The Pittsburgh Hip Hop Collective is hosting the first Cultured Steel Hip Hop Festival on Thursday, July 31 and Friday, August 1. This two-day event will feature live performances from national and local artists, meet and greets, an art gallery, a film screening and much more!
The first day of the festival kicks off at The Alloy Studios in East Liberty with the grand opening of the exhibit “40 Years of Hip-Hop Art and Culture.” The exhibit specifically recognizes the five elements of hip hop–graffiti, emcee, DJ, B-Boy/Girl, and knowledge– and is curated by Paradise Gray. Bits and pieces from the “Paradise Collection” will be shown alongside the work of artist Bob “Durty-1” Freyer. Classic moments from hip-hop’s past will be displayed with famous pieces from places all over the world. Doors open at 6:00PM and the exhibit starts at 7:00PM.
A 78-minute documentary, The Hip-Hop Fellow starts at 8pm and follows Grammy Award winning producer, 9th Wonder, during his tenure at Harvard University. The audience shadows him as he teaches his ‘The Standards of Hip-Hop’ course, conducts research for his thesis and discovers hip-hop’s history, culture and role in academia. The film focuses on the budding importance of incorporating hip-hop studies into the school and highlights the scholars and musicians leading the preservation of 40 years of hip-hop culture. Throughout the film he interviews masters like Henry Louis Gates Jr., Kendrick Lamar, Young Guru, Dr. Mark Anthony Neal, Rapper Big Pooh, DJ Premier and many more!
Day Two will be held at The Kelly Strayhorn Theater, also in East Liberty and feature performances from renowned headliners Talib Kweli and Rapsody, along with Pittsburgh’s own Jasiri X, Kellee Maize, and Palermo Stone. Doors open at 6:00 PM, and the performances begin at 7:00 PM.
Brooklyn-based rapper, Talib Kweli gets around… literally. Currently, he’s touring throughout Europe and will be coming to Pittsburgh from London for the festival. As one of rap music’s most in-demand performers, he is known for the political and social conversations he starts through his music. With his most recent album, Prisoner of Conscious, he is giving the audience “something that was less beholden to the world of hip-hop and more existing in the world in general.”
Rapsody started her music career in her hometown of Snow Hill, North Carolina with the hip-hop group Kooley High. Since going solo in 2008, she signed with 9th Wonder’s Jamla Records and in 2010 she had her first big breakthrough with the release of her mix tape, Return of the B-Girl. Now having worked with stars like Pittsburgh’s own Mac Miller, Eryka Badu, Donald Glover, and Big Daddy Kane, Rapshody has made a name for herself among in the hip hop scene. You can check out her new album The Idea of Beautiful here.
Kellee Maize first stepped on the stage in 2000, and has been an inspirational advocate for women’s rights, environmentalism, and resolutions for poverty and racism in the hip hop scene ever since. She just released her fifth album, The Fifth Element, on Valentine’s Day, which after one day, received over 90,000 plays and 6,000 downloads on Jamendo. Voted three times as one of the Pittsburgh City Paper’s Best Hip Hop Performers, she is a definite crowd pleaser and someone you won’t want to miss.
You must purchase tickets online for this event. There will be no tickets available for purchase at the door. Day one tickets are $10, and Day two tickets are $15. You can also purchase a festival pass for both days for $20 or enter to win a set below!
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