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Public Enemy, T.I., Swizz Beatz and Other Hip-Hop Stars Will ‘Pass the Mic’ to Honor Lyor Cohen at Spirit of Life Gala

The Spirit of Life Gala, hosted by the cancer research and treatment organization City of Hope, will honor hip-hop mogul and entrepreneur Lyor Cohen with a one-time-only version of DJ Cassidy’s “Pass the Mic Live!” at the Pacific Design Center in Los Angeles on Oct. 18. The performance will include appearances by Public Enemy, Big Daddy Kane, Dru Hill, EPMD, Ja Rule, Memphis Bleek, Swizz Beatz and T.I, all artists who have worked with Cohen throughout his career in some capacity.

Cohen will also serve as host of the event, which is organized by the Music, Film and Entertainment Industry’s (MFEI) fundraising group.

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In his 40 years in the industry, Cohen has worked at Rush Management, the Island Def Jam Music Group, Warner Music Group, 300 Entertainment and other labels. He is currently the global head of music at YouTube and Google. Per the event’s official release, this year’s City of Hope fundraising campaign helmed by Cohen “will raise awareness and funds to address the challenges underserved populations face in obtaining access to quality health care, especially cancer care.”

DJ Cassidy made a statement on honoring his mentor: “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,” he said.

DJ Cassidy continued, “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.”

DJ Cassidy’s “Pass the Mic” series, which debuted during the pandemic and became extremely popular, is known for featuring medleys of prominent hip-hop or R&B artists performing classic hit songs. The series transferred to BET before its final episode in 2022.

Chuck D said, “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.”

The Spirit of Life Gala is sold out.

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