Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Dead Prez, Ihsan and Outasight at Solar One's CitySol Festival 7/11/09

New York really has some amazing free outdoor concerts all summer long. For every one I go to, I probably miss 5 or 10 other really badass shows. I tried to check out the free Q-Tip show in Central Park and it was completely filled past capacity. Unlike Celebrate Brooklyn in Prospect Park you can't just stand beyond the fenced area and still watch the show. Central Park's Summer Stage is up on a hill and there's bleacher-style seating. So everyone outside the designated concert area can hear the show, but can't see shit. The following day Lee "Scratch" Perry performed at Summer Stage and I decided I just couldn't make the trip out there again on the hopes I was early enough to get into the fenced off audience pen, just so I could bake in the hot sun while suffering from one of the worst sunburns of my entire life (thank you global warming and expired sun bock). Still, it probably would have been worth dieing of heat exhaustion just to see Lee "Scratch" Perry, but I wasn't feeling up to it.

However, the week before I was able to see hip hop revolutionaries Dead Prez performing free at an outdoor festival designed to raise awareness about solar energy and the environment. I don't think there was very much promotion because the crowd was pretty small considering Dead Prez was headlining. It was cool on a selfish level because that meant I didn't have to fight the crowds to get to the front of the stage, but on a much deeper level it was sad because in this day and age where we are actually seeing the disastrous effects of global warming on a massive scale people should be exposed to the message that this festival is promoting. We should be making a serious effort to switch over to environmentally conscious alternative energy sources before it's too late. We should not only be trying to halt the effects of global warming, but reverse the damage that's already been done. Dead Prez was one of the few artists on stage who actually knew a lot about environmental issues, alternative energy sources and ways in which to protect the planet. They talked about how polluted the City is, especially our rivers. They talked about being vegan for your health and the health of the planet. They urged people to exercise and drink more water, but not from the East River. They joked that that's where our "pure unfiltered New York City tap water" comes from. They also rocked the effing house with songs such as "New York," "War Path" and their mad popular jam "Hip Hop."

The CitySol Festival is an annual clean energy-powered music, art and community event hosted by Solar One, New York City’s first solar-powered "green energy, arts, and education center." Solar One's mission is to "empower people of all ages with the vision, knowledge and resources to attain a more environmentally sound and sustainable future." A message that was echoed on the solar-powered stage by artists such as Dead Prez and Brooklyn's Ihsan, whose eco-conscious hip hop anthem "Go Green, Get Green" was a real crowd pleaser.

The music portion of the festival took place at 23rd St and the East River and was co-curated by Digiwax, who put out a free CD Mix Tape that was given out at the festival. The Mix Tape was called "Hip Hop is Green Vol. 2: Solar Heat" and featured tracks by Dead Prez, Ihsan, O'Neal McNight, Outasight and many many others, with 21 tracks total mixed by DJ GETLIVE!

"It's bigger than Hip Hop..."


All jokes about New York City tap water aside, New York City has some of the cleanest and best tasting tap water in all of the U.S. and environmental groups in the City are urging people to stop buying bottled water and instead refill reusable containers with "pure unfiltered New York City tap water" instead, thus preventing billions of non-biodegradable plastic water bottles from ending up in landfills every year. New York City's water comes from upstate sources so clean it is not required by the EPA to be filtered in any way. The water is screened and treated and that's about it. Its full of minerals and because EPA standards are higher than the FDA's standards, New York City tap water is actually safer to drink than bottled water. The best part of all is that New York City tap water is completely free, just like nature intended.

Disclaimer: many old buildings in New York still have lead pipes which can contaminate the otherwise pure and delicious New York City tap water. Prolonged exposure to lead can lead to brain-damage and death, so get that shit tested. If you can't afford to get your water tested and you don't trust your scumbag landlord when they say the pipes aren't lead, then be sure to only drink from the cold water tap. Let it run for about a minute before drinking from it. Never drink from a hot water tap.