RNYC: the re-entry of a Bushwick hip hop workshop

Sam Hillmer

RNYC

A few years ago I wrote a Friends With Benefits for IMPOSE about a project called Representing NYC. The intent and my involvement consisted of releasing a record for a group of young girls from Brownsville called the Fly Girlz. Some crazy things happened around that record, which I chronicled in my original piece. Following the Fly Girlz record I did a record for Nine 11 Thesaurus, now Hiergolyph Thesaurus, that came out on Social Registry in 2011. That record was an equally wild ride with profound successes along the way, particularly a feature article in the VOICE that broke down that whole project. Since that time the Representing NYC project has been inactive. That said, we are firing it up again, so I wanted to fill folks in on what has happened in the interim, and also introduce the world to a few of the amazing artists we are going to be working with.

Firstly, Representing NYC is a network of professional musicians, active in the scenes in Bushwick and Bedstuy who want to see collaborative work happen between the people who are coming to these neighborhoods, and those people who have been there for generations. We are not not for profit. We are not even incorporated. Representing NYC is just a name for a group of people who want to put in time to make connections happen that should be happening, but aren't for some reason. Most DIY venues in NYC are literally a few feet away from some pretty sick MCs, yet they never spit at those venues, why not make that happen? That's our idea anyway…

At the time that the Fly Girlz and Nine 11 Thesaurus records came out, I was running a community center in Bushwick called the Beacon Center For Arts And Leadership. The program was modeled on the 5 elements of hip hop, with classes in all 5 disciplines, and promulgated a DIY ethos that framed students as culture makers, rather than aspirants who sought to learn about culture. Why not make your own records, your own shirts, your own show, etc… We posed these questions to the young folks there, and lots of good came of it.

As with most good forward thinking culture work, the people who were paying for it ended up not liking it, and they began cutting our classes, concerts, projects, etc… At the same time, ZS, Diamond Terrifier, and Trouble were getting busier and busier, so I bailed, and left the community center for a full time music and art practice.

During this two year period of dormancy, I kept my contacts from the community center alive, and continued meeting interesting MCs whose music I longed to present. But I lacked the time and space to do it, until now. I beat the pavement and got a lot of the folks who were supportive of the project in the past interested in it again, and I've put together a nice little team of folks to help push this music into the world.

Dutty Artz (DJ Rupture and Matt Shadetek's label) will be releasing the music on its Beyond Digital imprint. Market Hotel, where I am director of community programming, when it reopens will be our home base, and there area slew of producers, MCs, and engineers, signed on to make some dope new music in the coming months and years. Our primary way of sharing this will be on the Representing NYC blog, which will post one new track a week , however several times a year RNYC and Dutty Artz will be dropping digital EPs for the artist we are working with, and in cases where artists are out grinding doing shows and touring, we'll be doing vinyl as well. Check the links in this article to get a feel for the project, but in the mean season, allow me to introduce five of the artist we'll be working with in the near future, Hagfish Malicious, The Poet Lounge aka Petey Mosberg, Spaz (Gretski), King Shasty, and Baghdad Brook. Peace and enjoy the tracks!

Hagfish Malicious

Who are you?

I'm a Brooklyn sovereign native and I'm about loving life.

Where is the best place to eat in Brooklyn?

Downtown is the place. You can find all cultures of food in downtown Brooklyn. I'm open to try all spots, I don't really have a specific franchise, but if I had to choose I would say the infamous Juniors restaurant.

What's up in the rap game right now?

It's forever evolving and staying original, for better or worse. It's a kick knowledge and dumb it down situation and very profitable with the coolest production. Like I have. I'm what's up with the rap game.

The world is obsessed with Brooklyn right now, what do people need to know about Brooklyn that they don't already know?

The natural sovereign law and the people of the real land of North America are still here and active.

Can the various communities in Brooklyn work together to do cool shit? If so, how?

Hell yeah. Various communities could have more free, safer family events such as: shows, blockparties, field trips to various landmarks in each other's community.

The Poet Lounge aka Petey Mosberg

Who are you and what are you about in one sentence?

I'm Poet Lounge and I'm about my business.

Where is the best place to eat in Brooklyn?

IHOP is my favorite, so Imma say The International House Of Pancakes.

What's up in the rap game right now?

The rap game seems to be dimmed down to the point of displeasure, but the rap game will live on in the new generation of lyricists.

The world is obsessed with Brooklyn right now, what do people need to know about Brooklyn that they don't already know?

Brooklyn is all about respect and principals, you gotta show love to get love where I'm from.

Can the various communities in Brooklyn work together to do cool shit? If so, how?

Different communities as in different musical backgrounds can get together and do great work, ex. DJ Eddie Marz worked with the Brooklyn Phil harmonics and created a hip hop masterpiece.

Spaz (Gretski)

Who are you and what are you about in one sentence?

SPAZ GRETSKI, I'm about morals, respect, family, and keeping it raw at all times.

Where is the best place to eat in Brooklyn?

When it comes to the best place to eat in Brooklyn, I would have to choose a couple being Tony's pizza and the local cuchi frito in Bushwick.

What's up in the rap game right now?

Absolutely nothing.

The world is obsessed with Brooklyn right now, what do people need to know about Brooklyn that they don't already know?

They need to recognize all the hungry, dedicated emerging talent being bred in BK. I feel we're the new renaissance … We are the new revolution.

Can the various communities in Brooklyn work together to do cool shit? If so, how?

I most definitely feel that the Brooklyn communities and Brooklyn artists can come together for the bigger picture …. As far as how? …. We need to rid the individual state of mind #supporttheslimes

Shasty

Who are you and what are you about in one sentence?

King Shas representing Bed Stuy Brooklyn New York “cracking the code to immortality.”

Where is the best place to eat in Brooklyn?

I'm greedy I cant really answer that…

What's up in the rap game right now?

King Shas, and Hieroglyph Thesaurus is whats up with the rap game right now, cats aren't really building on things in my interest now a days…

The world is obsessed with Brooklyn right now, what do people need to know about Brooklyn that they don't already know?

Wrong time to come, due to gentrification and empty bellys… Watch your pockets.

Can the various communities in Brooklyn work together to do cool shit? If so, how?

Yes of course. If we can work selling drugs, selling sex, and making kids, we can channel all that energy into finding ways to diminish these things that bring us down in our communities and build it up instead.

Baghdad Brook

Who are you and what are you about in one sentence?

I am a free flowing soul, creating and seizing opportunities for my peers & I.

Where is the best place to eat in Brooklyn?

The Best place to eat in Brooklyn, is an official Family Cookout, with all the West Indian, Southern and American comfort foods.

What's up in the rap game right now?

Its a huge transition in the “rap game” right now, somewhat of a false reincarnation of the 80's and 90's “Golden Era” of Hip Hop. In existence with the emergence of this new school Trap-Hop. All essentially overshadowing the underground/”Real” Hip Hop that keeps the art and heart of Hip-Hop as a culture alive. Highlighting the craftsmanship of being an MC, with a story to tell.

The world is obsessed with Brooklyn right now, what do people need to know about Brooklyn that they don't already know?

Even though it can get grimey as motherfucker out here, you will meet some of the most lovable, loyal, creative, peaceful souls in the world.

Can the various communities in Brooklyn work together to do cool shit? If so, how?

There is always a chance for a bunch of ill ass artist to collaborate and make some life changing music/art. It usually takes a common cause (even enemy) for most people to come together and conquer. Regretfully when there are a bunch of lions in one habitat (with an underlining/common niche) there will be competition to survive. There usually takes one great leader to bring them together and forget differences.

Stay tuned at RepresentingNYC for more track posts from these artists and many more!

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