IF YOU GO
• What: Digital Butter presents Hip-Hop History
• When: 9:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 23
• Where: Rhythm & Brews, 221 Market St.
• Admission: $10
• Phone: 423-267-4644
• Website: www.rhythm-brews.com
ON THE SET LIST
Here are some songs you can expect to hear during Hip-Hop History:
• "Push It" by Salt-N-Pepa
• "Ice Ice Baby" by Vanilla Ice
• "Ain't Nuthin' But a G Thang" by Snoop Dogg
• "Jump" by Kris Kross
• A Run-D.M.C. medley
• MCs: Sparkz, Eroc, Warner MC, Floami Fly and Big Mic Mike
• Band: Bexy Ribeiro (host/vocals), Hunter White, (drums), Danimal Pinson (bass), Skinnyill (DJ), Brett Nolan (keys) and Johnny Appleseed (guest vocalist)
From sampling and turntablism to the East Coast/West Coast musical rivalry between Tupac and Biggie Smalls, hip-hop has had an enormous impact on America musical culture.
On Friday, a group of local musicians and emcees will take an audience at Rhythm & Brews on a 30-year survey of the genre, from foundation artists such as The Sugarhill Gang and Run-D.M.C. to modern stars such as Kendrick Lamar.
"I hope that people are reminded of where they were when the song was on the radio or special memories they have," says organizer Bexy Ribeiro. "I want a nostalgic feeling from people because that's what I get when I hear these songs."
Ribeiro is a local vocalist and trumpet player with ties to many local bands, including Microdahts, Milele Roots and, currently, Digital Butter. She also is a frequent collaborator in the local tribute supergroup The Communicators, which presented a hugely successful celebration of rap, hip-hop and R&B at Rhythm & Brews in April.
Long before she came to the Scenic City, however, Ribeiro grew up in Southern California, where gangsta rap exploded in the '90s. When venue manager Mike Dougher and Communicators' co-founder Jonathan Susman offered her the chance to organize a second event -- this time without ties to The Communicators -- she leapt at the opportunity to share her knowledge of the genre.
"I love hip-hop. Every time we do a hip-hop song with The Communicators, I know all the words and say all the hooks," she says, laughing. "It's been my No. 1 love. That is my jam."
Ribeiro will serve as host and occasional vocalist for the evening, which will start off with a set by a DJ, Skinnyill. For the meat of Digital Butter presents Hip Hop History, a backing band will provide the music, but the lyrical heavy lifting will be provided by five local emcees: Sparkz, Eroc, Warner MC, Floami Fly and Big Mic Mike.
Although she made suggestions for songs, Ribeiro says the emcees were free to choose what they wanted. They've put together three hours of material, though the length of the show depends on how the room reacts.
"We're just going to read the crowd," she says. "We have a lot of people onstage and a lot of material, so we'll go for a long time. It depends on when they kick us out."
Unlike the first show, the Hip-Hop History set has not be arranged chronologically. Instead, the music will ramp up in energy, starting out with lower-key R&B/hip-hop hybrids to midtempo selections like Snoop Dogg's "Gin and Juice." By the end, Ribeiro says, they'll close with climactic, high-energy showstoppers such as Kris Kross' "Jump Jump."
"We'll work it up gradually to ... when we just explode with energy," she says.
Contact staff writer Casey Phillips at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6205. Follow him on Twitter @PhillipsCTFP.
Casey Phillips has worked as a features reporter in the Life department since May 2007. He writes about entertainment, consumer technology, animals and news of the weird. Casey hails from Knoxville and earned a bachelor of science degree in journalism and a bachelor of arts in German from Middle Tennessee State University, where he worked as the features editor for the student newspaper, Sidelines. Casey's writing has earned numerous accolades, including first and second place ...