A year ago, Durham rappers Toon and the Real Laww put together a show called 5 Pillars: DURM Hip-Hop Summit. It was a night for local MCs to gather and celebrate the five original pillars of hip-hop MC-ing, DJ-ing, beat-boxing, break-dancing and graffiti painting.
As Toon said in these pages last year, No band, no singers just all hip-hop.
For this years summit, Toon and the Real Laww are going all out. In 2012, the event took place at Durhams Casbah, but this years gathering has expanded to include three Durham locations: Casbah, Motorco Music Hall and the Pinhook.
Its like so much is happening, why would we want to keep it in one area, one central location? says Laww (better known as Jay Lawrence).
So we just basically spread the same show that we did last year in three different parts. You know three different venues for the events that will be happening.
Toon (aka Kurrell Rice) was surprised by how eager new venues were to be involved.
It kind of seems more like a competition thing between a lot of the venues in Durham, he says.
But the fact that everybody was cool, like, Yes, please! A small, hip-hop festival in Durham? Yeah, well do it! They werent scared of it.
Since the event will be in three locations, the guys filled the bill with the creme de la creme of Triangle hip-hop: Kooley High, Kaze, Wreck-N-Crew, Drique London just to name a few. K97.5 FM personalities Wade Banner, Brian Dawson and Nikki Nicole will each be at the venues, hosting the festivities.
For the most part, Toon and the Real Laww are showing that the Raleigh-Durham area not only has prime rap talent, but that people shouldnt be turned off by it.
People were kind of scared of it, says Laww. So thats why we kind of stepped in and kind of changed the actual image of it, I guess I would say.
Another group wholl be aiding the gentlemen in locally changing hip-hops image is Raleigh rap duo Actual Proof. Made up of beat man Sundown and MC Enigma, the pair is just one of the many talented rap acts signed to local hip-hop superstar 9th Wonders Jamla label.
When I heard about it, the fact that theyre putting the five pillars of hip-hop into one day over three events, and that they reached out to us to have us represent a portion of one of those pillars in Durham, was a huge honor, says Enigma (or Shelden Hendricks).
Its not every day that you get asked to be a part of something like that, and I heard that last year was a success and that its getting bigger every year. Were just glad to be a part of it.
Actual Proof has toured internationally (including a performance last summer in South Africa), but the members would also like the hip-hop talent in the Triangle to get more recognition.
I would like to see more, says Sundown (Anthony Holmes).
I hear a lot of people say that theres nothing going on, but there are a lot of talented artists in that area. So I mean the people want it and there are enough acts to make it work. So I feel like this should happen more often.
With all the bells and whistles associated with the summit this year (assorted beat/b-boy battles, free transportation between venues), it seems that Toon and the Real Laww are looking to make this an annual thing and that fans recognize the Triangle as a hip-hop hotbed.