Thursday 24 Apr

IndianGiver - Understudies

There’s a difference between being derivative and being inspired by something, a line a lot of artists can’t seem to find — or at least don’t care to.
04/22/2014 | Comments 0

Dustin Prinz - Eleven

Few musicians take the time to master their instrument in the way that Oklahoma City singer-songwriter Dustin Prinz has; he’s a guitar virtuoso in every sense of the word, and Eleven gives him the chance to show just how far he can push that skill.
04/15/2014 | Comments 0

Horse Thief – Fear in Bliss

Listening to Horse Thief’s previous release — the haphazardly melodramatic Grow Deep, Grow Wild — felt like a chore. Whatever potential the Oklahoma City folk-pop act demonstrated on the EP was obscured behind a formulaic, contrived and ultimately hollow cloud. But it at least offered a glimmer of promise for a band consisting of, frankly, five pretty talented dudes. Critics saw it; the band’s management saw it; its current label, Bella Union, saw it; and its increasingly fervid fan base saw it.
04/08/2014 | Comments 0

Colourmusic — May You Marry Rich

There’s always a sense of danger when debuting songs in a live setting and playing them well. Without having heard the studio versions, expectations are set according to the live incarnations. But capturing the breadth of free-flowing atmosphere and sheer volume on a disc, vinyl or digital file isn’t the easiest thing to do, especially for a band as vociferous as Colourmusic.
04/01/2014 | Comments 0

Em and the MotherSuperiors — Churches into Theaters

As titles go, Churches into Theaters is an apt descriptor for the debut album from Oklahoma City rockers Em and the MotherSuperiors. It’s a reverential record, one that shares the gospel of classic rock, blues and soul but embraces the need to refashion it for modern times, channeling The Dead Weather, Grace Potter and Cage the Elephant along the way.
03/25/2014 | Comments 0
Home · Articles · Music · Music · Hipper than now?

Hipper than now?

While the overall genre is fraught with battles, local rap and hip-hop artists realize working together will strengthen their scene.

Stephen Carradini April 6th, 2011

Jay-Z may have 99 problems, but the Oklahoma City rap scene has only one: fragmentation.

But that’s changing, as the metro’s diverse strands of hip-hop slowly unite into a community.

“We’ve identified 600 acts statewide,” said local rap promoter Marcus Hayes. “There’s a good culture and community that is growing.”

That group doesn’t just include black males, either; Hayes noted the growing prominence of female, Caucasian, Hispanic, American Indian and even Farsi rappers around town. The rise of women in the scene is especially encouraging to him.

We can’t do it on our own, without each other.

—Cliff Red Elk

“Men are coming out to the shows. It used to be when a woman was on the bill, it was crickets. There were all these women who weren’t getting heard,” Hayes said. “We have more females getting into it and getting into production and technical aspects, mixing and mastering. And that’s pretty exciting.”

Cliff Red Elk, who performs as the city-based Red Elk, has noticed the boom in American Indian hip-hop.

“When I first did it to now, I can’t even say how many hundreds of percent it’s increased,” Red Elk said. He’s also seen the change toward community. “It’s starting to be there, more there than it’s ever been. Top artists are starting to realize that we can’t do it on our own, without each other. A nation divided won’t conquer anything.”

Oklahoma City rapper Jabee, who has performed since 2000, feels the scene is growing.

“It’s the best I’ve seen in a long time,” he said. “People are listening, and a lot of good music is being made.”

But there’s still plenty of work to be done. Rap still isn’t as mainstream in OKC culture as its proponents would like.

“It is starting to get a little more accepted, with Bora Bora doing shows,” Red Elk said. “It would be great if there were a central venue in Bricktown that everyone worked to support, so that you could go to it each weekend and hear stuff.”

According to Hayes, another problem with the current state of rap isn’t specific to the capital city.

“Rock has more of a visual aspect,” Hayes said. “I’ve been trying to encourage artists to bring props and make it a theatrical atmosphere. There have been a couple artists that took that seriously. Hip-hop shows are missing that theater element.”

He mentioned recent events in the community, like Great Day in O’City and the Miss O’City hip-hop pageant, as evidence of the genre’s growth. But a ceiling still exists; while several artists have made some noise outside of the metro, none have become nationally renowned.

“We’ve had some success, but we haven’t had that breakout pop-culture phenomenon,” Hayes said.

Added Jabee, “It takes a lot for people to smash out.”

But with a large amount of acts, a growing number of venues and increasing support for rap in Oklahoma City, that may happen sooner than later.

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