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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Tucson hip hop gets some shine with Topaz Tundra showcase

    Kelsee Becker
    Kelsee Becker / Arizona Daily Wildcat The Original Saku performs alongside other poetry slam talents at “Hip Hop Unplugged” on Thursday night. The event is part of “The Poetics and Politics of Hip-Hop Culture”, a symposium featuring hip-hop scholars giving presentaitons and discussions across campus.

    Tucson hip-hop is emerging from a music scene typically comprised of grungy rock ‘n’ roll and indie vibes. Tonight, five acts and two DJ’s from the recently resurrected movement will perform in a showcase at Topaz Tundra art gallery in downtown Tucson.

    Matt Baquet, the driving force behind the creation of the showcase, recognizes that the hip-hop scene in Tucson is alive and thriving in the underground. This showcase hopes to bring performers from that scene into the local spotlight.

    “Hip-hop in Tucson kind of died for a while,” Baquet said, “but now people are taking it seriously again and I’m trying to spread the word because there is a lot of talent here.”

    Friday’s acts include Badio, EFRE$H, The Original Saku and Honor Roll Gang. These artists represent a variety of styles, as each performer has their own niche. From hyped-up party rapping to intense and technical hip-hop with raw lyricism, this show offers a wide range to entertain all attendees.

    Topaz Tundra is an intimate venue, and Baquet expects it will be packed to its 150-person limit. The lack of stage space is sure to make the performances unique and unlike anything concertgoers have seen before, as performers will be on the same level as the audience. It allows for a connection with the partrons not offered by typical concert spaces.

    Baquet is certain that as housing for university students spreads onto Fourth Avenue and into downtown, local hip-hop will thrive.
    “I think Tucson has always been about dusty rock ‘n’ roll and the real underground hipster stuff,” Baquet said. Times are changing, and in a way that can benefit both local artists and college students.

    “Let’s get some consumers here [downtown] so the artists can find an audience,” he said. “I feel like hip-hop is the easiest genre for college kids to relate to.”

    The majority of the artists performing tonight are local rappers who are eager to be a part of the revival of the hip-hop scene.
    “These guys just have a totally positive attitude,” Baquet said. “These guys want to make it; they just do this so they can continue doing it.”

    The all-ages concert starts Friday at 8 p.m. at Topaz Tundra and is $5 per person.

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