Tag Archives: Nas

George Clinton to perform as part of free summer festival at Queensbridge Park


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of City Parks Foundation

SummerStage, the city’s largest performing arts festival, is marking its 30th anniversary with six-day mini festivals at eight local parks, including one on the Long Island City waterfront.

Queensbridge Park, located along Vernon Boulevard adjacent to the Queensboro Bridge, will host the event from July 14 to 19, featuring the “godfather of funk” George Clinton, local musicians, dance, theater and more.

“As an organization we are dedicated to working in traditionally underserved neighborhoods across the city,” said Heather Lubov, executive director of City Parks Foundation, which produces SummerStage. “By presenting artists and genres that reflect the cultures and communities in these parks, introducing disciplines such as dance or theater alongside musical performances, and providing all of this fantastic art free of charge, we are building new audiences and fostering a broader interest in the arts here in New York City.”

The musical group Chi-Lites will be kicking off the Queensbridge Park festival at 7 p.m. on July 14. The group originated from the ’70s Chicago R&B scene, and in 2000 were inducted into the Rhythm & Blues Hall of Fame.

The following night, at 7 p.m., George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic, which was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997, will perform.

Large Professor

Large Professor

 

Local flavor will come to the park on July 16 with Large Professor (LP) a hip-hop songwriter, producer and DJ who comes from Flushing. Also performing that night is Marley Marl, a producer and DJ hailing from Queensbridge who has made a mark on the hip-hop world.

On July 17 and 18, the festival will shift gears to theater on Friday night and dance the following evening, featuring several collaborative and creative performers.

The final day of the festival will start with family-friendly programming from 4 to 7 p.m., including award-winning and critically-acclaimed jazz trombonist Wycliffe Gordon, B-Love’s Hip Hop Jazzy Groove, and Karisma Jay and AbunDance.

Wycliffe Gordon

Wycliffe Gordon

That night the festival will close with a performance by hip-hop artist Pete Rock and a screening of “Time Is Illmatic.” The feature-length documentary examines the making of rapper Nas’ 1994 debut album “Illmatic” and his development as an artist and his influences — including a visit to his childhood home in Queensbridge.

SummerStage is also expanding its season to commemorate its 30th anniversary, from May 18 through Oct. 4, when it will offer more than 140 free music, dance, comedy, family and theater programs in 16 parks across all five boroughs.

In Queens, there will also be SummerStage events at Flushing Meadows Corona Park and Socrates Sculpture Park.

As part of the World’s Fair Anniversary Festival at Flushing Meadows on June 7, starting at 4 p.m. there will be three musical performances as part of SummerStage by singer Charles Bradley and His Extraordinaires, Hollis Brown, a rock ‘n’ roll band formed by two Queens natives, and another Queens native, violinist Damien Escobar.

Later in that month, on June 24, The Metropolitan Opera Summer Recital Series featuring Kiri Deonarine, Ginger Costa-Jackson, John Moore and pianist Dan Saunders will come to Socrates Sculpture Park in Long Island City.

For more information about SummerStage events, visit www.summerstage.org.

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From St. John’s to stardom; J.Cole debut album is number one


| choahing@queenscourier.com

doc4e92ef89b7456364892508

Jay-Z signed him to his record label. He’s performed at Yankee Stadium. He was nominated for a BET Hip Hop Award. And his first album just debuted at number one.

Who is this hot new rap artist? It’s St. John’s University graduate J. Cole.

Jermaine Cole, 26, was born in Frankfurt, Germany, where his parents were stationed in the military, but he grew up in Fayetteville, North Carolina. When he was 12-years-old, Cole decided he wanted to be a professional rapper – like his idols Canibus, Eminem and Nas – and began writing his own lyrics. After graduating from high school in 2003, Cole headed to the Big Apple determined to achieve his goals of breaking into the music business and earning his college degree.

“On top of being a real fun major, it made me conscious of public relations, your brand and how you’re represented to the public,” Cole explained about what he learned at St. John’s. “When I have interviews or when I’m in the public light, I’m handling myself differently than another rapper might.”

After graduation, Cole worked part-time doing classified ad sales for The Queens Courier.

“It was the only job I could find that was real flexible with the hours so I could go to the [recording] studio and be up real late and then go in to work at, like, 1,” Cole recalled.

The majority of his time, however, was spent working on songs and trying to make connections with the right music biz insiders. He would look online for the names of A&R reps, producers, managers and other notable people and then cold call them.

“It took years and years of trying,” said Cole. “I was rapping on people’s voicemails. If I knew somebody was in the game, I would send a message…. It never worked, but these were the things I was trying.”

So, just how did Cole become the first hip-artist to land a deal with Jay-Z’s label Roc Nation?

“It was a very long story, but the condensed version is: I finally broke through when I met Mark Pitts, a real heavyweight in the game, who managed Biggie back in the day and signed Chris Brown and Ciara. He heard my music and loved it, and ended up playing a song called ‘Lights Please’ for Jay-Z. From there, the rest is history. Jay wanted to sign me after he met me.”

The contract was inked in February 2009.

Although he’s released several mix tapes, Cole World: The Sideline Story is the rapper’s debut full-length CD.

“Musically, it’s incredible,” Cole said. “I can’t wait for people to hear it! It’s real heavy and real emotional – family issues, life struggles, death, jail. I love that, but there’s a balance. It’s not an album where you have to be in a certain type of mood to listen to it.”

“Last year, I was on a tour with Jay-Z and shared a little bus with Wale,” said Cole. “This is the first time it’s actually my tour.”

But it was back in last September that Cole played the largest venue – so far – of his career: Yankees Stadium.

“It was crazy to be on that stage, but even better than being on that stage was just watching that,” he said about the historic two-night concert event headlined by Jay-Z and Eminem in which he served as one of the opening acts. “That was incredible. Rock artists sell out stadiums every night, but it takes two of the biggest hip-hop artists to fill up a stadium. It’s inspirational! When I really put it in perspective, it gave me a new goal. My new goal is to be the first rapper selling out stadiums on a regular basis. Even saying that lets me know how far I got to go. But how incredible would that be?”