The Underground finally turns hip

Paul Karner

This past weekend you might have heard the typical thunderous beats and booming bass echoing through campus on Saturday night, but it wasn’t coming from a party in Trever or the psychedelic rave at the Phi-Delt house – it was coming from our humble little Underground Coffeehouse. This weekend the coffeehouse welcomed an eclectic lineup of five hip-hop groups from all over the country.
The lineup included artists such as Mike Flow, Somp’n Decent, and Underground Railroad, as well as a performance by baseball coach Korey Krueger and some Lawrence alums performing under the name K-rex and the Crew. The show presented a wide range of hip-hop, moving from funk to soul to old school, all the way to the cutting edge. According to freshman Greg Haas, “you could hear all of the different influences in the music, but the artists were all extremely creative.”
Closing out the show was Miss Fairchild, hailing from the East Coast, came equipped with loads of space-age electronic equipment – a beat-boxing flautist, an incredible set, and yes, a velour jumpsuit. It was an excellent show through and through, and most likely the beginning of something really eye-opening here at Lawrence.
Rob Patla, a junior psychology major, has been working to bring hip-hop to Lawrence for the past couple years. Last year Patla organized the Lyrical Fight Night, a freestyle competition where local rappers faced off with nothing but a microphone and their own lyrical madness. Though the genre is dominated by superstars and mainstream hits, Patla has worked to give Lawrence a glimpse at the ever-expanding world of hip-hop. “With so much commercial hip-hop it’s hard to get people interested without a well-known artist headlining the show,” said Patla. Nevertheless, there’s a definite interest at Lawrence, though it’s sometimes faced with some reluctance.
As a genre hip-hop has had to fight through racial and cultural stereotypes in order to branch out and find new audiences. The old stereotype of rock being white music and rap being black music is becoming more and more a thing of the past, especially on the underground scene. Patla explains, “with all of the influence it’s had on music today, hip-hop is unavoidable in our culture.” So, if you missed out this week, be sure to keep an eye out for similar events in the future.