Tonight is a big one for any of you out there who consider yourself a fan of hip-hop/rap/urban/whatever-the-hell-you-want-to-call-it; the Canopy Club will host The Mic Strikes Back (a subsidiary of 4Ward: Hip-Hop Appreciation Week). From 7:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m., you will be able to witness a marathon of music from some of the biggest names in both local and national indie-hop. Catch-all backing band The Sugargliders (ladies, take note of that ridiculously talented drummer) will be featured during a set from locals Krukid, Cornbread, Jonah and Text. Look for the Gliders (made up of some of the area’s best young musicians) to appear behind other artists throughout the evening as they’ve quickly become the band that has the “yeah, sure we can play your song” mentality (and the ability to pull it off). Other acts slated to perform over the course of the evening: Braille (Portland, Ore.); Twilight Sentinels (Indianapolis, Ind.); AMS (Agent Mos) (Champaign, Ill.); Ro-Knew (Chicago, Ill.) and many more. The night will close with a performance from S-Preme and the UC Hip-Hop All-Stars, which will certainly cause pandemonium. The cover for this event is a ridiculously low $7. If you arrive at the start of the show and stay for the whole thing, you get away with $1 an hour for a fantastic show. So put down the iPod, grab your friends and head to the Canopy. Or stop listing hip-hop when people ask what kind of music you like. If you’re skipping this show, that isn’t true. As Coolio so immortally put it, “It really don’t matter if you’re black or white.” Seriously, even my lame, Coolio-quoting ass would be welcome at this show.
4Ward: Hip-Hop Appreciation Week isn’t only about Thursday’s Canopy Club show, though. The event, organized by the Urbana-Champaign Hip-Hop Congress, is a week-long mini-fest with themed events. Star Wars catches the most mimicry with the previously mentioned The Mic Strikes Back, along with a show that already happened on Tuesday (A New Dope; all about emcees) and Friday’s Revenge of the DJ, taking place at (of all places) the Illini Media Building. From 9 p.m. to 2 a.m., the fourth floor of the buzz’s home will be transformed into a club packed with outstanding DJs. Hometown hero (as the poster states) DJ Bozak (recently seen scratching over Portishead songs at the Great Cover-Up) will share the tables with DJ D-LO (Big Asian, New York City — per the poster), DJ Limbs (Turntable Arsonist, Chicago), DJ Spinnerty (Bay-Area Artisan, San Francisco), DJ Frza (Robot Renegade, Downers Grove) and Low-End Theorists (Audible Assault, Chicago). Someone went to a lot of trouble to make that poster — might as well get some recognition. All signs point to this event being all ages, and the cover is only $3.
The fun continues Saturday when License To IL takes over Illini Union rooms A, B and C. What’s License To IL all about, you’re asking? It’s a five-on-five dance crew battle. The battle itself will start at 5 p.m. with DJs Skeme Richards and Franco De Leon, but the event itself will start at noon. Workshops will run on the hour featuring Check It (Chicago Tribe; noon), Roxrite (Renegades; 1 p.m.) and Machine (Zulu Kings; 2 p.m.). Those three will also serve as judges for the battle. Space for these workshops is limited, so arrive early. You can email floorlovers@gmail.com for more info. Students can get in for $7 with non-students on the hook for $10. The grand prize is a cool $1,000 cash, along with custom-made medals! Myself, Seth Fein, Ryan Groff and Mike Armintrout are planning on battling, but we need a fifth with usual crew member Brett Sanderson being on the road with Headlights and unable to fly in for Saturday’s event. If you are interested, please contact Seth, care of the Canopy Club.
Looking for more information about this week devoted to hip-hop awareness? Never fear! You can head to uchiphop.com or floorloversillinois.blogspot.com. A cool viral campaign idea for this event that was sadly overlooked? A cheap Star Wars Flash scene featuring the ability to paste participating emcees’ and DJs’ heads onto the heads of characters in the scenes. Think of the possibilities! Krukid as Lando! Bozak as Boba Fett! Matt Harsh as Vader! The Sugargliders as the Cantina Band! Seriously, can someone get on this?

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