On a stage outside a North Philadelphia theater where the some of greatest R&B artists once performed, Jay-Z and other members of hip-hop elite yesterday exhorted 10,000 young people to become part of history by voting for Barack Obama.

A throng of energized young people, many of them Temple University students, gathered on Broad Street between Susquehanna Avenue and Dauphin Streets at about 1 p.m. yesterday to hear rappers Jay-Z and Sean "Diddy" Combs and singer Mary J. Blige urge them to cast ballots for the senator from Illinois.

Amid raucous cheers and standing on a stage in front of the historic Uptown Theater, rap superstar Jay-Z urged the crowd to quite down to hear his message.

"I need y'all to be really really quiet for this. I need you to really understand what I'm telling you," Jay-Z said. "Rosa Parks sat so Martin Luther King could walk. Martin Luther King walked so Obama could run. Obama's running so we all can fly."

Emphasizing the need to finally put words to action after a long campaign season, the New York rapper, whose real name is Sean Carter, said, "The time has come. The time has come. We can't hold your hand anymore."

"It's time for tough love. What are you going to do? If you go out and vote for change, we win," Jay-Z said, drawing loud cheers.

Rapper and impresario Sean "Diddy" Combs, said that when he was a third grader and people asked what he wanted to be in life, he would tell them he wanted to a garbage man, though he really wanted to be president.

"I was too scared to say it because I thought I would be laughed at," Combs said. "It's a new day right now and my son is in fourth grade and when they ask him what he wants to be, now he can say he wants to be president of the United States. That's all because of Barack Obama."