For the most part, reaction from the community has been positive.
It's a frustrating and familiar story here in Madison: A few people start a fight at a hip-hop show, and then fans and artists suffer when venues stop booking this type of music.
Early in the morning on Jan. 28, two men began fighting during one such show at the Frequency. The conflict culminated in one shot fired outside the downtown music venue's doors. As a result, hip-hop artists aren't allowed to perform there anymore.
The decision to ban a particular genre of music was a painful one for Frequency owner Darwin Sampson. In fact, the choice wasn't really his to make, he says.
Apparently the fight was the last straw for Larry Lichte, landlord of 121 W. Main St., the building that houses the venue.
Rumors that city officials and the Bassett Neighborhood Association outlawed hip-hop are not true, Sampson says.
In a Jan. 29 post on the Frequency's Facebook page, Sampson seemed to indicate that Lichte, the city government and the neighborhood association played a role in the controversial decision. In another post, he corrected that perception Tuesday by noting that the decision came solely from Lichte, who is enforcing a clause in the rental agreement that forbids hip-hop in the venue.
Lichte, who works for Empire Realty Company, declined to comment on the clause.
Nobody was injured in the Jan. 29 shooting. According to the MPD's incident report, both men involved had disappeared by the time police arrived.
Sampson, who opened the club in 2008, said the rental-agreement clause originated from problems associated with a previous tenant, Adair's Lounge.
"[Adair's Lounge] had been doing a lot of hip-hop and in fact had one shooting and multiple police calls to it," Sampson says
Around the time the Frequency opened, community members and the Alcohol License Review Committee worried that there would be more incidents of this kind, Sampson says.
"They didn't want to see a repeat of that," he says.
Sampson says he told Lichte about hip-hop shows at the venue, but he isn't sure why Lichte did not enforce the rule prior to the shooting. He insists that the Frequency didn't have any problems until the shooting and that the perpetrators were not regulars.
In the future, Sampson hopes to persuade Lichte to allow the club to play certain kinds of hip-hop, but until then, the ban covers all subgenres, from nerdcore to gangsta rap.
"As soon as everything calms down, I'm hoping to convince him," Sampson says.
For the most part, reaction from the community has been positive, Sampson says. His two Facebook posts about the incident have received more than 200 "likes," but there has also been some backlash.
"It's a very touchy subject, and you're always going to have opposite reactions," he says. "The policy itself has been called racist; I've been called racist. You're just going to have that."