What's Up With `Ville Hip Hop?

By Kimberly Cecil

There is a movement happening in town and I'm sure you want to jump on it. It's a hip hop revolution and it's only just begun. From major artists to the independents we don't know about yet, Louisville is - yes - on the record label map. The new culture and scene has erupted into a full-time job for some in the music industry. There are more promoters bringing hip hop national Artists, more newspapers to report the rising upswing of hip hop, more record stores selling independent music and definitely more hip hop artists selling their CDs on the streets to pay their bills.

Could it be true that major record labels are coming to the `Ville to scoop up the Midwest flava we have? I've talked with several A&R reps from Universal, Sony and Jive and believe me, it's a go. The trend has already been manifested with the signing of artists Static, Native and Nappy Roots. Louisville artists have dreams of a famous future but were in the dark compared to New York or LA. Now several systems have been placed to give each hip hop artist a fair shot in a saturated national market. Sony Urban, a division of Sony Records, will be searching the United States looking for some of the best in the country. Louisville. Made their twenty-city showcase series list. Sony Urban will be flying A&R executives from New York to Louisville in May to find musical, hip hop rappers and producers to sign. This is a turning point for hip hop in our city.

The Louisville Musicians Industry Alliance (LMIA) will host showcases every month for R&B/hip hop at O'Malley's. Hip hoppers will have a chance to promote and spin in several venues they were never able to before. With Sony coming and professionals now working in the metro area, artists can finally tighten up the skills needed to land the right label deal and make money.

Unfortunately, there is a stigma associated with hip hop in our city that has been widely denounced as dangerous. However, things are changing in a positive way for our city with respect to hip hop. There have been successful events where no fights have started and others where the audience was happy at the turn of events at sold-out concerts. Hip hop is a culture, a way of life, and those who can't handle some of the grimy, gutta lyrics and true life stories in detail need not embark on such a life style. Things will happen just because... it's not because of hip hop.

Some may ask: what can I do to contribute to the `Ville hip hop scene? Just support, look and listen. Buy a CD from an artist not yet signed to a major label. Go to a show that boasts indie performances; it could feature the next Ludacris or Jay Z in da house. Just because our Louisville rappers aren't on the cover of XXL or the Source magazines doesn't mean the talent isn't as raw or tight as the so-called heavyweights of the industry. Everybody has to start from somewhere.

"The Industry Lounge," an entertainment educational television show on public access that I produce, is a show to help aspiring artists learn the ropes in this industry.

This year in the `Ville hip hop scene, savvy rappers should get as much exposure as they humanly can. Two thousand-four is definitely it, with national acts performing here every month, P. Diddy rumored to come, Jay Z slated to arrive, Twister to tear it up and locals mixing it up with major, platinum producers. How can we not have a scene to rival the larger cities?

* If you any questions or comments or know of any upcoming R&B or hip hop events please email me: PrincessK@louisvillemusic.net