The 6th Annual Arizona Hip Hop Festival Review
Tracee A. Hanna
The 6th Annual Hip Hop Festival was not what I expected, it was so much more. The Festival was held at the Press Room in downtown Phoenix. There were several stages where new artists presented their music to the world, many for the very first time. As I walked from stage to stage, I parlayed for a brief moment or two and sampled the rhythmic stylings of the presenting performer before moving on to the next. The idea was to sample as many artists as I could during the two-day event.
There were times when I could not help but to get drawn in by a piece. I often found myself captivated by a beat. The best music makes you dance, subconscious movement, bust a move without fully recognizing what you are doing. I danced with strangers, all the while smiling gleefully, and happily they smiled back at me. We were connected by our love of hip hop.
The face of hip-hop has changed worldwide since its inception in the nineteen seventies. Hip hop has been embraced by the masses in virtually every culture on the face of the earth. As the music grew, styles developed, and hip hop evolved. The 6th Annual Arizona Hip Hop Festival embraced the diversity of the ever-expanding music genre all the while maintaining the authenticity of the music, the genuine wicked rhymes and beats of hip hop.
Thousands of people came together at this event and partied. Some came to support an artist or group only to find new music to which to dance. Although all of the performers were unfamiliar to me when I arrived, by the end of the event I was a fan. I fell in love with more than one track. I will eagerly follow the music careers of the performers whose music captivated my heart and made me dance.
The 6th Annual Arizona Hip Hop Festival had even more to offer still. It was not just a two-day concert, it was a gathering place where brand recognition could be established, fostered, and grown. There was a host of entrepreneurial products and services. The vendors were just as varied as the performers and the crowd. Many industries were represented, some I expected, many I did not. Of course, there were hat and t-shirt booths and food trucks galore which was of no surprise. Additionally, purse designers, shoe companies, jewelry stores, and marijuana stands boasted their products as well. Toss in a couple of internet radio stations, record labels, DJs, and some craft beer, and the expected was well represented.
Soul food, Mexican food, and of course the traditional American hotdog stand where Chicago style hotdogs were served up with a smile. There was fried chicken and waffles, carne asada fries and funnel cake. Patrons enjoyed offerings of collard greens with smoked turkey, pulled pork macaroni and cheese fries, and po boy sandwiches as well. What’s an Arizona festival without Elote, Mexican corn on the cob? Thankfully, I never had to find out.
Moving on from the food to the art, live painting, and the rest of the unexpected. The 6th Annual Arizona Hip Hop Festival showcased painters’ booths. Artists, some well-known, some waiting to be discovered, presented and sold their works of art. They presented a variety of paintings from African American icons to landscapes and city views. I even had the pleasure of watching the beauty of live creations painted before my eyes. I could not help but to look on in awe as I witnessed, with the stroke of the brush, paints swirled on canvas and one color blended with many to create something mesmerizing. I was pleasantly surprised.
Just imagine, there were more delights to behold. Networking at the 6th Annual Arizona Hip Hop Festival was a must. I chatted it up with musical artists, promoters, semi pro football owners and team members – the Arizona Spartans and the Arizona Desert Scorpions promoted their new season which begins in January 2020. Rep Your City Magazine presented their periodical, by artists for artists. I copped free samples from Oya Sunshine natural hair care, Drip oils and extracts, and Ziggies CBD products and a free CD from Papi Fuego. There was even a roofing company, Mountain Earth Builders; a print shop, Cesar Graphics; a screen printing company, Original Printt, LLC; and a barber shop, Rhymes Designs, building and growing their brands respectively at this epic event.
At the end of this networking, brand building, promoting, hands on experience obtaining, kickass concert festival, all I could do was look forward to next year.