Something magical is happening in the NYC Parks this summer.
From June through September, the sun is warm, the flowers are in bloom, trees and grass are finally green and people gather each week in the NYC parks to hear music. We respect the many organizations who host concerts in the parks, each bringing a special flavor or specializing in a certain genre of music: Folk, Salsa, Jazz, R&B, World, etc. Tools of War grassroots Hip Hop specializes, naturally, in Hip Hop, but not just any Hip Hop, THE CULTURE OF HIP HOP.
We specialize in DJs spinning Breaks, Funk, Rock, Soul, Salsa and anything very rare and very funky. Some weeks you won't hear any Rap at all but if you do, it will usually be from the 70s or 80s, from the DJ who produced it or the MC who rhymed it.
The jams are miraculous. The jams are organic. The jams are overwhelming. The jams are beautiful. The jams are simplicity. The jams build community. The jams are a celebration of the best that Hip Hop culture has to offer.
Tools of War grassroots Hip Hop is celebrating it's 10th Anniversary of throwing jams in NYC parks. For 10 years we have seen Hip Hop's greatest DJ pioneers and legends rock our stages.
At a time when people need community more than ever, our jams bring them together. Some live next door to the park. Some travel from other countries. Some have just immigrated to the US who find us in their local park and their children are fascinated by the bboys and bgirls and other dancers. Some of our favorite attendees are the Yemini and Mexican children who come to Spanish Harlem Hop because they live near the park.
Most come to the park just to witness a real live park jam presided over by the very originators of the culture. They are the authenticity factor and make our jams like no other. The fact that there are more Hip Hop legends and pioneers from every element, just in the audience alone, is the unspoken seal of approval - like celebrities on their off day, where they go when they aren't performing to admire the mastery of the other performers.
The jams are miraculous in the fact that they are even happening. After the lawlessness in NYC several decades ago, the jams just stopped on the grassroots level. The fact that we have mostly convinced the gatekeepers: skeptical park managers and overworked NYPD to allow us the proper permits to jam, is a miracle in itself.
The jams are organic. The sound is set up. The dancers usually arrive first. The DJs put the needle to the record and it seems within minutes, the park is peopled with partiers! Even people who do not identify as Hip Hoppers love our jams because we focus on the music that made Hip Hop what it is, the blackest part of the record, the hardest part of the song, the Break! Yes, you will hear the most beloved classic Breaks at our jams, but we truly favor the ones that no one can identify. The ones that only the record collectors - the diggers - possess.
At our jams, a DJ is revered for what he or she is packing in the crates and how he/she rocks it.
Our jams focus on very specific categories of DJs: Hip Hop DJ pioneers and legends, Diggers/record collectors, B-Boy/B-Girl/Dance DJs and DJ Battle champions.
Outside of our host, Hip Hop pioneer, GrandMaster Caz, it is a rare treat for the audience to see a legendary MC perform at our jams. We are always honored that the MC legends want to contribute but we have created a sacred space for the DJ that must be respected. At our jams, the DJs are the show.
We are especially protective of the audience. We encourage everyone to attend but that entails specific assignments for the DJs to play music that uplifts and does not offend. We suspect that this might be the key to our longevity in the parks system - a respect for our audience, who we believe would rather not be disrespected in any way by the music being presented by the DJ.
Our jams have been covered by the New York Times... twice, earned Crotona Park the best park to jam award in The Village Voice. We have four page spreads in European printed magazines. We have at least 3 professional photographers shooting at any one of our jams, including the legendary Joe Conzo. Quite possibly the most favorite media is presented by Noisemaker Media - click here to see breathtaking video clips from our jams!
We invite you to be part of one of the most celebrated Hip Hop experiences, in the last ten years!
Tools of War co-founders
Christie Z-Pabon: Tools of War / DMC USA
Jorge Fabel Pabon: Tools of War / Rock Steady Crew