The popular series that pays tribute to soul, funk, hip-hop and R&B greats is returning to the show this year.
DJ Cassidy’s “Pass the Mic” series is coming back for a special Soul Train Awards edition. The DJ’s popular music performance series returns Nov. 28 on BET, directly following the award telecast.
“DJ Cassidy’s Pass the Mic: BET Soul Train Edition 2021,” will be the fourth time the virtual performance show will be aired on BET, according to Variety. Cassidy presides over the music, playing classic R&B, hip-hop and dance cuts as the original artists perform their portions of their songs remotely before transitioning to the next song and artist.
Cassidy started “Pass the Mic” as an online series to both entertain audiences stuck indoors in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic as well as a way to celebrate the legacy of classic old-school songs and musicians. Past editions featured bands like Earth, Wind & Fire, members of Kool and the Gang; and rappers like LL Cool J, Doug E. Fresh, and Salt-N-Pepa.
Cassidy first brought “Pass the Mic” to the 2020 Soul Train Awards and then to the NAACP Image Awards and the BET Awards, respectively.
Although Cassidy is still keeping the full Nov. 28 line-up a secret for the most part, he has revealed that singers Stephanie Mills and Charlie Wilson; as well as rappers Melle Mel and Kurtis Blow are expected to participate. Since the music Cassidy is curating for the special is pulled from 1975 to 1985, he said that he’s happy to have “two undisputed R&B icons and two undisputed hip-hop icons who all came to prominence at a similar and very transformative time.”
]DJ Cassidy attends We Love NYC: The Homecoming Concert on Aug. 21, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for Live Nation)
The inclusion of Mills has special significance, as the Soul Train Awards will be filmed at the Apollo Theater in Harlem, New York, for the first time. Cassidy acknowledges this heritage and Mills’ connection to it.
“I always look up the artists when we shoot and learn things I didn’t know,” Cassidy said. “I always discover ties that the artists have to the particular theme of the show. And Stephanie Mills won Amateur Night at the Apollo at age 11 six times in a row, before becoming the Grammy-winning international R&B icon that she is.”
Before she does “Pass the Mic,” Mills will be in Los Angeles on Thursday to perform with Chaka Khan for the popular online series Verzuz.
For the 2020 Soul Train Awards edition of “Pass the Mic,” Cassidy enlisted a collection of R&B and funk stars singing select hits from the 1980s. This included El DeBarge singing DeBarge’s number one smash “Rhythm of the Night,” Cameo’s Larry Blackman and Willy Morris performing their hit “Word Up,” Ready For The World’s Melvin Riley‘s performing “Oh, Sheila,” Morris Day and Jerome Benton showing up to do their classic hit from The Time, “Jungle Love” and Khan performing Rufus’ “Ain’t Nobody.”
The 2021 Soul Train Awards will be taped Nov. 20 and air on BET on Nov. 28. Tisha Campbell and Tichina Arnold will host the ceremony for the fourth year in a row.
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