See also: Mega Ran Drops New Project in Time for Phoenix Comicon Phoenix hip-hop collective The Writer's Guild has grown weary of the politics and standard operating procedures employed by promoters and venues around the Valley. They're tired of the lack of cohesion between musicians and the various acts that run the many sub-genres of Phoenix's rap scene.
They're over debating how best to present Arizona to the rest of the country.
In an effort to put action to their words, Mr. Miranda, MC Pennywise, Mega Ran, and RoQ'y TyRaiD have assembled a night of music to celebrate "Unity and Diversity in AZ Hip-Hop."
"The Phoenician scene is notoriously segregated into about three different microcosms: the 'top 40 hip-hop' scene, the 'underground hip-hop scene', and the 'backpacker anti-conformist scene,'" RoQ'y Tiraid says, laughing. "Since all members of Writer's Guild move throughout the different Phoenix scenes, we thought it would be a good idea to bring together all pieces of the puzzle."
The event, billed as "The Hustle," promises to show off some of the Valley's promising rappers with performances by N.A., Illustrious Few, Lakai, Span Phly, and Trap. They'll also be celebrating MC Pennywise's birthday as well as the release of N.A.'s new album, Love.Compromise.Lies.Hustle.
It all goes down tonight at Club Red in Tempe. We to discuss the implications of a supergroup that won't call itself a "supergroup."
Up on the Sun: The Hustle is being billed as a "celebration of unity and diversity in AZ Hip-Hop." Can you guys talk about you guys made this show happen?
MC Pennywise: We wanna do hip-hop shows where we as artists are in control of the format and put together an event that benefits the actual artists performing.
RoQ'y TyRaiD: I agree with Penny. Tonight's show is about taking the power away from promoters who have exploited this scene and placing it in the hands of people who actually care about the artists, the show, and nurturing and the maturation of this scene. It's about time. Shout out to promoters who are on the same wavelength as us: MattX , UM crew, Wally, and WTFunk.
Miranda: We felt that there needs to be more collaboration shows amongst different artists out here including ourselves, so we put some names together and reached out to see if they would be willing to participate in this event because it can only be a positive outcome for the scene. They were with the idea so it's going to be a night to remember.
Mega Ran: True. After doing a few different shows and making moves in the area and beyond, we decided that it was time to step out and try something new. No pay to play, just good music. We had talked about doing our own shows, and since there were lot of artists I had never seen get the stage time and opportunity we felt they deserved. MattX of Club Red offered a perfect slot for us; the timing was right and we got to work on "The Hustle."
"Armed," production by Lifted of New F-Os/G.O.O.D. Music
You talk about unity as a theme for tonight's show. Why is that important to the Arizona hip-hop community? Why has there been separation or segregation in the music community up until now?
Miranda: This show can only benefit the community by eliminating the egos and producing more of a teamwork state of mind.
MC Pennywise: Arizona hip-hop has a lot of sub genres. This show brings them all together on one stage.
RoQ'y TyRaiD: The Phoenician scene is notoriously segregated into about three different microcosms: the "top 40 hip-hop" scene, the "underground hip-hop scene," and the "backpacker anti-conformist scene" [laughs] . The common trait all three scenes share is a thirst for being the ones to bring national attention to Arizona. Since all members of Writer's Guild move throughout the different Phoenix scenes, we thought it would be a good idea to bring together all pieces of the puzzle -- show each other that we are separate but equal.
Mega Ran: Yeah, something for everybody. Separation isn't something that people try to do, it just happens over time. We just wanna shake things up a bit. We remember the Willy Northpole New Times article and the storm that started, but it raised a great point: For so many years in Arizona hip-hop, its been "this or that," "them or us." Why can't we all work together? So we wanted "The Hustle" to represent a little of this, and a little of that.
When you talk about diversity in the hip-hop scene, how is that manifested in tonight's line-up? Miranda: In tonight's line up, we have six acts with all different styles, but all represent hip hop in their own form so that is where the connection is. Each act has something new to bring to the show, therefore that is a true symbol of diversity.
RoQ'y TyRaiD: We did our best to reach out to as many people who we feel represent every aspect of the Phoenix scene. We have some of the best, brightest, buzzworthy, and respected artists from each realm. Not only are all these artists stage-tested, but each one has collaborated or associates with a great deal of their scene for us to say they "represent" that piece of the puzzle. Everyone has a voice!
Mega Rap: You'll hear hip-hop from all perspectives: the underground, the streets, the clubs. Hip-hop is universal, so I think shows should reflect that. So many different viewpoints, styles, backgrounds, all in one building. You can get all that for an affordable price. Come on son, best deal in town, hands down.
You mentioned this is the first time a lot of you are sharing the stage. Why has it taken so long to get you guys together? MC Pennywise: Lot of politics in AZ rap [laughs].
Mega Ran: Yup. Politics, stubbornness, egos, and just timing. All that, ha. We realize that you can't just say "it'd be dope if A-B-C happened" for five years and never make an effort to do it. I'm just glad we're all able to set everything else aside and just get together and have a great show for the people.
RoQ'y TyRaiD: It kind of hit everyone at the same time. We control where this ship goes and we are the captains. All it takes is communication. Most of us are friends or associates in one way shape or another. Why not?
Where do you go from here? Are you guys thinking about making these kind of collaborations a regular thing? Mega Ran: Sky's the limit. A monthly or quarterly event like this would be dope! But first things first, for that to happen, y'all have to be there! I mean you, the person reading this. Be there. Like Hollywood movies, success determines sequels. This is literally a never-before attempted event in AZ hip-hop. I'm not overstating that at all.
Miranda: Agreed with Ran. Something like this can only continue and grow if everyone supports it, so it's up to you guys at the end of the day, but I believe it would bring a lot more attention to AZ and help shine some light that's for sure.
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RoQ'y TyRaiD: As far as these type of events, of course. We'd like to bring more things like this to the table, but we'd also like to encourage our peers to do the same. We're all pushing towards personal goals but we have common interests. Why not reach out? Until we unite at the ground level, shows, this scene is not going to mature to the competitive level of the majority of the nation. Individual contribution is key. We're too big to be a "tour stop."
Writer's Guild is scheduled to perform Tuesday, July 10, at Club Red in Tempe.