As Black History Month comes to a close, the 2022 NAACP Image Awards cap off a month celebrating black contributions to society. After the ceremony on Saturday, February 26, the celebrating will continue in a big way with DJ Cassidy’s special Reggae edition of Pass The Mic following the 53rd NAACP Image Awards. The special, DJ Cassidy’s Pass The Mic: BET Afterparty 2022, brings together Reggae and dancehall icons, celebrating Reggae’s influence on hip-hop and global culture.
DJ Cassidy sat down with The Source to talk about the show, whose lineup includes artists such as Shaggy, Maxi Priest, Super Cat, Barrington Levy, Ini Kamoze, Sister Nancy, Junior Reid, Patra, and more.
The inspiration for the show came from his past experience DJing, the overwhelming success of Pass the Mic, and his passion for a wide variety of musical genres.
He describes how the overwhelming emotional response to the first Pass the Mic in July 2020 inspired him to continue and he immediately began envisioning future installments of the concept.
“Looking back, I see now that each vision was a derivative of my former record crates that I carried to each deejay gig around the world,” he explains. “Before technology changed the game, I loaded six to eight one hundred pound steel cases that each held about 100 pieces of vinyl into every New York City taxi and onto every airplane. I categorized each crate by some form genre or era of music. From the very beginning of my Pass The Mic journey, I dreamed about a Reggae edition, a manifestation of that coveted Reggae record crate. As a hip-hop kid growing up in New York City, incorporating Reggae into my deejay sets was second nature. Dancehall stars were also hip-hop stars.”
He explains how when he first began conceptualizing this edition, he “wanted to represent those iconic dancehall records that played a special role in that crate, in my repertoire, and in my life in general.”
He also emphasizes how he really wanted to represent the various diverse facets of Reggae music, unbound by era, year, or decade, stating that “each of the sixteen songs featured on this show not only holds a special place in my heart, but holds a special place in the history of Reggae music and its massive influence on hip-hop, R&B, and pop music. Some dominated the hip-hop airwaves of radio stations like Hot 97 in the 1990s, while others topped the Billboard Pop Charts in the 1980s. Some fused with R&B and achieved massive commercial success, while others remain the most sampled songs of all times. Simply put, each of these records changed the game.”
While the show will definitely have many of the Pass the Mic trademark staples, Cassidy is also quick to note that viewers are in for a special treat with some of the differences that this show promises.
“Sixteen iconic records are featured in this show, more records on one show than ever before,” he explains. “There were simply so many definitive songs I wanted to celebrate. This edition brings the rapid-fire pace of Pass the Mic to new heights.
Cassidy has also partnered with some major industry names to make the upcoming show a success. In addition to superstar television producer, Jesse Collins (who recently produced the iconic hip-hop Superbowl Halftime show) and legendary music impresario, Steve Rifkind (founder of Loud and SRC Records), Cassidy partnered with renowned Reggae renaissance woman Sharon Burke and her team of Judth Bodley and Debrina Smith. “As a producer, promoter, and manager, Sharon has been at the helm of countless iconic Reggae moments over a span of decades. I knew that with her by my side, we would create something truly special that would go down in music history”, says Cassidy.
As for the future, Cassidy has no plans to limit his Pass the Mic experience to the western hemisphere, especially since over the course of the first eight editions of Pass the Mic, one of his signature catchphrases has become, “passing the mic all over the world.”
“Through Pass The Mic, I’ve always sought to create global connections between artists and fans and build bridges between both genres and viewers. Never has that mission been more fulfilled than in this installment,” he says of the upcoming performance.
“Witnessing the massive global response that Pass The Mic: Volume One and Pass The Mic: Volume Two received, I was overwhelmed by the international influence of classic hip-hop and R&B,” he says. “I always sought for the series to connect people musically on an international level, and no edition represents that mission more effectively than this upcoming special. In the future, as Pass the Mic continues to grow both on television, the stage, and beyond, I hope to constantly expand on that mission. As Afrobeat and Reggaeton’s cultural influence continues to explode, I would love to pass the mic to the icons, past, present, and future, that shaped their global impact. During President Biden’s televised Inauguration, I passed the mic to Ozuna and Luis Fonsi in front of 40 million viewers with two records that dominated global music charts, “Taki Taki” and “Despacito.” The sky’s the limit. I’d also love to celebrate Brazilian music and pass the mic to one of my greatest musical heroes, Sergio Mendes.”
He concludes by saying that “at the end of the day, no matter the category, genre, or era of music, each installment of Pass The Mic celebrates the greatest artists and greatest songs of all time by connecting those artists to their fans in a more intimate way than ever before.”