The hip-Hop homecoming here at Tri-C’s Metro campus Sept. 25-27 was a week of astonishing events for students, faculty, and families. Featuring two legendary DJ’s of Hip-Hop. Metro Campus started the week events with an open mic segment on Sept. 25, where the students showcased their talents. From rapping, singing, poetry, and break dancing.
Tri-C’s own, Eric Wilson hosted the open mic segment. The “Voice” had a chance to get his thoughts on how this event has encouraged him. “Biz has always been someone who keeps the crowd on emotional roller coasters. With songs like: “picking buggers”, and “vapors”.
The “Voice” also had a chance to sit down with a RAT program student/ open mic performer Twanna Freeman, who opened up for Biz Markie at the concert event held at the main stage that evening. We asked her what was she looking to be motivated by this hip-hop homecoming weekend, and what are her feelings, as she is becoming a face in Cleveland’s underground hip-hop music scene. “Because I’m able to do what I love, it feels good to my soul. I hope to break mainstream so I can bring other female artists with me. I love the energy of hip-hop, the energy between the audience and myself it takes me to a place.”
The students had a chance to have lunch with the legendary icon “Biz Markie” on Sept. 26 before his evening performance. He illustrated open and honestly of how he was initiated to the hip-hop culture, also how he became the icon of today. Markie said, “Be yourself. In today’s hip-hop, a lot of people don’t dare to be different. Record companies want you to do what they want. We were hip-hop Ginny pigs. Even in “Oh baby you”, I was told it wouldn’t make it with me singing on the track. Next thing you know it was the biggest song there ever was. What we have to do as a community in hip-hop is get ourselves back together Hip-Hop is a brotherhood, not just a culture and a community!”
The Hip-Hop discussion panel also took place Sept. 26 at Tri-C Metro. With Cleveland’s legendary M.C. Chill and Cleveland’s own Grammy Award winning DJ Swamp. They discussed the overall outlook of Cleveland’s hip-hop scene and culture.
M.C Chill is Cleveland’s first signed M.C. He signed with fever records. He also was a part of the bomb squad which was the first “supreme rap group” in Cleveland. Chill said, “The birth of hip-hop radio here in Cleveland was started at a radio station called “WDMT FM 108.” Most cats where club jocks, street jocks, or just cats in their basement with their turn tables. So then they start having a club style showdown. I’m pretty sure this was the first time anybody in Cleveland heard somebody scratching records at a radio station. Cleveland’s style of hip-hop then was that of true M.C’s the spirit of hip-hop back. The M.C’s were party rockers, story tellers, they bragged about their rhyme skills. It was kind of the beginning of the rap battle era and the freestyle era.”
DJ Swamp overwhelmed the crowd with a remarkable showcase of his endowments. From fire flames off spinning records, spare hands on the turn table, to acrobatics spinning records full faced until the records went spinning off into the crowd. He literally set the stage on fire.
“I bought a Casio RZ1 drum machine, a keyboard, and a four track tape cassette. I already had a cheap set of turn tables. But with the four track after trying a bunch of times you could make an insane mixtape. I’m like over dubbing and people just think you’re doing it with just two turntables when they listen to it. “
After I won rap fest 91 I thought I was on man, just sitting back waiting for my phone to ring. Then I’m waiting and waiting and four years later I was still waiting. Then I realized that it wasn’t just that. So when I went to the “DMC,” you know first I had to go to New York to qualify. Then went to San Francisco, and funny thing about this from the New York one to San Francisco it was a months’ time. I qualified to represent the east coast and then I went to the U.S Finals. I knew I had months to practice for the U.S Finals. So I’m practicing and practicing like crazy. Some reason they postponed it two more months. So I’m like awe I got two more months! It was a good thing I had those two more months because I changed everything. Came up with none of the stuff I had done in New York. That’s all I thought about for three months. It was from going to work driving a street sweeper to coming home and practicing Djing. For qualifying in new york I got to open for Tupac at the Gund Arena sold out Gund Arena. That was with Bone and Dj Quick. It was like being in front of a crowd like that definitely gets rid of some of your stage freight. After something that major things seem to be a bit smaller and obtainable. Then going after performing at a sold out Gund Arena went right back to driving a street sweeper at night. Went out to San Francisco they was picking numbers or whatever and when I went to pick my number I picked number 1. I’m thinking like I’m first? My friend that was with me was like that’s perfect. It took so long with them like setting up it’s like the crowd was just like bored. When I went up there and did that it was like amazing. I think it scared all the other Dj’s. All these Dj’s that I thought was sure going to beat me. Weren’t as on point as I thought. They were kind of shook. It just I don’t know it resonated. Then after that I wasn’t going to sit around and wait for the phone to ring again. I sent that contest out on VHS to everybody. To Death Row to everybody I could think of. Few years later lady of rage came up to me like “I was going to have you be my Dj. Suge showed me your tape.” At that time I could’ve Dj’d for Kid Rock, Insane Clown posse or beck. Kid Rock and Insane Clown posse were nobody’s at the time so I choose beck. He was already platinum and soon as I went to him it was on. I mean like a month later I’m on the Grammy’s with him.”