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City of Hope and Lyor Cohen to host ‘DJ Cassidy’s Pass The Mic Live!’ at sold-out Spirit of Life® Gala

  • Featuring performances by over a dozen hip hop and R&B icons spanning Cohen’s career including Public Enemy, Big Daddy Kane, Dru Hill, EPMD, Ja Rule, Memphis Bleek, Swizz Beatz, T.I. and many more
  • The gala honoring Cohen, global head of music at YouTube and Google, to take place at the Pacific Design Center in Los Angeles on Oct. 18, 2023

City of Hope
Zen Logsdon

Julia Rossen

DJ Cassidy Leaopard
DJ Cassidy

LOS ANGELES — Today 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, announced that its Music, Film and Entertainment Industry (MFEI) fundraising group’s Spirit of Life® Gala is sold out and will feature a one-time-only edition of “DJ Cassidy’s Pass The Mic Live!.” The unprecedented musical experience will showcase over a dozen legendary hip hop and R&B artists who have inspired the 40-year legacy of Lyor Cohen spanning Rush Management, The Island Def Jam Music Group, Warner Music Group, 300 Entertainment, and beyond. The list of performers includes Public Enemy, Big Daddy Kane, Dru Hill, EPMD, Ja Rule, Memphis Bleek, Swizz Beatz, T.I. and many more surprise guests. The sold-out gala is taking place on Oct. 18, 2023, at the Pacific Design Center in Los Angeles.

“As a 10-year-old DJ and hip-hop kid growing up in New York City, I idolized Lyor Cohen long before he ever knew my name,” DJ Cassidy explained. “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 shared, “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.”

This year’s fundraising campaign led by Cohen will raise awareness and funds to address the challenges underserved populations face in obtaining access to quality health care, especially cancer care.

With the 50th anniversary of hip-hop underway, it’s fitting that City of Hope will also celebrate 50 years of partnership with MFEI at this year’s celebration to recognize hip-hop industry icon Cohen. Over this half-century, industry executives and influencers have raised nearly $150 million to benefit City of Hope’s mission to transform the future of cancer care through exquisite patient treatment, innovative research and vital education focused on eliminating cancer and diabetes.

Founded more than a century ago to serve people who had trouble accessing high-quality, effective medical care, City of Hope aims to close the gap and help eliminate inequity between the innovation taking place at academic cancer centers and the people who can access these breakthroughs. City of Hope’s strategic vision is to expand access to optimal cancer care, push the envelope in the development of the next generation of cancer discovery, treatment, and science, and expand efforts to rapidly translate research and discovery into the clinical care setting. Its national system of provider and research entities now serves approximately 134,000 patients each year across a network of locations in California, Arizona, Illinois and Georgia.

“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.”

MFEI’s Spirit of Life Gala concludes a year-long fundraising initiative for City of Hope. For Spirit of Life Gala updates and sponsorship information, please email

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About DJ Cassidy
Over the past three years, DJ Cassidy transformed how we experience music with “Pass The Mic.” By celebrating and uniting his musical heroes, DJ Cassidy changed how we interact with our favorite artists and favorite songs through a game changing, culturally moving format. The groundbreaking series transformed from viral sensation to television primetime series on BET and, within ten episodes, featured 220 legendary superstars, including Earth, Wind & Fire, Chaka Khan, Patti LaBelle, Gladys Knight, New Edition, Boyz II Men, TLC, Run DMC, LL Cool J, Public Enemy, Rakim, Big Daddy Kane, Salt-N-Pepa, Missy Elliott, Ice Cube, Method Man, Busta Rhymes, Wyclef Jean, and many more. Now a live tour, “DJ Cassidy’s Pass The Mic Live!” most recently sold out New York’s renowned Radio City Music Hall with a one-time-only concert celebrating hip hop’s 50th anniversary featuring 25 icons of hip hop’s golden era.  

About Lyor Cohen
Lyor Cohen is an American music industry executive who has helped shape the evolution of the music business over the course of his career and is currently the global head of Music at YouTube and Google. 

As a 21-year-old living in New York City working for Rush Productions, Cohen felt the power and pull of the arts and the cultural movement being built around rap and hip-hop music; it was all about inclusivity, not exclusivity. From his time as road manager for Run DMC and the Beastie Boys, to developing the prestige of Def Jam Recordings and selling it to Universal, to managing Island, Mercury and Def Jam, which he merged to create the Island Def Jam Music Group, to becoming the chairman and CEO of Recorded Music for Warner Music Group (WMG) and then co-founding 300, Cohen’s career has been dedicated to advocating for artists and songwriters, uplifting art and proving to the world that music brings us together more than it separates us. Along the way, Cohen has been intimately involved in the careers of over 100 artists from day one through superstardom.  

Cohen sits on the board of both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the National Independent Venue Association, and is an acting director for SCAN-Harbor, a New York-based charity.

About City of Hope’s Music, Film and Entertainment Industry Group
Inspired by the guiding humanitarian principles of City of Hope and motivated by the institution’s commitment to innovative medical research and compassionate patient care, a group of key industry executives founded City of Hope’s Music, Film and Entertainment Industry group in 1973. 
In its 50-year history, the group has raised over $135 million for City of Hope and has honored some of the most important figures in the music and entertainment industry. 
The Spirit of Life Award is City of Hope’s most prestigious honor and is presented to an esteemed community of industry leaders around the world who have made a significant commitment to improving the lives of others through the advancement of research and clinical innovation and the delivery of personalized, compassionate care.  
Past honorees include Shelli and Irving Azoff, Edgar Bronfman Jr., Coran Capshaw, Eddy Cue, Clive Davis, Sir Lucian Grainge, Allen Grubman, Quincy Jones, Rob Light, Monte and Avery Lipman, Doug Morris, Mo Ostin, Bob Pittman, Jon Platt and Sylvia Rhone to name a few. 

About City of Hope
City of Hope’s mission is to deliver the cures of tomorrow to the people who need them today. Founded in 1913, City of Hope has grown into one of the largest cancer research and treatment organizations in the U.S. and one of the leading research centers for diabetes and other life-threatening illnesses. City of Hope research has been the basis for numerous breakthrough cancer medicines, as well as human synthetic insulin and monoclonal antibodies. With an independent, National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center at its core, City of Hope brings a uniquely integrated model to patients spanning cancer care, research and development, academics and training, and innovation initiatives. City of Hope’s growing national system includes its Los Angeles campus, a network of clinical care locations across Southern California, a new cancer center in Orange County, California, and treatment facilities in Atlanta, Chicago and Phoenix. City of Hope’s affiliated group of organizations includes Translational Genomics Research Institute and AccessHopeTM. For more information about City of Hope, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and LinkedIn.

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