Friday, August 19, 2016

"The Origins of Hip Hop: Annual event celebrates Racine's cultural diversity"

From The Journal


Graphic Illustration by Dan Talsky,, using artwork by Dee Hutch.  

"The Origins of Hip Hop event will return to Racine’s lakefront on Saturday, Aug. 20, and everyone is welcome to come share this exploration of the culture of hip-hop, from 4 to 10 p.m. at Smoke’d on the Water, 3 Fifth St.

"In its fifth year, Origins of Hip Hop aims to highlight the five primary elements of hip-hop culture: DJ-ing, emceeing, graffiti art, breakdancing/all-styles hip-hop dancing and knowledge, according to Nick Ramsey, one of the event organizers. It will do so through a series of performances, workshops and competitions, or 'battles,' which together will not only celebrate the rich culture of this music genre, but raise awareness about it.

"By learning more about hip-hop culture, people will be better able to understand it, said Ramsey, a local emcee, poet and self-described 'addict of hip-hop culture.'

"Presenters will include local performers and artists, as well as those from as far away as Milwaukee and Louisville, Kentucky. And representatives of each element will present mini workshops designed to showcase that aspect, Ramsey said. His own presentation about the art of emceeing, for example, will include information about its historical roots in ancient storytelling, as well as practical tips about everything from meter and line to mic-holding skills, he said.

"Attendees will also have opportunities to get involved in the action. Anyone interested in trying their hand at graffiti art can do so on special panels provided at the event. And area hip-hop DJs, emcees, dancers and more are invited to enter competitions in their categories, with a chance to win cash prizes. Registration for competitions is available at the event, but must be done prior to the start of each competition (See event schedule below for details).

Cultural diversity

"'This event is really about everybody — young, old, all races — getting together and celebrating cultural diversity,” said Ramsey. “The thing I am most proud of is the way the Origins of Hip Hop really represents this city.'
"Since its inception, Origins of Hip Hop has expanded its reach throughout the community to include a variety of partnerships with businesses, organizations and individuals including Black Hand Tattoo, Christi Beerntsen, the College of Art & Humanities at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside, Downtown Racine Corp., Family Power Music, the Racine Public Library, Sweatshop Movement, Willy’s Sole Kitchen and Smoke’d on the Water. In years past the event has drawn as many as 300 people, and Ramsey said organizers are expecting between 400 and 500 this time around.

"Caleb Robinson — owner of Smoke’d on the Water, who has been involved with the event since its start — said he, too, appreciates the diversity of Origins of Hip Hop.

"'What I love most about this event, is that it has such a positive feel,' Robinson said. 'It’s really about bringing people together and I wish everyone would stop down and see what it is about. Everyone is welcome.'

"Admission to the Origins of Hip Hop event is free (donations will be accepted), including all performances, presentations and competitions. Food and beverages will be available for sale at Smoke’d on the Water during the event.

"Robinson said the venue’s usual menu will be available, featuring specialities including pulled pork sandwiches and chicken wings. Origins of Hip Hop 5 T-shirts will also be available for sale, on a first-come, first-served basis.

Origins of Hip Hop 5 events

"(Schedule is subject to change)
  • 4-5 p.m. — DJ spinning old-school Hip-Hop and graffiti artists beginning their pieces
  • 5-5:15 p.m. — DJ workshop
  • 5:15-5:45 p.m. — DJ battle (DJs must register by 4:30)
  • 5:45-6 p.m. — Performance by ESCH, of Racine
  • 6-6:15 p.m. — Graffiti workshop: Pre-made backdrops will be available for people to create their own graffiti art
  • 6:15-6:30 p.m. — Performance by Sypher Lady X of Milwaukee
  • 6:30-6:45 p.m. — Breakdance workshop
  • 6:45-7 p.m. — Dancer warm-up and opportunity for attendees to try out their new knowledge
  • 7-8 p.m. — Breakdance and All-Styles dance battles (dancers must register by 6 p.m.)
  • 8-8:15 p.m. — Performance (performer TBA)
  • 8:15 — 8:45 p.m. — Freestyle Emcee Competition (emcees must register by 7 p.m.)
  • 8:45-10 p.m. — Performance by RMLLW2LLZ , of Louisville, Kentucky

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