Madison’s 6th Annual Hip Hop Awards to Take Place This Saturday
by Rob Franklin
Hip Hop and it don’t stop. The 6th Annual Madison Hip Hop Awards will take place on Saturday, November 7th at The BarrymoreTheatre.
The event is sponsored by the Urban Community Arts Network (UCAN). The awards show is an effort made by the organization to bring the positivity of hip hop to the Madison community.
“UCAN has worked in schools to use Hip-Hop as a literary form that interfaces with fields of study including science, music and history,” said UCAN member Pacal Bayley, better known as DJ Pain
“We throw a summer concert series that is free to the public but, through various grants, pays artists to perform. We also host a large music conference at Madison Media Institute for local artists to learn from music industry professionals in hopes of developing sustainability in the arts on a local level,” he continued.
The awards show is the centerpiece of UCAN’s activities list. The event gives not only artists recognition, but is an opportunity to bring people from all walks of life together for a festive evening.
“The purpose of the awards show is to highlight the extensive talent in the local Hip-Hop scene,” said UCAN member Karen Reece- Phiffer. “It is also to show the City of Madison that the Hip-Hop community unifies in a powerful and positive way while giving back to others to build a better Madison.”
There will be 17 different awards being passed out at the show. Some of the categories include Artist Of The Year, DJ Of The Year, and Mixtape Of The Year as well as Video Of The Year and Rookie Of The Year. The high number of awards is a testament to the hard work of the hip hop scene, which often only gets attention when there is drama involved.
“In my last almost 10 years being here I think we have more all-around talent than ever before,” said UCAN member Mark ‘Shah’ Evans. “The only thing that is holding artists back is the ability to grow and learn because the scene is being put in such a corner that barely gets any light,” he continued.
While honoring the efforts of artists within the scene, UCAN has also made a point of celebrating community through its philanthropic efforts. Each year, the organization has given a portion of the awards show proceeds to a community organization in the name of hip hop. This year, UCAN will be donating to the East Madison Community Center.
“UCAN has collaborated with the EMCC break dance program in the past through Sashe Mishur,” Bayley said. “It’s a program that supports artistic development in a Hip-Hop art form. That’s central to UCAN’s mission. Also, the dedication of the EMCC staff and the impact of the program are undeniable.”
“EMCC Madison Breakers is another program that demonstrates the true essence of Hip-Hop marrying the elements of the B-boy/B-girl and the DJ. This program developed completely organically and draws dozens of kids from the ages of 6-18. As breakers get older and more experienced, they act as teachers and mentors to the younger kids. This program operates on a shoestring budget and we want to help them get the resources they need to strengthen and grow their program. They use funds for things like meals for each practice session and transportation for battles,” she said.
Performers at this year’s show include Trilogy, Play Fair Cypher, Amy Alida, King Kronos and the EMCC Breakers. There will also be a showing video of Mad-City Mic Club Cyphers again this year.
“I’m looking forward to them all,” said Bayley, whose production credits list is packed thick with artists ranging from Jeezy and Ludacris to Public Enemy and MC Lyte. “I’m a big fan of Trilogy especially, but the EMCC breakers can really turn up.”
UCAN’s efforts have definitely turned up the scene and no doubt will continue to do so.
“The scene has ups and downs that really affect the ability of artists to build sustainable community, develop artistically, and shine on the regional and national levels,” said Reece-Phiffer. “We have had a few venues that will book local Hip-Hop over the past year or two, but it’s usually what venue owners deem as ‘safe’ Hip-Hop, which means we don’t see much diversity on stages. UCAN has been working hard to get the City and venue owners united so we can build an equitable performance scene. Since the City of Madison has a dedicated Racial Equity and Social Justice Initiative, equity in arts and entertainment falls right in line with what the City states as its goals,” she explained.
The Red Carpet at the Barrymore begins at 7 pm with the awards ceremony beginning at 8 pm. Tickets are $10 and may be purchased at the door.
And it don’t stop!