With Rakim, Speech, Chuck D, Nikki Giovanni, jessica Care moore, Ravi Coltrane, Mayor Ras Baraka, The Last Poets, Javon Jackson, Sean Battle and Christian McBride Situation

Christian McBride – Musical Director

For one unmissable night, NJPAC’s City Verses program unites the leading voices in jazz, hip hop and poetry. The legendary lineup includes hip hop stars Rakim (Paid in Full), Speech (Arrested Development), and Chuck D (Public Enemy); award-winning poets and spoken word performers Nikki Giovannijessica Care moore,  Sean Battle (EvoluCulture) , Mayor Ras Baraka, and The Last Poets (Abiodun OyewoleUmar Bin HassanBabadon Babatunde); Jazz greats Ravi Coltrane and Javon Jackson; and Musical Director (and NJPAC Jazz Advisor) Christian McBride and the Christian McBride Situation. We’ll also celebrate the young poets who have participated in City Verses this year, and hear some of their incredible original work. Blaring horns and baring souls, these masterful artists exclaim their vision of justice, change, and joy.

This program is made possible by NJPAC and Rutgers-Newark’s City Verses: Elevating Voices through Jazz and Poetry initiative, funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

This unique partnership between NJPAC and Rutgers University-Newark celebrates the rich historical connection between jazz and poetry, creates opportunities for public engagement, strengthens community ties through the arts, amplifies the authentic voices of the people of Greater Newark, and engages a new generation of poets, jazz musicians and teaching artists.

Ravi Coltrane & Rakim duo performance in association with Jill Newman Productions.


City Verses is conducted in partnership with Rutgers University-Newark. Support for this program was provided by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation



Your safety is our priority. Please read about all of NJPAC’s health precautions and safety requirements before purchasing your ticket.

A fee of $1.50 has been added to all performance tickets to offset the cost of COVID-19 upgrades and maintenance for performances taking place between July 1, 2022 through December 31, 2022.

NJPAC values the safety of our audiences, artists, and staff. It regularly updates its COVID protocols and procedures based on CDC, federal, state, city, and other scientific data. NJPAC reserves the right to alter safety protocols at any time and at its sole discretion including but not limited to social distancing, vaccines/testing, masks, food service limitations, venue capacity, and entrance requirements as it deems appropriate.