The first two “Pass the Mic” shows from DJ Cassidy counted as veritable mic-drops for fans of vintage R&B and hip-hop, bringing epic medleys that brought stars from Earth, Wind and Fire to Doug E. Fresh back to reprise a verse or two of their classic hits in a dance-music collage. “Volume Three” is premiered Tuesday night, zeroing in on the late ’80s/early ’90s nexus of R&B history.
In additon to the legendary TLC, other great artists taking part in the exclusively virtual performance include Boyz II Men, Joi of Jade, K-Ci of Jodeci, En Vogue, SWV, Keith Sweat, BBD and Shanice, to name but a few.
DJ Cassidy points to the number of women who were triumphing, separately and collectively, in the late ’80s and beyond as proof of the health and wealth of R&B at that time.
“I haven’t left my house in over four weeks, since I’ve been working on ‘Volume Three’,” Cassidy says to Variety. “It’s the greatest thing I’ve ever assembled in my DJ career.”
The DJ mentions that 15 No. 1 Billboard hits from that time frame will be included, as newly sung on camera by the original artists, with a total of 23 well-remembered songs covered in one 37-minute swoop. The fact that he has 43 individuals showing up to do those 23 songs suggests that there are a good deal of groups involved in this one — not all of them female — so you can take from that whatever lineup clues you might.
“‘Weak,’ my favorite SWV song, you just feel it down your spine. I know everyone’s going to go, “Oh s—, Coko.” She’s singing. And then right before the chorus, I bring on Taj and I bring on Lelee, and then each one is singing their harmony note and they’re all in their own box. And it shows you how great they are, because literally it sounds like they were doing it together. With these groups, I raised the volume of the harmonies, which you might not hear so prevalent in the mix of a final song, but I made them so you can hear everyone.
With TLC, T-Boz comes on first and then I go ‘Chilli, take them to the bridge’ — just those moments of when you’re not sure if you’re getting the whole group and then you get ‘em are amazing.”
“The great thing about this, unlike an awards show or an episode of ‘Saturday Night Live,’ is that it only gets better with time. The live event is a fun way to get people in the chat room and talking about it and people going crazy about ‘Oh my God, who’s coming next.’ But once you put it up then it really starts to be to passed around, it takes on a life of its own.”
You catch watch the full episode of ‘Pass The Mic Volume Three’ on DJ Cassidy’s Instagram.