So last night the first (annual I hope) 5 Pillars: DURM Hip Hop Summit took place in downtown Durham, NC at Casbah. For y’all unfamiliar with RDU (Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill, NC), Durham used to be one of THE places to hear, see, participate in and experience indie/underground hip hop not only in RDU, but just about the whole state.
The Cat’s Cradle down in Carrboro (about 12 miles from Durham) pretty much always held the #1 spot, but The Bull City (aka Durham) wasn’t too far behind. This was right around the ’01-’03 era when I started school at UNC-Chapel Hill. Good times were had for a while, then a negative element took over and foolishness began to happen after the hip hop shows in Durham.
So there hasn’t been great, quality, consistent hip hop shows in Durham for years. That all changed last night, as Toon & The Real Laww put together the first ever DURM Hip Hop Summit. The event presented four Durham emcees/bands and one R&B artist: The Beast, Lazarus, J. Gunn (a BET Music Matters artist), Defacto Thezpian, and Sarah Kaboom,
and also featured the other elements of hip hop: graffiti, breakdancing and turntabilsm. It was a very dope, well put together and also well attended event. All the artist sets I saw ripped it (J. Gunn, The Beast, Toon & The Real Laww). The super thick crowd in attendance was a surprise and a plus, especially considering it’s summertime and half of Durham is empty because most of the university folks are gone.
The people in attendance last night were engaged and there was also a freestyle competition. Lamont Lilly’s LifeKit Lifestyle Clothing Company was in the building, as well as Runaway Clothing, creators of the DURM snapbacks that folks are starting to rock throughout RDU.
The Beast tore down the stage as usual. The band’s lead emcee Pierce Freelon just recently returned from a trip to Brazil, where he and Apple Juice Kid were a part of Rio+Social, which took place the night before the Rio+20 (#RioPlus20) event, a United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development being held 20 years after the landmark 1992 Earth Summit in Rio.
Below is footage from Piece and Apple Juice Kid’s interactive beat making session in Rio, where the duo provided the crowd a demo of their live beat making class, which they created at UNC-Chapel Hill.
After that, check out a promo video for the 5 Pillars: DURM Hip Hop Summit, where Lazarus’ provides the beats and rhymes, and NO CENTS showcases his breaking skills!!
Feels great to see that quality, positive hip hop shows are making their way back to The Bull City. I hope this is a trend that continues!!