Friday night HOT 97 & WBLS-FM celebrated 50 years of hip hop with an epic lineup at NYC’s Madison Square Garden. The sold-out event ‘Hip Hop Forever’ featured Wu Tang Clan, Mary J. Blige, EPMD, Diddy, Sean Paul and Tyrese with special guests Mariah Carey and Maxwell. 

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Curated by Funk Flex, the energy crowd was on 100 all night. Sean Paul brought Jamaica to Brooklyn and EPMD skated through classics while fans rapped every word. Coi Leray surprised the garden and bridged the gap between younger and older hip hop heads. CL Smooth made me pull a tissue out for his sentimental tune T.R.O.Y as the stadium lit up for all the loved ones who have passed on. Next Wu Tang proved they are arguably the greatest rap group of all time. The ladies screamed when Meth hit the stage and Ghostface Killah even sported his signature gold eagle bracelet as the clan breezed through their platinum hits. They ended their set with ‘Triumph’ stamping their place in hip hop history. 

Diddy was the surprise of the evening as he walked out to a stunned crowd that he slowly won over. Following veteran MC’s Greg Nice who owned the audience with DWYCK and then Audio Two with his 1987 classic ‘Top Billin’– Diddy was an unexpected performer to follow. In true Diddy fashion he danced and rocked his way into the hearts of the fans’ who gave it up for the music he has created and produced over the years. All by himself on the huge stage, Diddy bared his all and inspired those who watched. A billionaire still working and grinding as he promoted his new album, ‘The Love Album: Off The Grid’ He ended his set with the most endearing speech claiming his love for his city. “I win because I’m from New York!”


Mary J Blige barely had to sing a note as every voice in the stadium belted out hit after hit. She surprised fans with appearances by Jadakiss and performed her classic ‘All I need’ with Method Man.

HIP HOP Forever is part of New York City’s ongoing celebration of Hip Hop’s 50th anniversary. HOT 97 & WBLS are the media exclusive partners of Fresh Fest. Produced in partnership with Live Nation, HIP-HOP Forever is part of Madison Square Garden’s Montefiore Einstein concert series.

The night was one you did not want to miss with HOT 97 & WBLS-FM seamlessly hosting the hip hop concert of the year.

Happy Birthday Hip Hop!

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Lifestyle Editor

Hip Hop Historian. I talk it 'cause I lived it.

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