“It’s the Remix Baby,” Milwaukee Hosts 2nd Annual Hip-Hop Week
Hip-Hop Democracy fell over Milwaukee as the city hosted its second Annual Hip-Hop Week MKE 2019. From local artists to legends, Milwaukee showed out for events and performances rooted in Hip Hop through the lens of health, civic engagement and financial literacy.
Ald. Khalif Rainey said Hip Hop Week was a way to intertwine the issues artists were rapping about with the resources Milwaukee and Hip Hop had to offer.
“We’re really just taking the platform beyond celebrating the culture. We want to put the medicine in the peanut butter, so to speak, and get people to think differently about the issues,” Ald. Rainey said during his Breakfast Club interview.
After hosting Hip Hop’s originator, Kool Herc, last year, Ald. Rainey reached out to another Hip Hop heavy hitter. Dave Mays, “The Source” founder, was instantly on-board after hearing what Hip Hop Week MKE was about.
“It’s the first city devoted to the culture and demonstrating how Hip-Hop can be a force in the community. It was part of our DNA as the movement and the culture grew in the 80’s and the 90’s, and we kind of got away from that,” Mays said.
Hip Hop Week MKE 2019 ran from Aug. 19-25 and included a list of events spanning from hands-on turntable classes with DJ Tony Touch to discussing health with Stic Man of Dead Prez.
Along with health and job fairs, Hip Hop Week brought in DJ Envy from the Breakfast Club to talk about investing in real estate during a mini-seminar at Gees Clippers on Aug. 23.
“What if Charlamagne said something so vulgar we got fired, or if Angela Ye said something too sexual and we were booted from the show? I needed a second stream of income that would always be coming in and I didn’t have to be doing anything,” DJ Envy said.
He said it starts with investing in oneself. Whether it‘s holding off on that new pair of Jordan’s or skipping a night out, once people begin investing in smaller local properties, they will reap the benefits.
“I’m looking for the worst properties ever. I’m looking for bed bugs and roaches. I’m looking for anything you can possibly find, needles, drugs, blood, anything. Why? Because those are the properties nobody wants and I can get cheaper.”
He said once a house is gutted, the structure is usually sound. Whether owners want to pay taxes and cut the lawn, or renovate and rent, anything’s possible. He said it was ultimately about those who were willing to do their homework.
Hip Hop Week also went to the polls with Geto Boys rapper, Brad “Scarface” Jordan.
The legendary emcee is running as a common council candidate for District D in the upcoming Houston election.
He stopped by the Wisconsin Black Historical Society on Aug. 24 to talk about his decision to run and how to inspire others to do the same.
“I noticed that of the 48 years that I’ve been here, I’ve seen the same picture every time I left the neighborhood and came back. Nothing was ever done different, and I was tired of seeing my people in this situation all across this country,” he said.
He said it came down to getting people out to vote, and being able to get people to put their interests first when choosing a candidate. He also said that everybody must work harder at addressing one of the biggest elephants in the room: racism.
“If voting didn’t mean anything, then it wouldn’t be so hard for us to do so,” he said.
Hip Hop Week also opened the stage to local acts and music media.
Nile came through with an electrifying 30-minute set on The HOP, while it was making its rounds Downtown.
“The HOP wanted people to get a live show while it was moving, and I was the first one to do it,” Nile said. “I’ve never done anything like this, and it’s actually one of the biggest accomplishments to perform on a moving train in front of people who care about Hip Hop.”
88 Nine gave fans a chance to be part of a live audience for a “bonus” episode of the highly acclaimed “Back Spin” podcast series. The series follows DJ Bizzon and Justin Barney, 88 Nine Music Director, through Milwaukee’s Hip Hop history.
Breaking & Entering Milwaukee hosted the Hip Hop Week Showcase at the Cactus Club on Aug. 23. The card featured Mudy, Nile, Twan Mack, Larry Bull and Jaecar.
“This is our second year with Hip Hop Week, and we appreciate the initiative of what Ald. Rainey’s team is trying to do within the city. Our specific focus is with local music of all genres, but giving Hip Hop a chance to shine is truly reflective on our readership and fellow Milwaukeeans,” said Allen Halas, Breaking & Entering founder.
Although Megan Thee Stallion had to postpone her Aug. 22 show for Sept. 5 at the Rave, there were plenty of other amazing local female performances at the All Ladies Show Curated by B~Free at the Marcus Performing Arts Center.
Corey Pieper, Shle Berry, Jazzaveli and DJ Nu Stylez blessed the Beerline Trail in Milwaukee’s Riverwest neighborhood, while Scarface, Bun B, Mystikal, Devin the Dude, Coo Coo Cal and Benny the Butcher rocked the Rave for the Hip Hop Legacy awards.
Hip Hop fans flocked to The Rave over the latter part of Hip Hop weekend for the Hip Hop Legacy Museum and a show by New Orleans natives and “2 Phones” extraordinaire, Kevin Gates. Coo Coo Cal, Baby Drew, Ray Nitti, Ray Rizzy, Adi Armour and Cigarette Break closed out the week for the Summer Jam Band Bazaar at Mr. J’s Lounge.
“The idea that music is just entertainment really isn’t true because we can use Hip Hop as a vessel to spotlight areas of concern in our communities and challenged areas,” said Ald. Milele Coggs. “Mark my words, there’s going to be other cities trying to do Hip Hop Week just the way we do it.”