Hip-hop stars have found a new muse: The Bronx Zoo.
Grandmasters Melle Mel and Caz have recorded an original song for the Bronx Zoo called “Animals and MCs” in honor of the zoo’s “Boogie Down” event this month that will celebrate street art, hip-hop and conservation.
As an elephant trumpets in the background, the duo raps:
“This aint your grandpa’s zoo/ new developments/ we got a whole lot more than just elephants/ lions, tigers, bears, giraffes, elephants, owls, eagles, boas, alligators, penguins, zebras, gorillas, crocodiles, butterflies, rah!”
The song debuted on Monday ahead of the Boogie Down, set for April 21 and 22 and on weekends from May 5 to June 3.
Artists and performers from the Bronx will be in attendance each weekend, including hip-hop pioneers (Melle Mel and Scorpio from the Furious 5, The Sugarhill Gang, Caz), who will teach you how to scratch and create an eight-meter rhymeworld-class; DJs (Sammy, Jazzy Jay, C Styles, Lady Love and Jazzy Joyce); and performers, such as break-dancer Rockafella, Bomba Yo, doo-wop group Rock Steady, the Luis Damon salsa band, the Mighty Bengal Step Team from PS 55, the Dynamic Rockers Crew and the Hip-hop Dance Conservatory. Street artists, Tats Cru (Bio, Nicer, BG 183), Crash (John Matos), Andre Trenier, Giz, Menace 2, Resa Piece and more will create wildlife works on the zoo’s Astor Court.
If the event wasn’t already cool enough, the animals themselves will be creating their own art, which will then be transformed and completed by street artists in front of guests.
Many animals regularly paint as part of an enrichment program, according to the zoo. In the past, its otters, capuchin monkeys, boas and gorillas have had their paintings finished by artists.
The zoo’s Boogie Down is an effort to honor the borough, widely recognized as the birthplace of rap, and the legends that emerged from it, as well as get people into the zoo to spread awareness about wildlife conservation.
For the full schedule, visit bronxzoo.com/boogie-down.