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October 18, 2011


Will the Naptown Hip-Hop Fans Please Stand Up?!

by @thoughtontracks

This is not a review. This is a call out.

It is time for the Indianapolis hip-hop fans to come out of the woodwork. Where have y’all been hiding and what have you been doing? Some serious opportunities have been missed in recent weeks and it is raising reason for concern.

On August 30th, I attended Rock the Bells featuring veritable legends Raekwon, Ghostface and Mobb Deep. The Egyptian room was half-empty at best (half-full if you’re into that sorta thing.) The group put on a helluva performance despite the mediocre attendance. It may have gone down as one of the shows of the year had it been held at The Vogue with a near capacity crowd.

The lackluster attendance at the first Rock the Bells installment was followed by a postponement and eventual cancellation of the Mos Def / Talib Kweli  Black Star performance. I know this tour struggled across the country, but unfortunately, Indianapolis was no different. Maybe tickets were a tad on the costly side, but we are talking about some of indie hip-hop’s strongest acts.

Last night brought one of underground hip-hop’s hottest up-and-coming acts, Das Racist, to town for the second time this year. The trio played to a sold-out crowd at White Rabbit Cabaret earlier this spring. The stellar performance, followed by unparalleled buzz surrounding their release Relax, prompted last night’s billing at The Vogue in Broad Ripple. Unfortunately, once again, Indianapolis’ hip-hop fan base fell short.

The Das Racist show felt more like a raucous house party than any concert worthy of The Vogue. If you care about hip-hop and would like to see Indianapolis play host to major acts in the future, these recent turnouts should serve as cause for concern. Das Racist will be featured on the cover of next week’s Spin magazine. Collectively, the Rock the Bells crew accounts for some of hip hop’s founding fathers.

If you can’t show up for these shows, what will you show up for? That’s the question I keep asking myself and I can promise that promoters are thinking the same. I hope hip-hop isn’t dead in this region, but attendance proves otherwise. The next time a decent lineup comes to town, get to the box office or we’ll be relegated to a life of Weezy, Jeezy and worse.

Written by Rob Peoni

5 Comments Post a comment
  1. Oct 18 2011

    I would love to see more people out supporting our local hip hop artists as well! We push hard for this city!

    • Oct 18 2011

      Agreed Ed. Some seriously talented folks in Indy. I just listened to the work you did with Freddie Bunz and Grey Granite on ‘Slaughter on The Audio’ this morning. Great stuff and congrats on the release! Stream it here y’all: Electric KoolAid

  2. raj
    Oct 18 2011

    Nice write up rob. I agree with everything you said.

    I didn’t know I was going to Das Racist until a few hours before the show. I had to go through my phone to find someone who was atleast familiar with them and convince them to go. I knew it wouldn’t be a packed house going in but wanted to go on the sole fact of supporting them and the indy hip hop community. It’s been great getting all of these shows to come to indy that I almost feel spoiled because we have not had this amount of hip hop/indie shows come through here in a while. MOKB has been a huge part of it but there’s only so much they can do if we want it to come back.

    Elzhi, for example, was one of the best hip hop shows I’ve seen in indy in a while. Cost? $6! I know there are promoters tryng to put indy on the map but it’s hard when no one is showing up. I didn’t go to RTB, but was planning on going to Black Star until I heard about the cancellation last night. I plan on going to Redman/Curren$y this weekend and hope there will be a decent showing.

    So yes, I’m frustrated too. Granted it was a Monday night but I think DR did a great job of getting everyone hyped. I saw them at p4k too and thought last night’s performance was a lot more fun. Plus, Danny Brown put on a stellar performance and is definitely about to get popular soon. Don’t sleep on this shit indy!

    • Oct 18 2011

      Thanks for reading Raj and contributing to the conversation with some insightful comments. Happy you were one of the few to show up last night. I don’t know what to say, other than keep going through that phone book and hounding your friends brotha! If enough people keep screaming, somebody’s going to hear.

  3. Ryan Sellers
    Nov 1 2011

    Some friends of mine and myself will be in town November 5th and are looking for a a good hip hop club or at least somewhere that has good hip hop music. Do you have any suggestions for us as we are not from the area. Would really love to see a show that night, but if we can’t we would still LOVE to go to a place that is passionate about hip hop.

    THanks for any help you can give me.


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