Over a year ago, I was on my WesternPAJuggalos.com message board and proclaimed “Where’s the hip hop in Pittsburgh?” in my vain attempts at finding someplace for our little rap group to play. And finally, I think I found a few promising places.
Now, granted, CRAP isn’t your “typical” hip hop/rap group. Hell I don’t even know what to call us. Alternate Rap is about all I can think of. I don’t know how we’re going to roll with these groups we’re booked with the next couple months, but I’m definitely not afraid to try. Every opportunity to get on stage and rock a mic is worth it. But with the friends we had, we ended up on a number of shows with other “white boy rappers” from the area over the past year and a half, such as No Clue, MCK, Triggga, and of course our friends in Twisted Thoughts, including Dr. Espling, our official “producer”. And I think getting the 15-ish shows we’ve had at this point help.
If you’re a rock band, you have an easier time, it seems. There are plenty of bars playing scores of rock. From cover bands, to Blackmarket Bodyparts-style metal. 31st St Pub, Battle of the Bands shows, all kinds of opportunities. Twisted Thoughts ended up doing bar shows with these kinds of bands half the time, it seems, because there was no one else even close to like them until we all started doing shows together.
hkan Hip Hop and Hookah Series
I heard of this before, but was very iffy about it. But when Basick Sickness took over running Pittsburgh’s only weekly hip hop showcase, we actually made contact when he contacted me at my WPAJ address about posting some info. A couple cordial emails later, we were finding ourselves putting together a 5 year WPAJ Anniversary show. Granted, the hkan typically doesn’t run “our style” of rap, we came and had a good time. It’s a small, clubby venue, but it’s something else when that room is full of people digging your shit and everything’s just crazy, as I witnessed the week before our show.
Hip Hop Buffet Series
This one is put together by Da ButtonPusha. An 8 show series running April-December, in conjunction with her contacts at Pittsburgh’s cable access channel, PCTV. This seems to be a great opportunity, get your stuff on TV, another showcase for hip hop music in the area. They record the shows, put it on DVD, and there’s a chance to get your name out there.
What else can you do?
Really, aside from things like this, artists really just need to band together and start putting their own shows together. Bring a showcase of groups up to Mr. Smalls and promote the hell out of it. Find a Fire Hall you can rent/book and build a show. Find someone with a field and build your own SauceStorm or Sorgstock type event. Everyone says this is the only surefire way to make sure you’re playing in front of someone.
That’s something I’m hoping to build with my friends in N.E.S. and emcee lb, and perhaps another on the horizon, if all goes well. Whether we end up putting these guys under the Deface Family banner, or not, doesn’t really matter. It just matters we all work together to reach all of our goals. And there’s always Dr. Espling, who’s not nearly done with his musical endeavors. I’ve never seen someone so intent on picking up the pieces and moving on when a venture falls through for him. He’s had partners come and go and stays the same, and keeps rolling.
And one can’t discount the efforts by our friends in No Clue and MCK. These guys are obvious that when I set up an event, they do whatever they can to make sure it happens on their part. From Psychopathic J going over the top with the blood at Sorgstock, to MCK helping us get our Release Party and ‘stock running smooth with the sound. Amazing guys, all of them.