NEW YORK — A hot summer Saturday in Harlem? Perfect time to hit the BBQ! Harlem-based marketing firm the 135th St. Agency held their annual cookout over the weekend, inviting not just people from the neighborhood, but also lots of street MCs and DJs.
DJ Cassidy spun current favorites and took some time on the turntables to give everyone a sneak peek of music from the upcoming Michael Jackson: The Remix Suite album slated for release in October (with digital releases coming in installments beforehand). Besides Cassidy's very own production on the album, Polow Da Don, the Neptunes, Q-Tip, Tricky Stewart, Salaam Remi and Blnk-182's Mark Hoppus are among those who lent their skills to the project.
"It was an honor to work on a Michael Jackson song," he said of his remake of the Jackson 5's "The Love You Save." "This was my one chance and I hope I did the song justice. I hope I made him proud!"
Cassidy paid homage to MJ on Saturday by wearing his custom-made, pink leather Rockport boat shoes inspired by the "Billie Jean" music video. DJ Cassidy's good friend Fonzworth Bentley came straight from Baltimore to host the bash at Mt. Morris Park. Fonz made sure his McClendon haircut looked good and worked the mic alongside DJ S&S.
"I'm excited people came out today," Bentley said. "I remember a couple of years ago this event was in between two brownstone buildings, and now it's even bigger. It's in the park but still has an intimate setting where everyone can talk. I'm very fortunate to host this event with a lot of cool sponsors. This is Harlem, New York City!"
New York natives Ron Browz, Red Café and Papoose were in attendance to take in the food, music and dancing. Ron Browz debuted his new track, "I Like," featuring Bobby Valentino, and told MTV News that he's getting ready to do shows overseas in Europe and Japan. Other upcoming projects of his may include a reality-TV show and a movie in which he'll play himself.
Red Café is currently working on Diddy's album as well as his own, which is slated for release in February. He hinted about a Hottest in the 'Hood Tour coming soon but declined to say who might be joining him.
Battle MC Serius Jones arrived late but was hot on demand for interviews. "I'm here because New York is my home away from home. My mission is less about the industry and more about connecting with the people," he said. The event was an opportunity for independent, as well as up-and-coming artists to network, be introduced to other media outlets and talk to current artists already in the industry.