Public Enemy, Big Daddy Kane & More to Perform at 2023 Spirit of Life Gala Honoring Lyor Cohen

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Next week’s Spirit of Life Gala honoring Lyor Cohen, global head of music at YouTube and Google, will feature a one-time-only edition of DJ Cassidy’s celebrated Pass The Mic Live! The segment will showcase more than a dozen hip-hop and R&B artists, including Public Enemy, Big Daddy Kane, Dru Hill, EPMD, Ja Rule, Memphis Bleek, Swizz Beatz and T.I., all of whom have played a part in Cohen’s 40-year legacy spanning Rush Management, The Island Def Jam Music Group, Warner Music Group, 300 Entertainment and beyond.


The sold-out gala is taking place Oct. 18 at the Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood, Calif. It’s a fundraiser for City of Hope, one of the largest cancer research and treatment organizations in the United States and a leading research center for diabetes and other life-threatening illnesses.

DJ Cassidy’s Pass the Mic series quickly transformed from viral sensation to primetime TV series on BET. Now a live tour, DJ Cassidy’s Pass The Mic Live! recently sold out Radio City Music Hall in New York with a one-time-only concert featuring 25 icons of hip-hop’s golden era.

“As a 10-year-old deejay and hip-hop kid growing up in New York City, I idolized Lyor Cohen long before he ever knew my name,” DJ Cassidy said in a statement. “Then, as his Def Jam intern in my high school years, a hero became a mentor. I am truly honored to bring ‘Pass The Mic Live!’ to City Of Hope and celebrate Lyor’s commitment to making the best health care available to hip-hop fans and performers by uniting a once-in-a-lifetime lineup of iconic artists who have influenced his massive musical legacy and hip-hop’s global influence as a whole.” 

Chuck D of Public Enemy added: “Lyor Cohen is a pioneer, and myself and Public Enemy have been beneficiaries of his visionary audacity. Hip Hop’s ride through the music industry has been turbulent, but together with Lyor we’ve grown with it and gone through it and organized what was necessary. Working with Lyor makes you pay attention to everything. And he’ll tell you that.” 

City of Hope is celebrating 50 years of partnership with the Music, Film and Entertainment Industry (MFEI) fundraising group. Over this period, industry executives and influencers have raised nearly $150 million to benefit City of Hope’s mission to transform the future of cancer care. 

“Our industry cares so very much about overcoming health inequities for underrepresented groups who continue to get left behind,” said Evan Lamberg, MFEI board president and president of Universal Music Publishing Group. “City of Hope is conscientiously leading efforts to improve health equity. In teaming up with our music, film & entertainment industry, we can take action to remove obstacles so that everyone can get the care they need and deserve.” 

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