Thursday, January 14, 2010

Real Hip Hop? Real Bushwick

By Aaron Short

Brooklyn goes hard at a new performance series featuring musicians, poets, dancers, and other youth performers from New York’s most talented borough.

The series, entitled “Real Bushwick/ Bushwick Real?” and held in Bushwick at I.S. 291, promises something for everyone.

On January 22, The Beacon Center for Arts and Leadership and Representing NYC will present hip hop acts and performers, including Nine 11 Thesaurus, The Sound, Dan Friel, Life and Yung Starz, Mic Blaque, DJs TV Baby and Lord Easy and a special guest appearance by Rahiem, of Grand Master Flash and the Furious Five fame.

Real New York’s goal for the show was to assemble a diverse group of youth performers and community-based artists and provide them a platform for the production of original works. It will be a treat for the audience too, anticipating eclectic lyrical performances from Rahiem, who has been busy promoting an upcoming solo album due for release in early 2010, after debuting his first radio single, “Gettin Money” in fall 2009.

Other highlights include songwriter, emcee and producer Mic Blaque, from Brownsivlle, who incorporates sounds from Bob Marley, Curtis Mayfield and Nas. A familiar artist to many Bushwick residents, Blaque has often performed alongside political rallies and social causes and has actively contributed to Sankofa Empowerment. The nonprofit group promotes youth leadership in communities of color and helped organize the Bushwick 32, Bushwick-based youths who were reportedly wrongfully arrested in a 2007 police sting.

“Entertainment is just one aspect of our music, I think we forgot about the other parts,” said Blaque. Joining Blaque is Dan Friel, a DIY artist and musician who composes noise pop through lo-fi electronics to create complex arrangements with euphoric melodies, harsh textures and distorted beats. He has been praised by the likes of the New York Times, Rolling Stone, Wire and Pitchfork, which said Friel “bends his new toys to the particular vision of his better-known band, that is, to twist noise until it’s basically pop,” calling the accomplishment “no small feat.” Friel’s sounds will be on display, as he likely runs through songs from his 2008 solo recording, “Ghost Town.”

Finally, Nine 11 Thesaurus, made up of Kevin Matos (aka God’Sun), Kaymel Matos (aka Hollywood), Bryan Small (aka Breezy) Barrigton Bottswana Black (aka Riddic.c), Fredric Aldeco (aka P-Dot), Bernard Barnes (aka Tai Chi) and Maurice DOuglas (aka Shasty) are looking forward to performing their first record, Ground Zero Generals for the hometown crowd. The group met at the Beacon Center for the Arts and Leadership’s Teen Action program and broadcast a weekly radio show “Real Talk w/ Nine 11 Thesaurus” every Wednesday at 7 pm on Radio 23.

They are also presenting two new groups: Life and Yung Starz and The Sound, which features talented female teenage artists and musicians who have been recruited by viBe SongMakers, a program of viBe Theater Experience.

Co-curators Sam Hillmer of Representing NYC and Emily Krell of Real Bushwick and Whitney Live, are touting the performance as a do-it-yourself art space that will function as a more permanent gathering concert venue for arts and culture in North Brooklyn.

Real Bushwick/ Bushwick Real will take place at I.S. 291 (231 Palmetto St.) January 22 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $10.


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