Event date: 5/12/23
Many people fell in love with the charm of DJ Cassidy’s viral sensation “Pass The Mic”, a virtual concert series popularly seen on BET, during the Covid-19 Pandemic lockdown. Cassidy is now taking this genius idea with the skills and knowledge he’s learned from past experiences like DJing Obama’s inauguration to bring “Pass The Mic” to the live stage with a series of one-night-only events taking place throughout the year (the first of which we got to attend). DJ Cassidy’s “Pass the Mic Live!” Tour, in partnership with the Black Promoters Collective, made its very first stop in Newark NJ at the Prudential Center with an insane lineup up full of Hip-Hop and R&B legends such as Lil Kim, Ma$E, 112, Robin Thicke, Fabulous, Ne-Yo, Ashanti, Ja Rule, and special appearances from guests like the Lox. Although clearly a lot to live up to with the success of its virtual counterpart, “Pass the Mic Live!” far exceeded our expectations and we are positive it will exceed yours as well.
Opening the show with clips from “Pass the Mic” and news broadcasts on his success, the crowd is introduced to Cassidy’s talent beyond a virtual entertainer and they are given the chance to understand why he’s able to gather such top-tier artists to share the stage. The live show follows a flow similar to that of virtual “Pass the Mic” with Cassidy constantly interjecting his personality onto the stage as he preps the crowd for each artist on the line-up, making the show feel well paced and pieced together. Throughout the night, Cassidy would continue to keep the crowd engaged by communicating with them while on stage with artists and playing hit records like “Weak” by SWV to keep entertaining during the breaks.
Each artist hit the stage for a total of about 4-5 songs, allowing for the experience to feel like a handful of mini-tours packed into these three hours of pure entertainment. Some of the best moments of the night came from the transitions between two artists, especially when they shared a song and performed it together. Transitions like Fabulous to Ne-Yo with you “Make Me Better” or Ma$e to 112 with “Only You (Bad Boy Remix)” were extremely smooth and made the night that much more like the “Pass the Mic” we are familiar with. Of course when seeing the special chemistry that duo Ja Rule and Ashanti have when performing “What’s Luv?” and “Always On Time”, there’s no way to not appreciate the vision that started in Cassidy’s living room. The stadium feels like a true celebration of Hip-Hop, R&B and the power of Music in general during these sections.
There were a variety of special and unique moments through the night as well, especially for R&B. From the crowd singing along to “Cupid” with Slim and Mike of 112, to Robin Thicke going into the crowd to perform “Blurred Lines”, to even a surprise performance from Force M.D’s with their hit “Tender Love”, the energy never died throughout the night. Robin Thicke’s acapella cover of Jodeci “Come and Talk to Me” highlighted his insane vocal ability, Ne-Yo’s dance moves to hit “Closer” showed why he’s still such a well-rounded entertainer, and the crowd’s reaction to Ashanti’s dance routine with her personal dancers made it feel like she was the headliner of the whole show. On paper someone might question how artists like Robin Thicke and Lil Kim could ever be on the same stage, but Cassidy proves he is the glue to make this far-fetched idea work.
Overall, after leaving the Prudential Center we felt lucky to catch one of the most entertaining shows of the year thus far. “Pass The Mic Live!” feels like a celebration of not only music, but of life post-pandemic and of life in general. Just as how “Pass the Mic ” carried us through dark times, “Pass The Mic Live!” lifts up our spirits some more. When the next “Pass The Mic Live!” comes to your city with its own unique roster, be sure to not pass up history in the making.