Richmond may not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of hip hop. The music that most people correlate with Richmond is either punk or metal, which have always been thriving communities here, and done very well nationally. Hip hop, on the other hand, seems to wax and wane.
Richmond may not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of hip hop. The music that most people correlate with Richmond is either punk or metal, which have always been thriving communities here, and done very well nationally. Hip hop, on the other hand, seems to wax and wane. There will be a year or so of frequent dance nights and shows at various locations. The next year they drop off. Granted, part of the problem is having decent places to play, and that’s always been an issue for any underground genre. There is also the idea that hip hop is only about violence and has nothing intelligent to say. As with any genre, you have themes that relate to the basest nature, but it’s not the rule. Regardless of misconceptions and lack of venues, hip hop won’t die here. Here are some of the folks keeping the flame alive.
Let’s start off with the Concice Records camp. They’ve been operating for about four years now, and release some of the better underground/backpackers style of hip hop. Concice just released The Divine Profitz sophomore album The P, as well as The Generals album Homeland Security, which is the collaborative effort of various local MCs. In house DJ and promoter Swerve 36 puts on an old school hip hop/funk DJ night every third Thursday at the Triple, and has a New Talent Showcase coming up August 28th. He also recently released a collaboration CD with Martin Reamy from the Jazz Poets Society. It’s called Old Dude-Socks, Slippers and Sweatpants and is for the breaks lovers. He’ll also be releasing a DJ mix called Old Grandad-100 Proof this fall. For information: www.myspace.com/conciserecords.
When speaking of talent showcases, one has to mention Crown Prince Universal. He will be putting on his bi-annual event Richmond’s Got Talent on October 11th 2009 at the Holiday Inn Select. The event is a showcase for established artists in multiple genres. Everything from folk to hip hop to rock has been represented during the event. They are especially looking for some reggae acts to perform this year. Grand prizes include interviews and music debuts on 3 radio stations, and a free commercial running on 92.1FM. You can contact Crown Prince Universal at www.crownprinceuniversal.com or 640-3402 for more information, or to submit your music.
The Double Standard Crew are putting on a monthly event at Cous Cous called My Prerogative on the First Friday of every month and it’s an old school hip hop dance party. They also have a radio show over at WDCE 90.1 FM called “In the Groove” every Saturday from 7pm to 9pm, if WDCE’s schedule is to be believed, but it’s not current, so don’t blame me if you miss it. You can find mixes and information at www.doublestandarcrew.com.
I probably don’t need (or want too) mention the big radio stations here in Richmond. They are easy to find. What you should know about are the smaller, local stations that have hip hop shows.
First off is the Mighty, Mighty WRIR-LP 97.3 FM, a local Non-Profit radio station. There are three shows to check out. First is “The All-Nighter Show” with Big Em. His show comes on Thursday night (Friday Morning) from 3am to 6am. His show is a mix of underground, local, and bigger name hip hop and R&B artists. Second, we have man-about-town Mikemetic, who’s been around Richmond doing events for years. His show comes on every Sunday night 1am to 3am. He does a tight mix of hip hop and electronica. Third is This Modern Beat with Christian B (full disclosure – this is my show) putting on a mix of mostly underground hip hop, with electronica, funk and soul mixed in. This show is on every Friday night 7 to 9pm. For these and the other great programming go to www.wrir.org.
WNRN 103.1 is a Charlottesville, VA station that has a translator in Richmond. Their hip hop show is on every night from 10pm to 2am. www.wnrn.com
The Richmatic Crew has been throwing events for years at various locations throughout the city. Their recent home is at The New York Deli, where they have a monthly event every second Friday of the month. The next one is September 12th. Check them at www.myspace.com/richmatic
Now I’d like to direct you to some local emcees you’ve probably haven’t heard of……yet. If some of these kids don’t make it in the music industry, I’ll know that the industry has nothing to do with talent.
First up is Tommy Tec, coming up out of the Northside, I believe. Every new single I hear is better than the last. Bypassing typical, negative hip hop lyrics, he still keeps it real about where he comes from and where he’s going. Re-Energized is his most recent single and if the song doesn’t do just that for you, then you are dead. He won’t be releasing his debut album until the fall, but you can check out his fire at www.myspace.com/tommytec.
Fish Da Don has been at it for 10 years now. I caught him in April’s Richmond’s Got Talent Showcase where he won the top prize in the 18 and over category. His show was hilarious and entertaining, which had the crowd loving him. He takes a unique approach to the regular themes in hip hop and twists them around while keeping it simple. He’s also from the Northside. Find him here at www.myspace.com/fishdadon.
I also witnessed another emcee that day at the Richmond’s Got Talent Showcase who brought so much fire and energy, I’m still amazed she didn’t win first place. Nineteen year-old Ms.Proper couldn’t be stopped and blew me away with her old-school style and energy. You can find her music here at www.myspace.com/msproperdaceo. Catch her now before she’s gone.