On August 7, Rapper Funkmaster Flex celebrated his birthday with a free concert at Coney Island, featuring his peers and collaborators. Sponsored by Capital One City Parks Foundation SummerStage, the performer hit the Brooklyn scene to put on a show, playing iconic R&B hits from the 80s and 90s. Famed artists such as Ginuwine, Rakim, Jeff Redd, Red Alert, and DJ HR were in attendance as featured performers.
Warming up the Coney Island Amphitheater crowd, the DJ played familiar songs like “Jump On It” and “Thong Song,” effortlessly tiding the crowd while they awaited the arrival of the live acts which followed. The show was hosted by the Brooklyn-native music video director and DJ Ralph McDaniels, who gave a speech at the top of the show honoring the Native lands in the local proximity.
The crowd was also reminded of the danger that the COVID-19 pandemic continues to pose as guests were encouraged to wear their masks in the outside space. The host eerily told the gathering, “COVID is in the building,” before rolling on to the next part of the show.
Funkmaster Flex’s birthday
Throughout the many opening acts, singer Jeff Redd proved himself to be a stand-out. He effortlessly crooned jazzy R&B tunes and even did a cover of Bruno Mars’ song Leave The Door Open. The singer posted an image to his Instagram account, following the show. Redd praised his peer and accompanying performer Rakim. He wrote, “After some 30 years later, the love and respect has only grown. Peace to my brother Rakim. Great performance last night at the Coney Island Amphitheatre.”
“Summerstage veteran” Funkmaster Flex turned 55 on August 5, just two days before his concert celebration. He’s best known as a New York icon, hosting the hip-hop radio station Hot97. Summerstage writes that Flex has “manned the turntables for many of the festival’s legacy acts” and commonly celebrates his birthday with the community.
The popular DJ joined the stage at 8 pm, about one hour after the celebration kicked off. At the end of his set, a large birthday cake was brought on stage as Flex passed out merchandise to a handful of “Leos” in the pit. It was a very festive moment, perfectly fit for a birthday celebration.
Ginuwine brings the house down
About half-past 9 pm, Ginuwine joined the show. There appeared to be a fumble in the transition between acts as it lasted longer than many expected, and the restlessness of the audience was easily detected. However, the Pony singer made a showstopping entrance, tossing roses out to the crowd as he opened his set with Same Ol’ G.
Fans had a great time at the show and were excitedly dancing around the entire time. Once the show kicked off, few stayed in their seats, making it another successful event by the Summerstage crew.
Summerstage offers live music, dance, and theater throughout New York City’s five boroughs. Many of the events are free. More information can be found here.