Artists speak out on Charlotte's black music scene

Posted by Jeff Hahne on Fri, Nov 9, 2012 at 12:51 PM

In our Creative Loafing cover story this week, we ask "Where is the black music in Charlotte?" CL intern Zach Nesmith hit the town to see what was going on and gather more opinions on the Queen City scene. Here are the results:

Comments (10)

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Some constructive criticism, wanna know about the black music scene in Charlotte? Get more than 2 local 30 year old black guys from NY. Not only is it a generation gap here but it's a culture gap. The industry isn't breaking bebop, break dance, old school bullshit. The AMCS Bodega has been the best event that portrays not just black talent, but CHARLOTTE talent. And CL not taking heed to both submitted and actual requested local music doesn't help. It's not just CL either, it's the radio, promoters, djs, and everyone in a better position to help this scene. Because what you portrayed is not the scene I am familiar with, nor the most popular.

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Posted by Colby Streetz on 11/10/2012 at 8:31 PM

And I hope you read this Jeff because I take pride in my position of showing off The New Charlotte to guys like you who can't reply to a simple email. Be blessed.

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Posted by Colby Streetz on 11/10/2012 at 8:47 PM

Ya know, I think I understand why they don't cover local hiphop so much. Every time they do, somebody jumps on here with "_____ isn't the best/latest/most popular event/group in Charlotte, ____ is!" I have even been guilty of this myself in years past. Maybe we should just stop this crumb-snatching mentality. No media outlet in this city covers local hiphop as much as they should. You said it yourself. Can't we be happy when they do, even if its not our personal brand?

By the way Colby, if your personal brand is SO much more industry-friendly (which is funny since you're complaining about lack of radio play), more power to you. The events featured here couldn't give 2 shits about the industry, they're about culture, community & skills...or what you refer to as "bullshit"... yet SOMEHOW they have spawned national-level competitors and internationally known artists.
Monday Night Mic Fights is the longest running hip-hop event in this city, clocking in almost a decade. Perhaps you measure success differently, but to act like you're more entitled to coverage is ridiculous. Fall back.

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Posted by Erin Tracy-Blackwood on 11/11/2012 at 1:22 AM

Lol I appreciate your feedback. No need for taking shots though. What stopped my group from receiving radio spins for our single (which gets regular spins in Clubs Onyx, 5th Element, Hush, and Caviar every weekend faithfully since summer time, by the way) is because of production issues on the beat. Certainly no excuse to use, but had this cities rap community actually have some precedent or figurehead to lead us, you would be hearing it. I'm not on here advocating my brand, I'm speaking for the black music scene that I'm sure YOU and WHOEVER ELSE may be seeing this and thinking, Charlotte music is in good hands. Monday Night Mic Fights may be successful, but me being a 23 year old Charlotte native, me and everyone I've shared this video too can agree, isn't making any noise in the circle we've thrived in since 2009. This isn't a dig at anyone, it's a point of view that you guys don't see.

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Posted by Colby Streetz on 11/11/2012 at 3:00 AM

This is a lightning rod topic, but it takes 2 to debate and I appreciate you commenting. But no needs to be aggressive towards me, or my brand which I not once mentioned.

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Posted by Colby Streetz on 11/11/2012 at 3:07 AM

And the debate ensues. First I'd like to thank you on your point of view, glad to know someone to notice to what I've said. I do take offense though, because I've never mentioned my personal brand. I manage a group who, because of conflict with the actual beat, Power 98 respectfully declined to give us radio spins. That doesn't stop us from getting regular spins in "black youth" clubs around Charlotte though. Had we known, or had the guidance from a pioneer of local music, we would have regular radio spins no different from charlottes own mr. 704. But you learn and move on.

To get to your next point. I'm not advocating my brand, I'm putting my name and face for you all to criticize so not only your side sees this, but so my peers do also. I am a Charlotte native 23 years. My friends the same. We all watched this video and having done the open mic circuit in 2009 have not once heard of this event. It's safe to assume or audience or demographic hasn't either. And yes we do measure success and popularity differently, hence the culture and generation gap I referenced. I don't know what big stars you've brought but its a thin line between being known and being relevant. I do know, Gucci Mane who many see as what's wrong with hip hop just sold out 935 tonight with local artist opening up. Did you all know? Probably not. That being said, I'm exposing you to the black local music scene you and CL fear and put beneath you. It is what it is.

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Posted by Colby Streetz on 11/11/2012 at 3:31 AM

There are kids at every Knocturnal & Crown Station show with Xs on their hands. You're the same age as most of our crowd. Its not a generational gap, its a matter of personal taste... and apparently research. I knew Gucci Mane was in town despite the fact that I had no desire to attend. Maybe you should be aware of what takes place outside your niche, even check out the others sometime, or at the very least not feel slighted because they got coverage and you haven't yet.

Also, I would say that if you don't want someone to "take shots," maybe don't start out calling what they've worked hard to build "bullshit."

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Posted by Erin Tracy-Blackwood on 11/11/2012 at 4:18 AM

Colby, You are right and you are wrong!! First off, Yes CL does not give enough support to locals. They are a business they have to make money. They have a target audience and they stick to them. I have been dealing with this since 2003 at The Room. We rarely had an event get a write up unless it was a national act and then sometimes. Local shows were always missed even though we paid for a weekly add. I see both sides. I think they should meet in the middle!!!!!

As for our music. I have been a promoter and DJ in this city for almost a decade. Even though what you and I do are considered to most Hip Hop they are very different. My Monday Night Mic Fights has been at many different venues. They close we move on. I have the same demographic as when I started. 18 to almost 40. We have had big names pop in just to perform cause they heard about us. Parish Smith Of EPMD has performed twice. Pacewon, Breeze Eva Flowin, Blind Fury and more. I used these to show you examples of the big big and the big underground. We have had artists get major label support and artist intrest as well. Charles Herron was on Camp Lo's last album an was in the video for the song they did with Pete Rock and Styles P. Ike Turnah has been on multiple mixtapes by major artists like Talib Kweli and DJ Lord Jazz of the Lords of the Underground. We are here and deep rooted and very supported!

This also has nothing to do with north and south. We have plenty of southern kids at our events. Most actually seeing we are in the south. Yes there are NY's in the mix me included. Then ask yourself, Where did Hip Hop originate? We have cats that could tour with gucci man or KRS One and get the same crowd reaction. Southern yes, Lyrical, Most def!!!!!

You have not heard of my event because you are not what my event is about. This is part of our local community issue. There are two types of Hip Hop in this city and the separation is huge!! There is what we do, True School Hip Hop. The 5 Elements!!! Then there is what you guys do. The club Hip Pop. To most you either like one or the other. So this separation leaves voids like your production issues. I don't have the energy to roll off names of national artists who have been here to record at my boys house to record. There are beat makers and producers all over this town. The thing I see with your style of music is that it is not about the culture other than tight jeans and snap backs. You cats rock live shows over your normal song. You dont even have instrumentals!! Its because it is all about the $ with this group. How many times have you paid to play??? That should never happen. My stage is there for local artists to home their craft not for me to get rich of the youth. You are right. Your group has no leadership no one to mentor.

Our group is nurturing to its own. We know we are on our own and we do our thing!! You need production find my event on fb find me n ill help you out. Just realize you are out of touch if you think our brand is irrelevant. We have college kids and old men at our events and all the big shows that have been through here in the last couple years. (not at a club but a concert venue ie the wu stuff, dead prez, krs one and so on) all had local artists open up. It what we do!!! We are HIP HOP. QCHH...

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Posted by E456 on 11/11/2012 at 11:09 AM

Colby - I haven't gotten an email from you. I read every one that I get... jeff.hahne@creativeloafing.com

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Posted by Jeff Hahne on 11/12/2012 at 11:13 AM

YOU GUYS SHOULD COVER THE AMCS BODEGA IF YOU WANT A OUTLOOK ON THE HIP HOP CULTURE HERE!!!!!!!!!! #justsaying Jeff

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Posted by Krew34 on 11/14/2012 at 10:01 AM
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