Hip Hop Congress and SWAHP team up for a night of Chicago hip-hop

Elizabeth Vaughan

This Friday, Hip Hop Congress is partnering with Student’s War Against Hunger and Poverty to host A Night of Chicago Hip-Hop.

Hip Hop Congress is an international nonprofit organization that helps promote hip-hop culture and achieve social, economic and political change using hip-hop and urban artists. Lawrence’s chapter of Hip Hop Congress has enabled many organizations to raise money for charities by collaborating with a different student organization for each concert they host. So far, HHC has organized concerts with Greenfire, Lambda Sigma and SWAHP.

Hip Hop Congress’ other goal is to bring artists to Lawrence. They have hosted a concert every term since last fall, and are planning on making a mix-tape of music spanning many different genres and musical tastes and releasing it as a Lawrence album. In addition, Hip Hop Congress encourages the collaboration of local and regional artists with Lawrence bands, such as the Dilla Gents.

President Alex George grew up in the Chicagoland area and his love for hip-hop music has led to many connections with local and regional artists. “I’ve been to a lot of shows, and with the Internet, it’s easy to reach any artist you want through their manager’s e-mails,” said George. “A lot of the people performing, I know personally, like Rich Jones, who is a Lawrence alum.”

All of the proceeds from the event will go towards KidsGive, an organization that George has been passionate about helping since he took a class with Professor Skran, who began the project in 2006. The money going to the organization will help fund scholarships for students in Sierra Leone as well as promote education of Sierra Leone and other global issues in the U.S. There will be a bake sale and a raffle featuring items and DVDs from Sierra Leone as well as other miscellaneous prizes.

Said Mariah Mateo’12, the student leader of SWAHP, I think collaboration between different on-campus organizations is an excellent and effective way to work towards common goals as well as learn how to work with groups that have diverse interests. The event this Friday is an example of these kinds of efforts. I think it’s also an opportunity for people to give while having a good time with friends and listening to music.”

The event will feature Qwel and Maker, Old Irving, G.o.D. Jewels and Lawrence alum Rich Jones, who has performed at Lawrence several times before. In addition, a new lighting program will be featured.

This will be Hip Hop Congress’ first event in Warch; they have previously performed in venues such as Theater House and Greenfire. Events in the Warch Campus Center are notorious for low attendance, but Hip Hop Congress hopes to change this by transforming the Esch Hurvis room into a local venue, with section of Hurvis transformed into a 21+ bar served the VR. Professor of Government and Edwin & Ruth West Professor of Economics and Social Science Claudena Skran will be guest bartending this event.

The hip-hop that you might hear at Hip Hop Congress’ events are not necessarily typical Top 40 hits. “Hip-hop is a very broad genre. The rap you hear on the radio is not the same as the hip-hop we promote. This music is based on samples, and so there are musical influences from every single spectrum, even classical music. There’s singing and a wide range of [beats per minute],” said George.

In the future, Hip Hop Congress hopes to work with LUCC President-elect Jake Woodford to help organize this year’s LU-A-Roo. LU-A-Roo is a yearly all-day music festival in the quad with involvement from many different Lawrence organizations.

George encourages anybody, even people who don’t like hip-hop, to join the congress. Said George, “Most people in Hip Hop Congress are upperclassmen. There’s a very large budget because it’s an event-oriented group. Younger members should become involved because they can make a huge impact.”

For more information about Hip Hop Congress meetings, contact George or Daniel Perret-Goluboff.