The city’s weekend celebration of the genre’s half-century mark starts with a star-studded, hip-hop show at The Pyramid Scheme hosted by Sixman. Get the lowdown at Local Spins.
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With origins dating back to the early 1970s, hip hop made its way from basements in The Bronx to the top of the charts.
Today, hip hop has permeated American culture, transcending beyond a genre into a lifestyle, making it hard to picture a time when it wasn’t ubiquitous.
Over 90 million Americans listen to hip hop. Its influence has even spread to other genres such as rock ‘n’ roll and country.
Amid growing recognition for hip hop’s compelling literary qualities, genre superstar Kendrick Lamar even won a Pulitzer Prize in 2018 for his album, “Damn.,” with the Pulitzer committee calling it “a virtuosic song collection unified by its vernacular authenticity and rhythmic dynamism that offers affecting vignettes capturing the complexity of modern African American life.”
To commemorate the 50th anniversary of hip hop later this week, artists and listeners around the world will celebrate with performances and showcases that honor its cultural impact.
Grand Rapids will join the festivities with several weekend events, starting with a star-studded “Hip Hop 50th Anniversary Music Festival” show at 7 p.m. Friday (Aug. 11) at The Pyramid Scheme.
The evening will include beatboxers, DJs, graffiti artists, rap battles and performances from a number of regional artists. The lineup includes Sixman, Nappy Head Assassins, Manchild, JRob, Loudchief and Wuzee, among others. Tickets may be purchased in advance for $20 online here. Doors open at 6 p.m.
HIP HOP: ABOUT COMMUNITY AND COLLECTING DONATIONS FOR FEEDING AMERICA
The show is facilitated by Jimaine Darnell Wilson, an Atlanta-based artist originally from Grand Rapids who performs under the stage name Sixman. Wilson was nominated for Artist of the Year and Song of the Year at last year’s WYCE Jammie Awards.
“Hip hop has been around as long as a lot of us have been in love with hip hop,” Wilson says. “Hip hop turns 50, and it’s important to celebrate it and give it its proper respect. It means so much, and it’s done so much for so many lives.
“It’s been a catalyst for so many changes amongst the world. Hip hop brings together different communities, different sides and different races. Hip hop is about community.”
In addition to honoring hip hop, the concert aims to collect non-perishable food donations that will be distributed by Feeding America. Other sponsors include WYCE, Noxx and Vitales.
“You’re going to see 10 different artists from the Grand Rapids hip hop community perform,” Wilson said.
“We’ve got five incredible DJs that will be spinning and giving you their flavor because, you know, with hip hop, not only is the emcee important, but the DJ is just as important. So you’ll get to see different elements of hip hop all night, as well as me closing out with a big, big, big show.”
He added: “We’re asking people to bring a non-perishable item, which goes to Feeding America and back out to the community of West Michigan to help feed those in need.
“When hip hop started out in 1973 with DJ Kool Herc and Cynthia Campbell, not only did they create the first hip hop jam, but they also did a fund-raiser to raise money and get clothes for kids going back to school over in New York, so we wanted to be in the same spirit.”
Read more about Grand Rapids’ upcoming anniversary celebrations for hip hop on Wednesday, when we showcase Saturday’s One Peace Hip Hop Fest through the words and vision of organizer Monk Matthaeus.
VIDEO: Grand Rapids’ 50tth Anniversary of Hip Hop Celebration
VIDEO: Sixman, “Common Linage (feat. Aphro)”
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