SUNDAY NIGHT’S ugly dustup outside the gates of Hot-97’s Summer Jam concert isn’t the first time the hip-hop radio station has had to deal with real-life violence.
There are times, suggested morning host and former program director Ebro Darden, when it’s just the cost of doing business in the hip-hop game.
He stressed that he and the station condemned the “craziness,” which included throwing bottles at police.
But that doesn’t mean, he said, that you walk away from hip-hop’s larger culture, which has been Hot-97’s format for 22 years.
“When you’re really into it and you’re really authentic,” Darden said, “unfortunately sometimes you have to take the bad things along with what’s great.”
“Tens of thousands” of fans “had a great and positive time” at the show Sunday, he said, while the violence came from “a few people acting crazy and creating chaos.”
Darden also suggested that bad behavior is not limited to hip-hop audiences. “Whenever you get that many people together, things will happen,” he said.
All three of the famous Woodstock festivals ended with fans breaking through the gates, and the 1999 event devolved into mass rioting, burning and allegations of rape.
Going back to the 1980s, when hip-hop was rising and phrases like “gangsta rap” surfaced, many venues wouldn’t even host hip-hop concerts.
Time changed that. While hip-hop isn’t universally adored, it became the single most important influence on mainstream pop music over the past 25 years.
It thrives in suburban high schools and is the fondly remembered childhood music of people in their 50s. It’s not going anywhere.
Darden said Monday that Summer Jam would go on, too, because “We’re not going to allow a few idiots to ruin a celebration of something we love.”