It was a reunion of Nineties hip-hop heavyweights Saturday as Ja Rule, Lil’ Kim, Mase, Jadakiss and Lil’ Cease took to the stage at DJ Cassidy’s first-ever “Pass the Mic” live event, which closed out the 2022 Pegasus World Cup horse race in Miami.
Taking to the turntables inside the newly-opened Carousel Club at Gulfstream Park, Cassidy brought out each artist for a brief set of their greatest hits, taking his popular “Pass the Mic” YouTube series in front of a live audience for the first time.
Ma$e surprises the crowd at @DJCassidy’s #PassTheMic LIVE event to close out @PegasusWorldCup. Cassidy’s popular “Pass the Mic” series went from YouTube to IRL for the first time, with a custom stage that revealed each artist as their songs began to play pic.twitter.com/C4FjffMWre
— Tim Chan (@mrtimchan) January 30, 2022
Mase was the first artist to hit the stage, appearing on a screen behind Cassidy before it pulled away to reveal the rapper, decked out in white slacks and a floral blazer apropos for the Miami horse race. Mase ran through a tight set of hits, including “Been Around the World,” “Feel So Good,” “Mo Money Mo Problems,” and the Bad Boy remix of “Only You,” which had the crowd enthusiastically filling in on 112’s chorus.
Lil’ Kim hit the stage next, opening with her verse from Junior M.A.F.I.A’s “Get Money,” before transitioning to “No Time.” Lil’ Cease then joined Kim on stage as they ran through a medley of hits, from Kim’s feature on 50 Cent’s “Magic Stick” to the crowd-pleasing “Not Tonight.” Kim even performed her verse from “Lady Marmalade,” off the 2001 Moulin Rouge soundtrack.
But it was Jadakiss’ surprise appearance that truly had the 3000+ guests inside Carousel Club rocking. Joined by Lil’ Cease and Kim, the trio performed “It’s All About the Benjamins,” with Kim telling the crowd that it “felt so good” to be “back together with my brother.” Kim and Jadakiss last performed together as part of the “East Coast Takeover” tour, which ran through a string of dates last year (a similar “West Coast Takeover” tour has a date in April).
— Tim Chan (@mrtimchan) January 30, 2022
Other performers for the night included Ja Rule and special surprise guest El DeBarge, who led a group encore performance of “Rhythm of The Night.”
Saturday’s concert was held as the finale event for the Pegasus World Cup, one of the premiere thoroughbred horse races in the country. Previous performers for the event have included Post Malone, Mark Ronson, T-Pain and Nelly.
The event was produced by 1/ST EXPERIENCE, part of the tech, entertainment and development firm, The Stronach Group. Company CEO and President Belinda Stronach says it was her goal to create something that would bring together music, entertainment and horse racing for both long-time race fans and new audiences alike.
“We wanted to attract new fans and curate an experience that was compelling and relevant, where people can go, ‘Hey, instead of going to the basketball game today, let me go try something else,'” Stronach explains. “And so we started out with that and looked at what other offerings we could add to horse racing.”
The idea to bring on DJ Cassidy stemmed from a long-time friendship between Cassidy and 1/ST EXPERIENCE CEO Jimmy Vargas. “I’ve probably booked Cassidy for the past 20 years,” Vargas explains. “He’s a really creative, unique individual and has the type of energy that I like to bring to something like Pegasus. And so I said, ‘Why don’t we try to create the first live version of ‘Pass the Mic?’ And Cassidy was like, ‘OK, I’m intrigued.'”
Having good entertainment, Vargas says, is part of how he envisions this new horse racing experience, adding that “good food and good cocktails” are also important (Saturday’s event included food from The h.wood Group’s supper club, Delilah; a Davidoff cigar lounge; and free-flowing Whispering Angel rosé garden along the track). “We never want to do something where you just kind of sit here watching a concert because it’s not meant to be a concert. It’s meant to be infused into the race and part of the experience,” Vargas explains.
Adds Stronach: “I think there is a greater appreciation and recognition now, that horse racing, if done right right, is really valuable content that can sit alongside other sports content and entertainment content.”
As for the actual race itself, reps say more than 16,000 fans made their way through Gulfstream in Hallandale Beach, Florida for the event, which generated a record-setting $43.8 million in wagers on the 12-race program. “Life Is Good” took home the $3 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational, the premiere race of the day, while “Colonel Liam” won the Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational and a $1 million purse.