CU Hip Hop

Like any genre of music, the arc of hip-hop’s history can be traced with predictability: beginning with the underground efforts of a few good men and eventually shifting into the mainstream spotlight before inevitably returning back to its roots. It’s the natural progression of any genre that can potentially be exploited by the music industry. Fortunately for Champaign-Urbana, the hip-hop scene is in the third stage of the progression.
Before Lupe Fiasco hits Foellinger and before T-Pain comes to Assembly Hall accompanied by none other than the “timeless” Soulja Boy, Cowboy Monkey will be host to a showcase of CU’s finest local hip-hop acts: DJ BellyBell, Text & Cypha, Corn tha Coon, Duckman, Jonah and Krukid. All distinct in their own ways, the lineup as a whole represents the ever-growing hip-hop mindset that says it’s not just the music, it’s the message.
Many of the lyrical themes of Krukid’s music reflect the political and social climate of Uganda, the country where he was born and raised – a country where hip-hop was used not to tear the party up but to give voices to those who wanted to be heard. The musical substance and overall aesthetic of hip-hop is as important as ever, but without the message, the activism present in the lyrics, the genre dilutes into a “cash cow” for the music industry and popular culture. Cypha, of Text & Cypha, sees what he does as a return to the essence of the music. Hip-hop is not a get-rich-quick scheme; there is something inherently wrong with that business model anyway.
There is a powerful new pulse coming to CU through hip-hop, and it’s being spearheaded by these few good men who want to take hip-hop back to its roots. The CU Hip-Hop event promises to be a memorable and unique experience for anyone with a passion for hip-hop or musicians who are true to their messages. The show starts at 8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 17, and there is a $6 cover.

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