What: Hip-Hop Harambee
Who: Talib Kweli with live band, Sims of Doomtree, Big Zach, Manny Phesto and many more
When: 2 p.m., Saturday,
Where: Nomad World Pub Parking Lot, 501 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis
Cost: $10 in advance; $15 at the door
It’s been five years since the last Twin Cities Celebration of Hip-Hop festival, and as the festival remains on hiatus, the upcoming Hip-Hop Harambee block party has come to take its place.
BeSceneMpls founder and former University of Minnesota student Jake Heinitz put this event together, not only to celebrate hip-hop, but to bring people together in a celebration of “we.”
Harambee (pronounced huh- ’rawm-bay) is a Swahili word meaning “pull together” or “working together in unity.”
Local hip-hop pioneer and Harambee performer Zach Combs, aka Big Zach, said he believes in Heinitz’s concept.
“It’s important to have a hip-hop community rather than a hip-hop scene, because large concerts stopped coming here,” Combs said. “The hip-hop community still supports the local community so we still have parties and shows. Without a community, we would just have to wait for shows to come to town.”
Vocalist and hostess for the event Alicia Steele explained why Minnesotans aren’t stuck at home waiting for Snoop Dogg’s next visit to town.
“We love music a lot. We love art in Minneapolis,” she said. “We aren’t waiting for anybody; we’re doing it [ourselves] anyway. That feels like our motto: ‘We’re doing it anyway.’”
The block party will include performances by a variety of artists ranging from roots-inspired musician Mankwe to electro soul group Lizzo and Larva Ink. Big-time emcee Talib Kweli is headlining in addition to the local acts because Heinitz believes in the importance of a well-balanced hip-hop diet.
“The local people are like the meat and potatoes of the scene and those other people come to town and spice things it up a bit, kind of like a dessert, but you need your meat and potatoes first before you can have your dessert,” Heinitz said.
Steele said she feels privileged to host an event with her favorite performers on the bill. She’s been sneaking into hip-hop shows since she was 16 and isn’t afraid to be stuck in a crowd of men a lot taller than her at concerts.
She said she believes this event is part of a very exciting future for local hip-hop artists, including upcoming younger emcees like Mike the Martyr and the dudes from Audioperm.
“Young people have the most creative minds because the world is open to them,” Steele said.
This jazz vocalist even has a strong appreciation for those Northside kids behind the viral “Hot Cheetos & Takis” video.
“Those Hot Cheetos & Takis kids are dope, and they have bars for real,” she said.
Steele’s only complaint is that she would prefer a healthier treat, and might just have to come back at young emcees with her own version titled “Bell Peppers and Kale,” which we can only hope will drop at this weekend’s block party.
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