Revelers celebrate the 50th anniversary of Hip-Hop at St. Mary's Park on Aug. 13. Photo; Christian Nazario.

A potpourri of Hip-Hop artists helped celebrate the genre’s half-century mark at St. Mary’s Park on Sunday. KRS-One, DJ Chuck Chillout and DJ Ralph Mercado. The concert series features a different artist every week.

Bronx Borough President Vanessa Gibson said St. Mary’s is a perfect location for the series. 

“I think it’s really good because people get to experience good music, great weather, having good fun,” said Gibson. “I want to keep going into communities that don’t necessarily see different types of music and bring that diversity in, because that’s what every park should be reflective of.”

Among the perfomers was Nelson Gonzalez Jr., the son of legendary Salsero Nelson Gonzalez from the classic Salsa group Fania All-Stars, said that Nuyorican musical genre had a major influence on Hip-Hop. 

“The connection that we have been having has been through music. Our music has been influential in the (Hip-Hop) culture. The same way their music has been very influential in us.”

Gonzalez Jr., who founded the League X group and now goes by Nemesis, has worked with legendary artists like Conga Kings and Willie Colón. 

St. Mary’s was filled with dancing and singing as KRS-One rapped some of his best known songs, like “The Bridge Is Over” and “South Bronx.”  

For one attendee, Brian McQuaige, the genre’s influence on culture is . 

“I don’t mind ’em talking about, drug dealing and street activity if you’re gonna show both sides of it,” he said. “But I think it’s evolved. I think it’s (the genre) doing good. It shows that we could party with this type of music and not be violent and be peaceful with one another.”

Bronxite Shelda Williams saw a post on social media, announcing the appearance of her hero KRS-one. Williams, who grew up in the ‘70s and has listened to hip-hop all her life, said black culture was in its full glory at the St. Mary’s event. 

“We don’t have this stuff in the history book, but we make our own history,” she said. “By showing our own history and knowing that we have been here for 50 years, it could be here forever.” 

Shanequa Charles and her partner Natificial Fellowmen waxed historic about Hip-Hop’s widespread appeal. 

“The culture was co-opted by European capitalist folks who don’t want to see—the power in the music. Hip hop didn’t lose its power, but what was given to the masses. It’s so universal that it’s easy to spread negative messaging in the music,” said Charles. 

The next Bronx summer concert celebrating Hip-hops’s 50th anniversary will be on Aug. 20th in Crotona Park. The series, which started on July 9th, will conclude on Sept. 3rd,  in Co-op city.  

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