i figured i will need to link this from time to time so i copied it and put it here so i can find it.
The Rap Pack
Hip-hop heads enjoy five years of residency in Bernie’s basement
by Wes Flexner
For five years now Bernie’s, the campus-area deli/dive bar and rock club, has played host to an ongoing hip-hop house party that at times has been as anarchistic as the music. A typical Sunday night includes rappers exhaling plumes of smoke as well as rhymes, graffiti writers using slight of hand to reface the scenery, breakdancers contorting in rhythm, displays of liquor-inflamed libidos and the occasional fist fight–all while hardcore boom-bap beats blast from the speakers.
RJD2, the former Columbus resident and producer/deejay extraordinaire who’s star has been on the rise, says he has “played in every shitty bar in the country, and Bernie’s is the shittiest…because it’s the grimiest.”
Copywrite, the Columbus rapper who’s being courted by several major labels including Roc-a-Fella, agrees. He jokes, “Bernie’s is rather unique because it’s the only venue that I know where you can use the bathroom without leaving the stage!”
Many notable hip-hop acts–from local talent MHz, Lip the Early Riser, Illogic, Blueprint and Spitball to out-of-state acts like Cannibal Ox, Swollen Members, Breeze Evahflowin’, C-Rayz Walls, Thirsten Howl, Akrobatik and Josh Martinez–have enjoyed the debauchery at Bernie’s.
It is that griminess as well as a laissez faire attitude that’s made Bernie’s a mainstay on the punk rock circuit, and those same qualities have made it the ideal venue for hardcore hip-hop.
The weekly event started in the spring of 1999 when DJ Self talked club owner Tony Painter into letting him alternate Sundays with Bob Sfero, a house deejay. Eventually Bob quit and Self turned the night into a weekly hip-hop event. Self soon met DJ Przm at a party and invited him to start spinning with him on Sundays. When Self left town himself a few months later, Przm took over the night.
A Detroit native, Przm claims to have moved to Columbus because he heard, “They had girls here.” He stuck around once he saw that Columbus also had a burgeoning hip-hop scene and he clicked with several artists. He’s gone on to work as a producer for Columbus’ notorious misfits Spitball and assisted Camu Tao on his hip-hop mosh-pit anthem “Hold the Floor” as well as SA Smash’s debut album for the Def Jux label.
Upon taking over the night, Przm contacted DJ Lozone. Lozone claims it was because he was “the only person in Columbus that [Self] knew with turntables and a mixer.” Besides owning equipment, Lozone also was a respected deejay who had been in Columbus turntablist crew the Vibration Society and had competed several times at the notable hip-hop fest Scribble Jam and Columbus’ Hip-Hop Expo. In early 2000, Przm and Lozone added DJ Pos 2 and host So What?! and dubbed themselves the Fonosluts.
Those initial Sundays were sparsely attended, but over time the Fonosluts’ event became one of Bernie’s staples. It even helped raise $800 in one night when the club fell on hard times in 2001.
As hip-hop has exploded in popularity nationwide, the music and culture have been embraced by a wide array of people. Sunday nights at Bernie’s are no different.
“It is a mix of everything,” So What?! says. “Punk rockers, indie-rock scenesters, breakers, Asian girls, frat boys and sorority chicks, rappers, weird graffiti kids, dreads–every different type of sub-genre of society has walked through those doors on a Sunday. I love it.”
The social traffic jam sometimes results in conflict. But though the reckless energy has gotten out of hand on occasion in the past, there are fewer fights these days.
“There have been very few incidents that have involved law enforcement,” Painter says. “Two or two and a half years ago, when things had flared up, we started prepping our doormen and having a few people undercover watching things, and that helped.”
The night has also been marred by vandalism at times, mostly as a result of attracting graffiti writers. The Fonosluts had to pay $80 a week to clean up graffiti in the club for two months in early 2002. Przm eventually took matters into his own hands. “We threatened to beat up the graffiti writers by name. I would get on the mic and tell people that I was gonna whoop their ass,” he reveals.
For awhile the discord dampened attendance. Eventually, though, the chaotic magnetism brought people back into the fold. And more often these days conflict is resolved with rap battles instead of physical fights.
Unlike more organized battles, those at Bernie’s tend to be loose and spontaneous, or “street.” Metro (of SA Smash) says he enjoys the Bernie’s style because they “are more real, no time limits on the flow, just pure unadulterated wit battles. No judges. No crowd noise meters. The traditional battle is to claim the title ‘the illest.’”
Such battles are a point of pride–even more so when outsiders don’t show proper respect to the locals. When Bruce Wayne, a member of a Los Angeles crew called Gotham Asylum, dissed Columbus from Bernie’s stage, Blueprint (of Soul Position) quickly rose to the challenge. The bar was closing so the crowd of 100-plus filtered onto the sidewalk outside. Blueprint, Metro and Spitball member Bru Lei came out victorious, and the matter was settled without violence.
“They came to ‘Cowtown’ and got served,” So What?! recollects.
“Print came off,” Pos 2 adds. “But that’s just hip-hop, man. No beefs after that.”
Over the years, Sunday nights at Bernie’s have become so popular that other events can’t compete. Phife Dawg (of a Tribe Called Quest) once scheduled a show at Club 504 on a Sunday, but few showed up.
“Some cat that was at the event and was talking to Phife Dawg’s manager told him the spot to be at was Bernie’s,” Pos 2 recalls. “Well, the pack all came down to Bernie’s ’cause no one was at his show. Bernie’s was packed, and he did a couple of tracks and an a cappella. He was very impressed.”
This anything-can-happen spirit has remained at the heart of the night. “Music is secondary at Bernie’s,” RJD2 says. “People getting cracked over the heads with pool sticks, Copywrite rapping from the perspective of an Eve poster–these things make Bernie’s so great. Hip-hop is a big moneymaker, but only a club with a punk rock background that is used to lawlessness would be patient enough in order to earn a buck.”
That may be overstating it a bit. “We give them freedom to do what they want to do,” Painter says. “But the police can come down whenever they want–and we want them to–and will check in on them. It’s not a free-for-all.”
Still, Przm feels at home. “It’s like a big-ass house party,” he says. “People like to go where they can wh’all out.”
The Fonoslut crew will throw an anniversary party, on April 11 at Bernie’s, where Spitball will perform with J.U.I.C.E, a Chicago emcee who’s famous for defeating Eminem at Scribble Jam ’97.
Lyte wants more women, less sexism in hip-hop
The OSU Hip Hop Literacies Conference runs from Wednesday (May 9) through May 11. Admission is free. To register, or for a list of activities, visit ehe.osu.edu/edtl/hip-hop-literacies.php.
Posted: Thursday, May 3, 2012 11:03 am | Updated: 11:10 am, Thu May 3, 2012.
A female rapper who has become a mentor to other women in hip-hop will give the keynote address at the 2012 OSU Hip Hop Literacies Conference, which runs Wednesday through May 11.
MC Lyte will give her keynote speech at 2:30 p.m. on the final day of the conference in the Wexner Center’s Film/Video Theater. Then, during a concert beginning at 7 p.m. in Hitchcock Hall, she’ll perform hits from her catalog, like “Paper Thin” and “Ruffneck.”
Other speakers at the event, subtitled “Globalization of Black Popular Culture,” include Harvard professor Marcyliena Morgan and Columbus producer J-Rawls.
Although Lyte still deejays and raps, the pioneer recently has taken on a mentoring role by creating a network called Hip Hop Sisters that aims to help and support women emcees, deejays, photographers, dancers, graffiti artists and journalists. During a recent interview, Lyte described the network as an attempt to create “a circle of wisdom” by allowing young girls to be mentored by hip-hop veterans such as herself.
Lyte was asked what advice she would give the current crop of female emcees, like Nicki Minaj and Azalia Banks. Lyte quipped, “Nicki Minaj has sold one-point-whatever million records, so I am not quite clear on how I could advise her.”
“As far as the upcoming artists,” she continued, “I would show them a business perspective (that deals with) performance rights, mechanical rights, publishing… How it is you can build a fan base that will stay with you forever.”
Lyte has been in the hip-hop game since 1988, so she probably knows what she is talking about.
Lyte also was asked what can be done to combat the sexism that sometimes shows up in songs by male hip-hop stars. She commented that the artists need to be “real.”
“A lot of the sexism in hip-hop are songs coming from men in somewhat committed relationships—at least in the eyes of God,” she said. “A lot of them are married and have kids.”
Lyte said male hip-hop fans should “strip the words from the music and imagine saying that to your women, your daughter, sister or mother.”
She pointed to Drake’s hit song “The Best I Ever Had” as an example of song about sex that isn’t disrespectful and is also extremely successful.
Asked what female music consumers can do to change the course of misogyny in hip-hop, she said, “They should not buy the records. They should not go to the concerts” of misogynist performers.
Obviously, this hasn’t happened yet, and Lyte had an explanation:
“There needs to be a re-educating of young girls on what they should expect from men,” she said.
K.R.I.T.’s talent is his ‘developmental tool
Posted: Thursday, May 26, 2011 10:30 am | Updated: 10:36 am, Thu May 26, 2011.
I went to Big K.R.I.T.’s show at Skully’s Friday because I wanted to peep a critically acclaimed performer. I also was curious about two developmental tools that were on display.
The first developmental tool was the local version of the “Are You Radio Ready?” contest sponsored by Pepsi, which promises airplay on 107.5 for the winner.
I’m suspicious of this, or of any effort to help someone “make it big” without putting in the proper time and effort to build one’s product. The fact that Odd Future has the No. 5 album in the country, and on an indie label, proves that grassroots DIY development still works.
When I arrived, contest finalist Meechie Nelsonwas ending his set, which led to a performance by another contest finalist, C10. Both local rap artists had energy and got a positive crowd response.
They did not torture people.
Headliner K.R.I.T then took the stage with a deejay and was backed by hype-man Big Sant. They started the set with a chant from Return of Forever, the new free album that took the Web by storm on the heels of K.R.I.T. being named an XXLFreshman of the Year for 2011. (Past freshmen include Lupe Fiasco and Wale.)
This Freshman of the Year award is the second developmental tool I was curious about. It seems to have helped K.R.I.T., but he has a lot of things going for him anyway.
K.R.I.T. is on Def Jam and has an accessible and down-to-earth Southern sound that makes him marketable to Outkast and Devin the Dude’s lanes. He is a national figure online and in print.
Oddly, his music isn’t on the radio. So perhaps there is an irony given the nature of the event. Maybe “Are You Radio Ready?” could have been a question for K.R.I.T. as well.
He was certainly Skully’s-ready: Friday’s show wasn’t sold-out, but it was pretty packed.
After leading the crowd in the Return of Forever chant, K.R.I.T. launched into amped songs like “Sookie Sookie Now,” “My Sub” and “Rotating My Tires” before rolling into the smooth “Moon & Stars.”
K.R.I.T. had a humble cool that still broke a sweat and inspired dancing as well as jumping around.
He did a heartfelt a cappella number before performing my personal favorite, “Dreamin,” a melodic, soulful song about working hard and following your dreams. He then rocked his rowdiest song, “Country,” which I don’t personally like because it reminds me of lame-ass Nappy Roots.
But the sizable audience treated it like a club hit.
By the end of the evening, K.R.I.T. had lost his voice, but his final statement-“If it don’t touch my soul, then I can’t listen to it”-didn’t fall on deaf ears.
I agree with this sentiment, so I didn’t leave angry at the developmental tools that were in evidence.
Posted: Thursday, June 16, 2011 9:28 am | Updated: 1:02 pm, Thu Jun 16, 2011.
Brett Jones, a gay man who works as a hairstylist at Lucky 13, said he doesn’t get many homophobic vibes when he attends hip-hop events. He attributed that, jokingly, to the way he dresses.
"If I go to something like Get Right, I am not gonna wear the faggiest outfit," he said.
Besides, he added, he always arrives with a “troop of girls.” “So I know the hip-hop dudes aren’t going to complain-they aren’t going to let me come between them and trying to get pussy.”
It’s Pride Week, so I decided to invite a group of gay friends who participate heavily in the Columbus hip-hop and club communities to “Morrissey Sunday” at Little Palace to discuss what the scene is like for them.
I brought up the F-word (“faggot”) and the claim by some hip-hop and skater kids that they sometimes use it without meaning to be homophobic. Scott Neimet, who deejays Morrissey Sundays and also promotes Sweatin, wasn’t buying it.
"The word faggot…how they mean it is that ‘You are weak, you can’t stick up for yourself,’ he said. “Maybe that is not how you see gays. But that is the definition used by people that hate gays.”
Neimet’s fiance, Josh Dejac, who works at Carabar added: “You have to look at it as, if you were gay and you heard the world faggot, would you not step up? It is the last word gay people hear before they die (from gay bashing).”
Cecil Moore, who works at Bourbon Street and plays in Nick Tolford & Company, said the lack of understanding may stem partly from the fact that “People still think we choose to be gay.”
But if straight people can be close-minded, so can gay people, members of the impromptu roundtable said.
"In the gay community, there is a huge pressure to conform," said Jones. "You are supposed to have the perfect convertible, two little dogs, and you go to Miami twice a year. I am not that person."
Neimet laughed, referring to problems not covered by columnist Dan Savage’s Internet project “It Gets Better,” which tells gay teens who face discrimination that life will get easier after high school.
"OK, you are gay. You survived high school," said Neimet. "You go into the gay world. And what are you exposed to? Catty, superficial assholes."
"You go to this gay bar, and you think there is going to be this embracing," Neimet continued. "But I am a little overweight, and I come from Bellefontaine, so I have clothes from Kohl’s. And I walk into the Union and get bullied more than I did in high school."
To provide an alternative for gays who don’t fit the norm-and their straight allies-both Moore and Neimet are throwing Pride parties this weekend.
On Friday, Sweatin and Outlook will present the Big Gay Dance Party at Skully’s Music-Diner, 1151 N. High St., with deejays Scotty Neimet, Moxy and Wonderdoug. Proceeds will benefit Stonewall Columbus.
On Saturday, Cecil Moore will present a Columbus version of Shiprocked, a gay party in Charlotte, N.C., at Carabar, 115 Parsons Ave. Entertainment will be provided by deejays Carol and Juan Huevos, as well as drag queens from the original Charlotte party.