Hip-Hop Music

photo of Rapsody
FortyOnceGold

This program originally aired July 11, 2016.

Growing up in the small town of Snow Hill, N.C., Marlanna Evans, a.k.a Rapsody, wasn't exposed to much hip-hop music. She would listen to the songs her older cousins played in the car, but she didn't develop a love for rap until college.

While attending North Carolina State University, Evans helped a hip-hop culture grow on campus with a student music group that would meet in a dormitory lounge to rap battle. She eventually started making her own rhymes and met producer and Jamla Records founder 9th Wonder.

An image of Durham-based music producer 9th Wonder
Creative Silence

 

Between the beats and rhymes of every hip-hop song is a story. A rapper catches a snapshot of their experiences with the lyrics. Meanwhile, the DJ or producer often samples older songs for the beat, in turn creating a lineage of music.

A picture of J. Cole performing in London in 2011.
thecomeupshow / flickr.com/photos/thecomeupshow/6149980678/in/photostream/

This weekend, HBO will release the concert film from hip hop star J Cole's homecoming show in Fayetteville.

Cole returned a hero this summer after a tour to promote his Platinum album 2014 Forest Hills Drive. That's the address of his childhood home in Fayetteville.

Rap superstars Jay-Z and Drake took the stage at this performance.

Former Charlotte-resident Scott Lazer directed the concert film and the Road to Homecoming series leading up to the big show.

Rennie Harris Puremovement takes hip-hop dance from the street and puts it on stage.
Brian Mengini

From "krumping" in Los Angeles to "breaking" in the streets of New York City, hip-hop dance takes many shapes and styles.

Hip-hop choreographer Rennie Harris takes street dance and puts it on the stage. Harris founded Rennie Harris Puremovement in 1992, the oldest and longest running hip-hop dance touring company in the country. He tours with the company showing audiences the eclectic variations and styles of hip-hop dance.

Josh Rowsey, known as J. Rowdy on stage, is part of a Chapel Hill hip hop collective called no9to5.
Kiersten Koenig

North Carolina is known for putting hip-hop artists like J. Cole and Little Brother in the national spotlight. But back in the mid-1990s, there was not much of a hip-hop presence in the mid-Atlantic.

Kevin Thomas (Kaze) was a student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill at the time and and his on-campus group Hip-Hop Nation helped spark the local hip-hop movement. Now Thomas is teaming up with a younger generation of rappers for a new Chapel Hill hip-hop festival.

An image of jazz musician Kamasi Washington
Mike Park

Kamasi Washington is putting his mark on jazz this year in a big way, venturing outside the world of backup saxophonist to an explorative and evocative bandleader.  

Poet and Emcee G Yamazawa
gyamazawa.com

Born in Durham, North Carolina and raised by Japanese immigrants, George Masao Yamazawa, Jr. has become one of the top spoken word artists in the country.

But, along with his talents as a poet Yamazawa, better known as Yamazawa, is also evolving into a hip-hop artist and a respected emcee.

Students participate in the 2014 NC Science Festival.
NC Science Festival

What do hip-hop and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) have in common?

Mark Katz

Six international artists in North Carolina this week demonstrate that international diplomacy can come in many different forms. While many may imagine diplomats wearing business suits and sitting in conference rooms, these artists paint a drastically different picture.

True Settles (left), Joshua Weaver
Carol Jackson

There's some innovative dancing taking place in North Carolina that's not on a stage; It's in a tiny basement-level space underneath the post office on Franklin Street in Chapel Hill. Two young men, Joshua Weaver and True Settles, are teaching area kids the latest dance moves.  But when the class is over, the two crank the music really loud, and battle their friends. The goal is to out-shine,  out-innovate and out-dance the opposition. Battles can last for hours.

The DURM Hip Hop Summit poster.
DURM Hip Hop Summit

Emcees, rappers, DJs and beat producers are headed to Durham Saturday for the third annual DURM Hip Hop Summit. The day-long festival will highlight talent in the area's hip hop scene.

Kurrell Rice is one of the organizers of the event.

"There's gonna be, like, break dancing during the breaks. So you're gonna see some dude spin on his head, and then some producer's feelings get crushed because his beat didn't have enough bass in it. And then you're gonna see like one of the next stars from the area perform all on one night."

Sadie Zimet remixing the news at the Chapel Hill Beat Making Lab
Beat Making Lab

Area teens have been listening to radio news stories and remixing them with original hip hop beats. Remixing the News is a partnership between WUNC and the Beat Making Lab

The teens are  from area high schools including Chapel Hill High, East Chapel Hill High, and Research Triangle High. They met regularly after school throughout the spring and then completed a week-long summer workshop.

Beat Making Lab: Behind-The-Scenes Blog

Jul 7, 2014
Two of the teen participants in the chapel Hill Beat Making Lab
Beat Making Lab

Beat Making Lab is a project where where music artists (producers and emcees)  travel around the world teaching young people to make hip hop and electronic beats. It's run by Pierce Freelon and Stephen Levitin aka The Apple Juice Kid.

Jennah Jones is also known as DJ Twice
Beat Making Lab

Chapel Hill, NC teenager Jennah Jones is also known as DJ Twice. She's part of a project in which teens listen to NPR news stories and and create alternate versions, with original hip hop soundtracks.

Rapper interacts with contemporary art
juanobando.com

Colombian artist Juan Obando noticed a disconnect between North Carolina art museums and the communities they serve. In response, he invited local hip-hop artists to create songs that playfully critique contemporary art collections at local museums. The result is Museum Mixtape: a series of music videos shot in art museums, featuring hip-hop artists.

  

Museum Mixtape - Trailer from Juan Obando on Vimeo.

King Mez album cover
http://kingmez.com/

  

The list of nationally-acclaimed rap artists from North Carolina is getting longer each year. The rise of Little Brother, Rapsody, 9th Wonder, and J. Cole, has solidified our state's place on the map of rap history. North Carolina's latest rap incarnation is Raleigh's King Mez. His newest album "Long Live The King," is helping him emerge from a more underground rap scene. 

Hip Hop Studies is a growing field in academia led by the work of scholars like Patrick Douthit, the hip-hop producer and artist better known as 9th Wonder

Dancing the African Diaspora: Theories of Black Performance February 7-9 2014 Duke University
African-American Studies at Duke University / http://aaas.duke.edu

    

For centuries, countless dances were born out of the disbursement of African people.  Dancing The African Diaspora, a new conference at Duke University, explores dances by people of African descent.

Phive is a band based in Greensboro.
Phive, Facebook

  

Greensboro-based band Phive was previously known mainly for their work as a cover band. But they’ve expanded their sound recently, thanks in part to member Afika Nxumalo and his connection to South Africa. His mother grew up there, and her experiences helped inspire the band’s recent song commemorating Nelson Mandela’s birthday, “Madiba.”

Phive is a band based in Greensboro.
Phive, Facebook

Greensboro band Phive has released a new single dedicated to Nelson Mandela. They made the announcement yesterday on Mandela Day, the birthday of the South African leader. Phive spoke with PRI's the World from WUNC's studios in Durham. You can listen to the interview here.

Here's the music video of their new song, "Madiba."

Hip-hop culture has long captivated America, changing the way we talk, think, dress and even treat one another.  The legacy of hip-hop is both positive and negative, and that's something that North Carolina State University wants the audience to consider at this year's