There's nothing funny about Dave Chappelle's latest project. In fact, it's downright ambitious.
On September 18, the comedian will celebrate the music and culture of New York by throwing the Dave Chappelle Block Party, an old-fashioned neighborhood jam that'll include musical performances from an all-star lineup of his favorite hip-hop and R&B artists. Kanye West, Lauryn Hill, Talib Kweli, the Roots, Mos Def, Erykah Badu, Common and Dead Prez and are slated to take part, with Chappelle serving as master of ceremonies for the event.
"I'm glad to be a part of it. Dave just called me and broke it down," said Mos Def. "A lot of my friends and heroes are going to be there. It's very inspiring."
The party will be shot by acclaimed director Michel Gondry for a potential DVD release. Chappelle is hoping to re-create the vibe of Wattstax, a 1972 concert and subsequent film set in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles that featured performances by funk, soul and gospel artists like Isaac Hayes and the Bar-Kays.
Sources say Chappelle conceived the project by himself and is funding it out of his own pocket. He has sworn everyone involved in the project to secrecy on its location and other details of the event. Fans who register online are being bussed to a secret location in Brooklyn from another secret location elsewhere in the city. The concert is expected to take place all day.
"If all the surprises come through, this cannot be missed," said Ahmir "?uestlove" Thompson of the Roots, who will serve as the event's musical director.