Last year's inaugural Arizona Hip Hop Festival drew thousands of people to Comerica Theatre and featured around a hundred artists, all from the Copper State.
The festival is on again this year. Mark your calendar for Saturday, November 14, again at Comerica.
This year's festival plans to increase the scope of last year's gala, which itself was a massive undertaking. There will be four stages, upgraded sound, a map of all the performances, and a producer showcase, focusing on the people making the beats behind the music. There will be pop-up shops and more than 100 vendors, as well as dancers and DJs, according to event organizer JustUs Samuel of Respect the Underground.
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Last year's festival brought together a diverse range of hip-hop artists. From Mike Bogumil's write-up of the event:
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While the outside stage had more of an old-school, kind of conscious vibe, the inside stages had more of an intense party vibe. A lot more calls to "turn up" inside than outside.
And I think that gradation of contemplative to celebratory is a good thing. Hip-hop is democratic; it's supposed to encompass almost infinite perspectives because it is about the individual. It is also, simultaneously and unparadoxically, about the community. The lone rapper, the breakdancing crew, the dudes rapping about sipping lean and partying only exist with people who support them and people who challenge them. The biggest accomplishment of the Arizona Hip Hop Festival may be that they managed to get all these perspectives under one roof, coexisting, cohabitating, commingling. If we view a culture as a wide collection of different experiences, traditions, and worldviews, I think it's safe to say that the culture was back, at least for the night.
An announcement of the lineup will drop in the next few weeks.