DJ Cassidy Aims To Make History With Pass The Mic Live! Tour

When DJ Cassidy announced that the tenth volume of his Pass The Mic series would be the last to air on TV, many fans voiced their disappointment.

The series, which originated in Cassidy’s home at the height of the global pandemic, immediately shook up the music world with its innovative approach to live performance and collaboration. The following year, Pass The Mic partnered with BET to televise its fourth volume exposing the show to millions of viewers while boosting its popularity. However, the show’s run ended on the network at the 2022 BET Hip Hop Awards, sparking questions about the future of the series. Now, those dismayed no longer have reason to fret, as the spinner has announced the Pass the Mic Live! Tour, which will allow fans across the country the opportunity to witness living legends and stars in music together on stage, passing the mic to one another while rocking the crowd.

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Launched in collaboration with Black Promoters Collective, DJ Cassidy’s Pass The Mic Live! Tour will kick off on May 12 at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., with the 41-year-old deejay enlisting a star-studded list of performers to pull out their biggest hits. The first stop on the Pass The Mic Live! Tour will include sets from Ashanti, Fabolous, Ja Rule, Lil’ Kim, Ma$e, Ne-Yo, Robin Thicke, 112, and special surprise guests. The forthcoming dates will serve as a homecoming not only for many of the artists on the bill but Cassidy himself.

“I’m from New York City,” the Manhattan native pridefully told VIBE days before announcing the tour. “And I’ve been going to shows at the Prudential Center for years and that venue holds a special place in my heart.”

The Garden State won’t be the only destination Cassidy and his show will hit. Pass The Mic Live! is set to go national this year, with multiple stops across North America scheduled for 2023. Although he’s kept details surrounding the forthcoming run close to the vest, DJ Cassidy gave us the scoop on his vision for the tour, what the public can expect, and talked about being on the brink of making history.

VIBE: On May 12, you’ll be taking your Pass The Mic! series to the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J. for the stop on your Pass The Mic Live! Tour. How does it feel to take Pass The Mic from television to the stage?

DJ Cassidy: Throughout the journey, I’ve always stressed how surreal it was. That my little living room show that I created at the start of the pandemic turned into a series of television specials. Well, that surreal feeling has now multiplied by a hundred. I could have never imagined when I premiered the first episode of Pass The Mic in July 2020 that the series would transform into a live concert, let alone a live concert at an arena. So I am really overwhelmed with emotion, honestly. It’s a very emotional time as I announce this to the world.

Pass The Mic! has become a cultural and family-friendly event, hence its success. Do you ever feel any pressure to keep innovating and building on the concept to avoid it becoming stale?

Part of the reason that I decided that the 10th episode should be my final was I really wanted to go out on top. I love the idea of creating 10 epic editions of the series and then stopping to expand to another chapter in the book. So I never felt with the television series that I had to reinvent the wheel because the format in itself was so innovative and so new and so fresh. So all I had to do each episode was put together a new lineup of artists with a new playlist of songs and the spirit and the energy would create itself. And I feel the same way about the live shows. We’re on the brink now of a whole new Pass The Mic experience, so in a sense, we’re back at the beginning. So it’s all new again. It’s all fresh again. And I couldn’t be more excited to bring the new chapter to the people.

Was the goal always to take Pass the Mic live?

As the series developed, it became crystal clear to me that the fans of the show wanted to see this in person. About half of my Pass The Mic specials aired during the pandemic and about half the shows aired after the pandemic had come to a close, in a sense. And as the pandemic started to wind down, it became clearer and clearer that what I had been hearing from fans had to come true. I had no choice, I had to manifest it by popular demand. And I’m so grateful for the millions of people who tuned in to watch the specials on TV and to continue to watch online. I’m so grateful for them because I saw the future through reading their comments and hearing their feedback and there’s rarely a day goes by where I don’t sign on to YouTube and read the comments of the viewers. I couldn’t begin to count how many times I’ve heard people saying “When’s the tour? When are we seeing this live on stage?” It’s been a long time coming.

That’s great. This tour is in partnership with the Black Promoters Collective. How did the opportunity to link with them come about and what’s it been like working on this tour with them?

Last year, the president of the Black Promoters Collective, Shelby Joyner, reached out to me through Steve Rifkind, who is a dear friend of mine and one of the producers of the show. I knew from the first call I had with Shelby that he and the Black Promoters Collective shared my vision for Pass The Mic Live. Sometimes when you meet someone, you can feel the magic and I felt the magic in the air on that first call. Last year alone, the BPC produced the New Edition tour, the Maxwell tour, and the Mary J. Blige tour. The three greatest R&B tours of last year came through their office and I knew that they were the right team with years of experience in Hip-Hop and R&B shows to help me bring this vision to life.

Ashanti, Fabolous, Ja Rule, Lil’ Kim, Ma$e, Ne-Yo, Robin Thicke, and 112 will be performing at the first stop of the tour. Many of those acts are from New York’s Tri-State area. Did that play into your decision to tap those particular artists?

100%. And I wanted the lineup to reflect the surroundings, so it was really important for me to have a strong representation of New Yorkers on the show. So Ashanti’s represented New York, Fabolous is representing New York, Ja Rule is representing New York. Lil’ Kim is representing New York, Ma$e is representing New York, and, of course, I represent for the city of New York, as well.

DJ Cassidy's Pass The Mic Live! Tour Flier
Courtesy of DJ Cassidy

What has been your biggest hurdle or obstacle with getting this tour off the ground?

Let me think about that first second… I think the biggest obstacle with Pass The Mic Live! is probably the same as the biggest obstacle as Pass The Mic the television series, which is timing. I always put together a master wishlist of artists that I would love to have taken part in, whether it’s in one of the 10 original shows or now, one of the live shows. And as you make those calls, you hope that the stars align and that everyone’s schedule online, and that the timing, the date of your show, the location of your show, and the schedules of the artists who you’re reaching out to all align. And I’ve been so fortunate that somehow the stars always seem to align

Each televised Pass The Mic edition centered around a specific era in music or theme. Will that continue on Pass The Mic Live!?

Yes, each of the shows in the Pass The Mic Tour in 2023 will contain some sort of unifying thematic elements. And each of the shows in the series will be unique, each of the lineups will be unique, and each of the themes will be unique.

You’ve toured around the globe and have played some pretty big events. What are some of the tools of the trade that you’ve learned across the travels that you’ll be implementing for this run?

That’s an incredible question. I think one major thing that I’ve learned over the many years that I’ve been a DJ performing in front of people is the art of spontaneity. Now, it doesn’t matter how many hours you’ve had to rehearse. It doesn’t matter how many days that you had to prepare. The most magical moments on stage come from spontaneity. And when you put eight Hip-Hop and R&B icons on the stage together with yours truly as the maestro, it’s a recipe for magical spontaneity.

DJ Cassidy Wearing Behind Turntables Onstage
Courtesy of DJ Cassidy

You haven’t dropped the full dates for the tour yet. What are some of the cities that you’ll be hitting?

I’m announcing each of the Pass The Mic Live! shows in the same manner that I announced each of the BET television specials, that is one at a time. I want each event to stand on its own as a one-night-only event. I want each event to feel as special as they are. And I couldn’t be more excited to announce the others. I literally feel like like I’m biting my tongue and I just announced the first, but that’s really the point. I want each announcement to feel as or more exciting than the last.

Can you give us an estimate of how many shows we can expect in 2023?

Let’s see… more than you can count on one hand (laughs).

That’s a good handful. Are there any plans to take Pass The Mic! Live International?

Well, my immediate plans for 2023 are a United States run, but I 100% foresee a future taking Pass The Mic Live! international. And if you recall, one of the ten Pass The Mic specials that aired on BET was a reggae edition. So the sky’s the limit when it comes to where to take Pass The Mic Live! around the globe. I’ve been performing around the globe my entire career, so it’s only fitting that I would bring Pass The Mic Live! around the globe, as well.

Hip-Hop & R&B has seen a lot of tours over the years that are still talked about to this day. Do you believe Pass The Mic Live! will fall in that pantheon?

Yes. Capital Y, capital E, capital S. I am on a mission to create one-night-only experiences that go down in history. It’s that simple. And I’m striving to make every night a monumental night that will be talked about for many years to come.

DJ Cassidy Wearing Red And Black Suit And Black Pants And Cream Hat
DJ Cassidy attends the Pre-GRAMMY Gala & GRAMMY Salute To Industry Icons Honoring Julie Greenwald & Craig Kallman at The Beverly Hilton on February 04, 2023 in Beverly Hills, California.

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