February 8, 2007

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Hip-hop is not dead
Local MCs stake their claim in NH
By Erica Febre efebre@hippopress.com

Hip-hop artists in southern New Hampshire want to break the negative stereotypes of the hip-hop generation.

“When I was younger, the clubs around here wouldn’t even think about letting a hip-hop act through the door. Now they’re just starting to open up. It’s a tough scene to break into, especially in New Hampshire,” said Outwrite, an emcee from Dover.

The Last Days Project, which includes six local emcees, is a hip-hop event focused on creating a sense of community.

But, this isn’t the same generation of hip-hop lovers listening to today’s generic version of hip-hop, which talks about money, cars and women.

This is a generation of artists using what they call “conscious” hip-hop to get a real message across to listeners.

“Hip-hop isn’t about hating and that’s what we want to show. It’s about culture and expression. Yeah, there are people in hip-hop that chose to live a certain lifestyle. But, when it’s a bad lifestyle they portray to the public, it leads to problems. Especially when the youth are tying to imitate that lifestyle,” El*A*Kwents said.

The Last Days Project will include severalemcees: Outwrite, El*A*Kwents of Manchester, Vega X of Durham, Bob “8bzaG” Shagoury of Merrimack, Nobody Cares of Dover, and Curse Blize also of Dover.

“The goal of The Last Days Project is to create a sense of community, not only in Manchester, but around the state and ultimately New England. We want to gather like-minded people who are striving to expand their consciousness; people who are seeking to not only talk but take action to make changes happen,” El*A*Kwents said.

The Last Days Project will be a once-a-month event, taking place on the first Saturday of the month. The first show, on Saturday, Feb. 10, will take place at Begy’s Restaurant and Lounge, 333 Valley St. in Manchester.

“People say we’re fighting a losing battle, bringing a positive message to hip-hop, but we disagree. We feel that there is a place for conscious hip-hop and well-minded collaborations such as The Last Days Project

Other artists and organizations that are socially, culturally and politically driven are encouraged to get involved.

There will be various movies and slide shows playing during, before and in between sets.

Vega X, El*A*Kwents, and 8bzaG will return for the second Last Days show on Saturday, March 3, bringing to Manchester Artists Over Industry, based in Pennsylvania.

“This hip-hop is meant to motivate people to do good things, make a difference in the world. This is quality music, good hip-hop without the negativity,” Outwrite said.

Some might describe this form of “conscious” hip-hop as politically driven conspiracy theories and that’s a pretty good definition, according to Vega X.

“Today’s hip-hop music is very hollow and shallow. It’s all based on money and images. The Last Days Project is about artists speaking out about politics and environment issues,” Vega X said.

“We’re using music to broaden peoples perspective, wake them up, get the truth out there about things like spiritual forces, esoteric concepts, ancient civilization, alternate technology, stuff like that. A lot of things in life aren’t the way people think they ought to be,” Vega X said.

The Last Days Project will offer up a style of hip-hop that includes an eclectic and original blend of music and beats. El*A*Kwents calls it “edutainment.”

The Last Days Project
Who: Hip-hop emcees Nobody Cares, Curse Blize, Vega X, 8bzaG, Outwrite and El*A*Kwents
When: Saturday, Feb. 10, starting at 9 p.m.; Saturday, Mar. 3
Where: Begy’s Restaurant and Lounge, 333 Valley St., Manchester, 669-0062.
For more information: Go to the Web sites to find out more about any of the artists involved in the Last Days Project.
Nobody Cares: myspace.com/nobodycares666
Curse Blize: myspace.com/curseblize
Vega X: myspace.com/vegaxakadoomsday
8bzaG: myspace.com/8bzagthefuckinrapmayor
Outwrite: myspace.com/emceeoutwrite
El*A*Kwents: myspace.com/elakwents
Artists Over Industry: myspace.com/artistsoverindustry