It may sound a little like I’m on a soap box here with all this blah blah blah about the battle, so here is another voice…
This article was written by Elfy of MilwaukeeTalkie and R.A.R.E.
Can Music really end Segregation?
The Miltown Beatdown in accordance with the MPS 42nd Biennial Music Festival
BY: ELFY (R.A.R.E.)
Music? Really? What a great concept. But how so? Let’s see. I’ll take DJ Madhatter’s – The Miltown Beatdown – as an example. An organized event Madhatter put together about a year ago. What started with his very 1st and 2nd events of 2007, another one, the 3rd annual which just currently wrapped up was from January 9th, 2008 and ending on April 10th. The Miltown Beatdown is a Hip Hop competition battle consisting of musical producers who compose music and create beats. Head to head, with beatmakers from all across the city, rhythm and sounds collide on one stage to decide the best of the best. Madhatter remarks, “After 3 months of battles and 32 producers… the 2008 MILTOWN BEAT DOWN Champ is Milwaukee’s own MAJOR ON THA BEATZ. Major walked home with the belt and the grand prize. Major got the cash, but the real winner was Milwaukee’s HIP HOP scene. We were all able to come together for hip hop. It was a beautiful thing. Producers have since been collaborating and working with cats they would’ve never have met before this event. It’s been a great ride. Keep an eye out for the next battle, coming late in 2008! Thank you MILWAUKEE!”
The problems with Hip Hop music in this society has always been about the message. Whether you compose music ranging from club beats, crunk, old school, break beats, jazz, funk or what not, those who recognize Hip Hop for what it is, want a message that is pleasing and promising to the ears. And if it’s just fun, it doesn’t have to be foul or obnoxious. Fun music is good too. But have you heard of positive humor? Yeah. The negativity in the messages we portray to the masses becomes the main deciding factor to the listening ears, deciding if we want to consume that kind of product or not. Or if those are the kinds of messages we want to expose to the kids and our future generation. As well-said by Fidel of Gorilla Promotions, “Hip Hop is culture, rap music is corporate.” What started as a musical revolution aging since the late 1970’s to early 80’s around the Civil Rights era, Hip Hop was birthed as a positive tool for African-Americans to use. Which diversified into a universal language and connection. A culture of music, expression, voice, art, diversity, unity, and extracurricular. It also created wealth and a means of business in the Black market. Giving opportunities in Corporate America in areas of rap music, graffiti, DJ, and dancing. Apart from that we could talk about everything else like clothing, apparel, accessories, sports, marketing and so on that the Hip Hop world tapped into. But we won’t go there. Through the years (Generation Y), Hip Hop, with its growing dominance over the music scene, the money market took over and we have tend to of lost that sense of culture and purpose, letting Corporate robots define what Hip Hop is. They’ve allowed us to dumb down our intelligence as means to supply our pockets with money. It’s more of an entrepreneurial opportunity these days, than it is an outcry for freedom. Materializing our being and turning our culture into an image. What was expressed by rap group dEAD pREZ, “Get Free or Die Trying”, has now been recently manipulated by rapper 50 Cent as “Get Rich or Die Trying.” And the Hip Hop world, even before that, has never been the same since. They took our freedom to be ourselves and remain unique. We are all machines now. Controlled by the system of the Corporate world. And it all started when we lost the message.
Here is my personal interview with DJ Madhatter. Quick and simple:
1.What gave you the idea/concept of The Miltown Beatdown?
– I knew that Beat Battles were growing in popularity throughout the country and the world. So I thought it’d be wise for this very talented little pocket of American music, to have our own battle. I been involved in DJ battle and MC battles, but never a beat battle.
2. What were your intentions and purpose for the project before it even launched or occured?
– At first I just wanted to throw a fun party, but after the 2007 battle was so popular, I saw an opportunity to bring more members of the Milwaukee Hip Hop scene together. The 2007 battles (there was one in the winter and one in the summer) brought together so many different faces, I saw an chance for UNITY in this city’s segregated rap scene.
3. Did it turn out the way you expected or morally bring out your concept and perspective for the project?
– This event was a much bigger success than I could’ve ever expected. I wanted to see people together under one roof, but they did more than just that. Since this event, local producers and MCs have found a chance to work together. This unity can do wonders for our city and our scene. I will continue to work hard toward unity in our city.
4.Do you intend on continuing this event for the following years and years to come? And what would you change or not change?
– I’ve already begun some preliminary set up for the next battle. It will again start in the winter at the Jackalope Lounj, but I hope to take it to different venues and parts of the city.
So how do we save the so-called Hip Hop culture? Wait, never mind. Even better. How can music end segregation? Simple. Since people ain’t speaking right these days, simply take out the words. After all, it’s BIGGER than Hip Hop. Hip Hop is just a tool to get the message out and expand the revolution for people of color. It’s the movement that matters and what we should be active in. And that involves EVERYBODY. Again, “rappin is a bi-product of Hip Hop,” as said by Fidel. Despite the Milwaukee Hip Hop scene always being divided, the city itself has always been segregated. Number 2 in the nation, at that. In politics, ALL ethnic candidates lost in elections this year. And we are minority-majority. How does that happen? With the music scene, the East side won’t work with the West, North with the South, etc. Color-wise, everyone gathers pretty well. You’ll see blacks, whites, latinos, and Asians (myself) all together at events. But everyone stays on their own side of town. There’s the underground scene then the corporate scene. The kids creating a scene and influencing the city. Then those wanting to break out of here and go make millions. “You can’t say this out here, we don’t want that over here.” “I ain’t working with you, you better respect my people, I’m better, blah!” Nothing comes together. So I guess the fact of no messages is all that we have to bring the city artists together. It may be a bit sad, but then again, it’s an interesting concept. And I’m for it, despite the fact I just wish people would just clean up the language. But then again, we’re talking reality here. Hahaha. Plus, I don’t hold it against anyone. I can’t force you to do your music a certain way. I would be degrading your rights as an artist. And that would be demoralizing. We can all get an example of that from the late folk legend Bob Dylan. The Miltown Beatdown brought artists from all over the city under one roof. Regardless of what kind or how you play your beats, everyone was there. All ends of the city and all colors, united, not divided. It was a beautiful atmosphere. Just lovely. Good job Jordan.