Ayo Jay is an emerging artists that’s making some strides in the U.S to bring the “Afrobeats” sound to the mainstream markets.
This alternative piece provides a little insight on who he is and how he got started.
Ayo Jay is an emerging artists that’s making some strides in the U.S to bring the “Afrobeats” sound to the mainstream markets.
You can call it the TED Talks of Hip Hop!
Freedom Codes is a new platform Curators is launching along with Changa Music Productions that takes place in the form of multimedia presentations and live performances.
The presentations and performances are designed as a way of expressing new solutions and strategies to existing problems from a Hip Hop Cultural perspective.
This event series will be built on the collaboration efforts made on a local, state and regional level . Solution Seekers will be sought out in multiple cities to participate and help offer the greatest value to our event series and their prospective communities.
As the Legacy tour continues, here are just some visual moments from what’s been happening so far.
Syracuse, Cornell & Detroit
The Legacy Tour of 2016 was a major success.
Here are some of the cities visited during the multi city collaboration with colleges, libraries and brands.
February 8th 5-7pm in the Africa Room of the Student Union 1000 Locust St. Pittsburgh, PA 15219.
February 11, 2016 – Sale Hall: 7:30pm Film Screening & Panel
February 12, 2016: Apache Cafe
For tickets to see Carolyn Malachi & Dee-1 live visit here.
Florida State University
February 19, 2016:
Student Life Cinema: Film Screening 7:00pm
The Curators Volume 1 – A Story of Independence
Club Down Under
February 20, 2016
Headlining this show will be Dynasty and Carolyn Malachi.
To learn more and mark the calendar for this event check the official Facebook Event page hosted by Club Down Under.
The 2016 “My Legacy” Tour is a collaborative effort that features emerging and up-and-coming musicians, tech specialist and filmmakers of today, in an effort to inspire young people by showing them examples of diverse African Americans who are successful in the creation of positive and uncompromising art.
This year, we aim to specifically educate, build and create new collaborative strategies around preserving hip hop culture, building institutions through advocating for in increase in independence and entrepreneurship within urban culture.
At Curators of Hip Hop, we feel it is extremely important to plan and build strong foundations for Hip Hop culture that can stand for generations. By constantly learning and innovating, we as a collective, there are unmet opportunities to be gained by the strategic leadership and collaboration.
We understand that ‘Legacy’ is something far larger than Hip Hop but also comprehend that Hip Hop culture has the potential to connect to the youth who will ultimately lead the future in some way, shape or form.
Stay up to date on our social media @thecohh (Twitter/IG) for campaign competition and tour updates under the hashtag
Music from artists expressing their feelings and thoughts about the current social issues.
Let’s keep this short and simple. Violence in our cities is reaching a point where we all and I mean ALL have to start doing everything we can do reduce it. This CALL is about solutions that are working in your community.
Who out there is actively working on a program that’s showing some light? Is there anyone that was or still is fighting against the forces of drugs, poverty and violence in their community but came across methods that actually worked to reduce the ongoing crisis?
If so, we want to hear your story. We want to hear your methods and we want to share your solutions and strategies with other leaders so that we can build a network based on applied working strategies.
If you’re still not sure exactly what we are looking for here are some examples of different success stories from the U.S and abroad.
How to revive a neighborhood: with imagination, beauty and art
Theaster Gates (Courtesy of Ted.com)
Fight Hate with Love (Courtesy of Mediastorm.com)
Andrew Michael Ellis
The Link between Unemployment and Terrorism:
Mohamed Ali (Courtesy of Ted.com)
To collaborate and share your story email us at
Written by Jermaine Fletcher
Founded in Tokyo, Japan in 1929, AKAI is the brand responsible for the creation of the MPC (Originally Midi but now known as the Music Production Controller) designed by Roger Linn. In 1988, the machine hit the market creating a new force of power for producers throughout the world. HIP HOP producers like Pete Rock, J Dilla, DJ Premier, Large Professor and Dr. Dre make up just a few of the names that used the controller. The feature producers loved so much was the combining of a powerful MIDI sequencer with the ability to sample one’s own sounds. Many of the songs composed on the MPC would now be considered classics.
The MPC has been recreated in many forms today by other brands. Many of them are strictly MIDI devices but they have grown in popularity because of the much lower cost.
This machine created an entire workflow that majorly contributed to what HIP HOP heads call that”Boom Bap” sound.
Photo: DJ Premier’s Studio at D&D in 2000
Editorial by Jermaine Fletcher
“Sticks in a bundle are unbreakable.” This Kenyan proverb embraces the value of collective strength within unity. This saying is something that really explains our newest efforts in the DMV region. We recently conducted the “Renaissance Tour” which is a continuation of the “Urban Renaissance” events we started producing a few years ago. This tour covered the cities of Baltimore, Washington, D.C ,Richmond, VA and Charlotte, NC.
Although the DMV artists reside so close to one another, it’s very rare for them to collaborate and tour together on a consistent basis. By joining forces with local ambassadors in each city, we plan to make this a very regular habit.
When we started the tour in Baltimore, the city was also in the national headlines for very negative reasons. On the very same day as our event, the public was told that Federal agents were being sent to the city to join with local homicide police and “quell the unprecedented violence.”
While this was being presented to the public, we had a very different type of vibe at a venue called Metro Gallery. There we had RaTheMC (DC), Joey Gallo (Richmond) and Baltimore’s own ELLIS perform along with local dance family – BMORETHANDANCE.
With the help of our ambassadors in every city, each event was soulful, peaceful and inspiring for the Hip Hop community. Over time, this ‘mobile renaissance” will become more newsworthy in the headlines and by building bridges we will one day create more positive changes in the cities we visit to reverse, minimize or even help end some of the adverse circumstances we now know of.
This is MOVEMENT and will require many people to create more momentum.
Stay tuned for more updates on upcoming tours! If you’re interested in helping us bring a showcase to your city, please email us at email@example.com
Written by Co-Founder: Jermaine Fletcher
HELLO WORLD: MEET JUKEBOXX
The following is an interview between JUKEBOXX and Jermaine Fletcher (Co-Founder of COHH) about the concept and creation of The Assault Mixtape. This musical project was released as a part of Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month. Please Read, Share & most importantly Listen!
The influence for this project and purpose are clearly stated in your introduction. At what point did you decide to make this project a reality and how long did it take for you to turn the idea into the powerful reality it is now?
Actually, I decided to do this project in January 2015. I recorded The Anti-Rape Freestyle around December. The goal was to have the album ready for April – Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month. So, it took about 2 months to complete.
Being that this project is personal, was any of the process difficult for you to execute?
September 2014 was when I really began processing all the rapes and abuse in my life–meaning I had to stop everything and enter into a kind of personal mental institution– at home. I moved and began processing the gang rape that happened in my mother’s house. I had to in order to move back into the house to begin healing. This was the first time I returned home longer than 2 days over the past 11 years since I went to college. I give this background so you know the mental environment that conjured the work. Rape and sexual assault has resulted in my development of amnesia –losing my memory, the ability to retain information– among many, many more issues. Just recently my memory began returning. Bombarded by my own memory, I wrote down everything–names, dates, places and times of people who had assaulted me back to middle school.
Every time I worked on the writing or listened to a reading it exacerbated my PTSD symptoms. Just two months before I was diagnosed with severe depression. This added to the painful experience of reciting the rape accounts. Then, there was recording the accounts. Then, the issue of reading aloud in front of someone. Fortunately, my producer was very supportive of my healing process and made the space I created in safe. No one was allowed in the studio when I read the accounts — back to back — in silence.
In total, it was about 15 readings I had chosen to tell. Then, as I was listening to the rough draft, I couldn’t handle hearing so much of my personal life exposed; thinking of what the abusers may do if they find out. So we narrowed it down. The mere idea of releasing the album came with an entirely different set of fears. Most abusers live in our communities unpunished while victims live in great fear of retaliation. So, I had to do extra therapeutic work to combat the return of nightmares, flashbacks and panic attacks. I did one full listen to the album before it was released online. This was the first and the last time I listened without skipping over the accounts. I still skip over them now.
Before and during the process I was very afraid. Though, I don’t fear them any longer. I just kept reminding myself that this is what I have to do and there is no such thing as fear and doubt when you have a duty.
Who exactly are the producers on this project and how did you choose the beats that made it on Assault Mixtape?
I worked with six different producers on the album. The executive producer of the album is Ed Speights aka DownWitEdLover with Gutta Fam Musik from my hometown Augusta, Georgia. He produced all the music for the accounts/readings as well as the music for Education, Anti-Rape Freestyle, Stalker, 5Star Road to Hell and Taxi. Education was particularly special. I came to him with the idea that we create a song from scratch with the topic of girls being denied education. I knew I wanted to use samples from Malala Yousafzai’s Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech with her excerpts being the hooks. I wanted to do 4-5 verses, all 4 bars long just to play around. This was close to my heart because that is what I know the attacks were meant for –to deny me of my autonomy, dignity and well-being. The result was unbelievable.
The second producer of the album was Ko Wong-Horiuchi aka KO! Beats from Oakland, California. Ko and I worked together last year in an initiative between the US State Department and The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill called Next Level. The Next Level Hip Hop Ambassador program sends teams of four (deejays, beat-makers, emcees and dancers) to different countries around the world to spread peace and conflict resolution through Hip Hop culture. Ko was accepted into the Team India program for beat-making and I for dance so it is interesting that our collaboration since has been hip hop music. Ko is one of my favorite producers because he utilizes sounds from the environment and is innovative in the way he crafts his music. For example, in India he recorded various sounds and created beats out of them, some that are on this album. Ko produced Verbal Festival, Body Language Show, Dime and Triggers. I sent Ko the track You Ain’t Shit. He said “I didn’t know you were that good, let me send you some beats.” So he sent me like 10 beats and I just went through and brainstormed; fell asleep to the music, woke up to it. JaciCaprice aka “That Producer Chick” is the third producer on the album from Detroit and another amazing Hip Hop ambassador for Next Level’s Team Zimbabwe program. We had already collaborated on a dance project together. Through this collaboration I heard her beat Wiggle Room. It really was an effortless connection and I was delighted to work with a female producer. Kristopher Barnett aka Big Kris from Tallahassee, Florida and I collaborated on Duck, Duck You. I heard the song before this project was in a brain cell. I would wake up and begin my yoga practice to his music. I thought of it for the project because I knew I wanted to write a song that dealt with women being called “birds.” His track Let the Birds Sing was the best fit. Colvin Scott aka BlueBoma Beats from Tallahassee, Florida and I collaborated on You Ain’t Shit. I asked for this beat like 11 months before the project was a thought. I remember having the beat and thinking, “What am I going to do with this and why did I ask for this?” Now I know why. The last producer I worked with on this project was WeatherM from South Korea. I had been listening to music for my daily meditations and his song came up on my soundcloud feed. I told him how beautiful it was and asked if he was open to having a rapper over his music. He quickly said yes along with “Let me know if you need me to do anything to it.” I bought the song on itunes. He produced Soul Prayer, one of the most important tracks of the CD. It was very important to me for all the producers to be on board with and supportive of the theme of the album and the issue of rape and sexual assault.
We know you like to volunteer and do positive work for various communities. Have you shared this project with any of the people you work with and if so, what has been their response?
Yes I have shared this project with all of the places I volunteer; PACE School for Girls and The Oasis Center for Women and Girls. I shared the project in the Sociology of Hip Hop Class at Florida State University along with my thesis presentation for the class. I shared this project with every rape crisis center I know and spoke about it at the “Take Back the Night” event in my hometown. I also participated in the “Rape Culture Art Show” produced by Maize Arendesee of MANDEM. I performed a contemporary dance piece about rape entitled “Phases of Recovery” and sold the Assault Mixtape afterwards there. I have been sending this out to numerous feminist blog sites as well. I haven’t gotten feedback from organizations yet; still waiting on the response.
You mentioned you released this project for Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Has there been organizations or supporters directly attached to the month’s awareness?
Yes there are so many organizations putting in work for this much needed cause. RAINN is one of the most well known and recognized organizations fighting Rape and sexual assault in our country. Also I have been sending it out to local, national and international rape crisis centers and non-profits. Also, the campaign Mariska Hargitay from “Law and Order: Special Victims Unit” began entitled “No More.” This is a global issue that millions have taken on around the world.
For someone who isn’t aware of this project, what would you like to convey the average listener would walk away with in terms of the main theme?
We must open our eyes and look at what is really going on. It took me about a month to realize that I had to do this project — to speak out against the evil and hatred directed towards women, especially in the culture of hip hop. To speak out against my abusers, both known and unknown, and for other victims who are afraid to speak out because of victim blaming. To make a difference so that no one ever has to go through what I have gone through. I hope that the information and testimony offered in this album is enough to make the listener think about what they say and do that is harmful and contributes evil world’s legacy of rape culture. To understand that rape is not about lust,sexual pleasure or the absence of a man “getting some.” It is a crime of power and control. And that the rapist is rarely the man in the bushes, he is the man at Florida State University on the drum line, your ex on the football and basketball teams at Savannah State University; he may even be your own relative. I want the listener to gain an understanding of what it is to be a rape survivor, survivor of sexual assault and domestic violence. What is life like as a woman. As a black woman, as a dark skinned black woman. I want to help inspire some action towards ending the atrocities rapped on the tape as well as giving advice for those to recognize the difference between a healthy and unhealthy relationship. For both men and women, but especially women. We are raised with such low self esteem and with no love for who we are and constantly told that being treated badly is acceptable. I want people to understand and really listen and do something about what’s happening in our community. And to begin to put an end to the personal actions and thoughts towards self and others that is ultimately deadly for us all. If the listener grasps any part or all of this, I feel it a success.
Any other points you want to add?
There is a bonus track on the album. It is a freestyle over Jay-Z’s Who You Wit. This track didn’t make it on the album but is a part of the making of the tape nevertheless. The night I recorded this song I almost got in a fight with two men in the studio over disrespecting me. It was here where I screamed at these two men that “I am willing to die to defend my right to be respected as a human being.” Please listen. It is online for download as well. We will be coming out with a video for every song to show the scenario of what we as women face in the world and in hip hop culture. Look out for the videos coming soon! This album is not only a personal testimony but also an album to launch my major project “The Jukeboxx Movement: Hip Hop Feminism.” What is Hip Hop Feminism? It’s me, it’s you, it’s equality. I was first introduced to this concept in grad school while researching for my thesis concerning the language of women in hip hop dance from the 1970s-2015. Hip Hop feminism was coined by Joan Morgan in March 1999 and together we can build off of this legacy. “The Jukeboxx Movement: Hip Hop Feminism,” is a movement which aims to refocus Hip Hop Culture back to its original mission created by the Universal Zulu Nation- “Knowledge, wisdom, understanding, freedom, justice, peace, unity, love, respect, work, fun, overcoming the negative to the positive” to name a few. This is one in the same of feminist thought. The Jukeboxx Movement is committed to spreading awareness while eradicating misogyny, misogynoir, sexism and gender discrimination in the art form. Here, the top ten will not include Biggie Tupac or Jay-Z because the title “great” or “all-time greatest” should never be given to an artist that glorifies rape and violence in their music. And I know many “feel some type of way” about what I say concerning the “greats,” but I declare that you are not a visionary, revolutionary or any other title if you don’t coincide with the above beliefs. Look at the past of all the so-called leaders and greats of this world; they are ALL given their titles with the public knowing of their exploitation and hatred exercised against the spirit encased in the female body. And as far as I am concerned, as a woman whose culture is hip hop, no one has met this goal but women. And no one’s even recognizing that. Listen to Hip Hop music (underground, mainstream, so-called “conscious” and other labels) and it ALL includes sexism, misogyny and more specifically misogynoir. If one follows hip hop you will see the absence of women and the absence of a woman’s voice and perspective. The only woman you will see is a woman that fits the male gaze– this idea that women are on earth for the pleasure and convenience of men and that we are here to serve. The globalization of hip hop only made it worse for women. It looks like a men’s club — and it’s not. These are only a few of the many issues Hip Hop Feminism seeks to change. I launch this movement with The Assault Mixtape – An ode to survivors around the universe. Join me would you? I would love to see you in the movement. After all, it is for all of our freedom.
THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR TIME.
WE’LL BE IN TOUCH WITH YOU, YOUR MUSIC AND YOUR MOVEMENT!
To say there are a lot of artists to see at a music festival is an understatement. At a panel discussion during the South by Southwest music festival and conference, one panelist said a music festival is a “place where I can see a whole lot of artists I wouldn’t be willing to spend money on to see by themselves.” With over 2,000 performers, ¼ of that list being hip hop artists, mostly independent, it is a good chance you may discover your next favorite rapper at SXSW or have a chance to finally see the one you’ve been hearing about on Meerkat for weeks, possibly for free.
This year, SXSW Music (March 17-22) was filled with well-known headliners like Big Sean, Nas and J. Cole while featured blossoming artists like Dej Loaf, Joey Bada$$ and Earl Sweatshirt sharing the stage. I must admit as a first-time attendee I was excited to see multiple superstars performing together on one stage for once-in-a-lifetime opportunities at some of the heavily publicized events like Timbaland at Fader Fort and J.Cole at ACL Live at the Moody Theater.
However, I mustn’t lose sight on the pulse of music festivals, raw, hungry and new talent. Thank goodness for social media. From an awesome easy-to-use SXSW app detailing all the artists and showcases broken down by music genre to create your own schedule for the week, to the tailored SXSW Spotify playlists to get your ears titillating for the new sounds to expect, to BuzzFeed always creating a list to do all the hard work for you and telling who exactly to look for, there are ways beyond hashtags to discover breakout SXSW stars, before, during and after the festival. Also, just because you don’t hear them on the radio doesn’t mean they don’t have an audience. Queens bred rapper Grafh has over 50K followers on Instagram and Houston based Lyric Michelle has over 1,000, but with more exposure and continued praise on sites like Rolling Stone and Austin 360, the numbers will come. Even at certain big artist events like Bun B’s Birthday Bash, nearly a dozen small buzzed artists took the stage before the legend, showing that big name artists support the promotion of new emcees and don’t want to turn the festival into a Grammys Week.
When SXSW first took place in 1987 with only 700 registrants in the not-so-popular city of Austin, mostly A&R reps came to the festival to scout future talent, like a combine for music artists. Nearly 30 years later, almost 30,000 registered attendees and hundreds of others who live locally in the city or come from out of town flock to what is now the 11th most populous city in the country to hang out on 6th St., grab a bite from the various options in food truck parks or try their luck standing in line for hours to get into a live show.
For new artists wanting a chance to shine on one of the 100+ venue stages scattered across downtown Austin next year, get on your grind, get your followers up and apply early. Registration hasn’t opened yet for 2016, but last year applications were due mid-October to participate in this year’s festival, so be on the look out in the late spring months for an announcement. In the words of legendary hip hop artist Will Smith, (hee hee, take it how you want), “If you stay ready, you ain’t gotta get ready.”
Written by Chantell Black (See Ambassador Page for Bio)