Hip Hop as a Movement Week returns to town this week for its ninth year, kicking off on April 18 under the banner: "Element Fusion, a True Skool Evolution." Running through Saturday, April 26, the week's events explore numerous aspects of hip-hop history, music and culture, through musical and spoken word performances, dance, discussions and film screenings. The fun starts on Friday at the Memorial Union Rathskeller, with the ladies presenting "Femme Fresh: Women's Music Hip Hop Festival," with performances by Psalm One, Butterscotch, Apani B Fly, Rhythm Queenz and DJ Garnetta.
The UW campus community has built a history of celebrating hip-hop culture over the last decade. Getting its start as a multi-day event back in 2000, Hip Hop as a Movement had been reduced to a one-night concert by 2004. Multi-Cultural Student Coalition member and event organizer Katrina Flores says the campus group decided to step in and take over the event in 2007 from the former organizers Hip Hop Generation.
"In Madison, there's sporadic [hip hop] events, a concert here or there and that is great but it's not a conference and it's not a place where you can get the education and entertainment factor together," Flores said.
"Hip hop as a movement week is supposed to be about a fusion of the elements, one of the most important elements being knowledge," Flores continued. "It's about allowing students but also the larger community to get together and form a dialogue about how hip hop has influenced our lives since starting in the 60's and early 70's as a movement in the Bronx."
To that end, the event will include film screenings, panel discussions on the "Future of Hip Hop Studies" and "Centering Gender and Sexuality in Hip Hop Studies," graffiti and dance workshops. The International B-Boys/B-Girls Competition, will held April 25 at the Monona Terrace, a much larger venue than the Memorial Union Great Hall last year, and is to feature dancers and guest judges from around the world.
Hip Hop as a Movement Week 2008 is intended to be all-inclusive and most of the nightly events are free and open to the public. The week's main stage event, set for April 24 will feature internationally recognized artist and National Poetry Slam champ . Rounding out the event will be renowned choreographer First Wave and dance gurus Rockafella and Kwickstep, founders of hip-hop dance company Little Brother, Fall Guys. The complete schedule for Hip Hop as a Movement Week 2008 is available in the related downloads at right.
The big names and venues are a testament to the event's success over the years and Madison's growing reputation and connection to the national hip hop community.
"You wouldn't really think so, but Madison is gaining ground as a hip-hop community," Flores said. "We are really blessed to be an up-and-coming city in the hip-hop movement."