Mixing football with hip-hop is always a winning combination. The two were paired up Thursday, for opening night of the Bud Light Hotel at Pier 86 in Manhattan when the Madden Bowl XX tournament preceded "The Roots Presents Hip-Hop NYC" concert.
NFL players, including Victor Cruz of the Giants, LeSean "Shady" McCoy of the Philadelphia Eagles, Cam Newton of the Carolina Panthers and A.J. Green of the Cincinnati Bengals, battled it out on the flat screen playing each other in the “Madden 25” video game on Xbox One while nestled in lounge chairs on stage.
Trey Wingo, host of "NFL Live," provided color commentary along with New Orleans Saints' quarterback Drew Brees while the crowd snacked on appetizers and cocktails.
Wingo razzed Cruz for not salsa dancing when he scored against Green. "He's saving it for The Roots," quipped Brees. When Cruz got eliminated and was interviewed postgame, Wingo said, "Wow, sounds like what happened with the Giants in 2013." Cruz replied, "I don't remember a lot from that year."
McCoy went head-to-head with Newton in the finals, which was a nail-biter. Even though Newton was leading for most of the game, McCoy came from behind pulling out a 24-22 win to capture the Madden Bowl XX championship trophy.
Just before 11 p.m. drummer Questlove got behind his kit with the rest of The Roots for a three-hour extravaganza, which took people through the history of hip-hop.
"Hip-hop is from the streets of New York," said Joseph "Rev. Run" Simmons of Run-DMC in the opening film clip. "But hip-hop is more than music. It's about swag and the way you move."
Black Thought was the first on the mic delivering a blistering rendition of the Beastie Boys' "No Sleep Till Brooklyn" setting the tone for the evening. The Roots pulled out all the stops ripping through Big Daddy Kane's "Ain't No Half-Steppin'," Nas' "The World is Yours" and Puff Daddy's "All About the Benjamins."
Uniondale's Busta Rhymes turned back the clock to the '90s as the buff speed rapper dusted off classics like "Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Could See" and "Woo-Hah!! Got You All In Check."
But the evening belonged to Run-DMC who took the stage by storm running through their hits "It's Like That," "Run's House," "It's Tricky" and "King of Rock" causing the dance floor to bounce like it was 1986.
"Yo … I'm almost 50-years-old! Can you believe that?" Rev. Run announced to the crowd in amazement. His partner Darryl "DMC" McDaniels comforted him saying, "Hey man, hip-hop is like rock and roll. You don't get older, you just get better!"
After Rev. Run and DMC traded rhymes back-and-forth on "Peter Piper," The Roots backed the duo on a bring-down-the-house version of "Walk This Way" closing their set.
The evening was rounded out with surprise guest spots from DJ Jazzy Jeff, De La Soul of Amityville/Massapequa, Jersey boys Naughty By Nature, Doug E. Fresh and Slick Rick.