Eric B & Rakim, Roxanne Shante and MC Shan. He has an extensive discography that includes “Around the Way Girl,” Eric B For President,” “Nobody Beats the Biz” and “The Symphony.” In 1992, he won the Grammy for LL Cool J’s Best Solo Rap Performance and in 2013 he received the Global Spin Award for Legendary DJ.
Lehman Center for the Performing Arts, Inc. is supported, in part, with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the New York City Council. The 2014-2015 season is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, and through corporations, foundations and private donations.
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