U-C, meet your hip-hop scene

Mark Beronilla, senior in engineering, practices break dancing in Allen Hall´s main lounge on Sunday afternoon as part of UC Hip-Hop´s weekly session. They are practicing this week for Hip-Hop Awareness week, which culminates in a break dancin Online Poster

Mark Beronilla, senior in engineering, practices break dancing in Allen Hall´s main lounge on Sunday afternoon as part of UC Hip-Hop´s weekly session. They are practicing this week for Hip-Hop Awareness week, which culminates in a break dancin Online Poster

By Nick Escobar

The fourth annual Hip-Hop Awareness week, presented by the Urbana-Champaign (UC) Hip-Hop Congress, begins today to focus on the four main aspects of hip-hop culture: graffiti, break dancing (B-Boying), master of ceremonies (MCing) and disc jockeying (DJing).

Each day will have a different event or lecture, culminating on Saturday with the biggest event of the week – the b-boy battle.

“We’re trying to promote the scene,” said Victor Carreon, president of the UC Hip-Hop congress and a junior in engineering. “We’re trying to get one hip-hopper aware of another so we can build a community.”

The first event of the week is a play titled KnowhatImean? by artists Kevin Coval and Idris Goodwin, which tells the story of how two men – one African-American, the other Jewish – found their identities through hip-hop. Goodwin and Coval use songs, skits, poems and monologues to poke fun at the culture that shaped them but also comment on its misconceptions.

Alistair Slaughter, sophomore in LAS and UC Hip-Hop member in charge of organizing the production, saw the play in 2003. Coval was previously a guest-in-residence at Allen Hall and developed a relationship with Slaughter and UC Hip-Hop while at the University.

“They’re just telling their life stories through rap,” Slaughter said. “They grew up in the suburbs and moved to the city. Coval’s experiences are different because he’s Jewish, so he talks about how his Judaism played a part in finding his voice.”

A DJ and an open mic will begin the festivities at 7 p.m. and the performance will begin at 8 p.m. at Allen Hall.

The MC event will take place on Thursday at the Highdive, 51 E. Main St., at 9 p.m. The venue will host the Weightless Invasion Tour featuring Blueprint and Illogic. The performance begins the showcase events of the week and will feature local acts liMbs and Al-iteration as openers.

Friday’s event is a lecture/discussion with Lavie Raven and William Patterson, assistant director of Afro-American studies. Raven helped found the University of Hip-Hop located in Chicago, a community based organization that offers classes on hip-hop. Patterson currently teaches a class titled Cash Rules Everything Around Me (C.R.E.A.M.), which deals with hip-hop, minority cultures and economics.

Alexander Skolnik, sophomore in LAS and coordinator of the lecture, said not to see it as a lecture but as a discussion. He said there is a heavy emphasis on interaction between the lecturers and the audience.

“There have been several lectures at the University on hip-hop,” he said. “Hopefully the more we have, the more the University will see it as an important issue. The more we exchange words, the more we learn about ourselves.”

The lecture is located at 112 Chemistry Annex at 4 p.m.

The week will end with “iL Breaks 2005: the B-boy / B-girl Battle,” a break-dancing competition. The event will take place in the Illini Union rooms A, B and C at 6 p.m. and run until midnight.

Teams from all over the Midwest will compete for a $900 cash prize.

Mike Crammond, senior in applied life studies and coordinator of the event, said that the event generated a good amount of buzz last year. He added that he is also happy with the people selected to judge the competition this year.

“Everyone will be on the floor,” he said. “You’re not watching the event; you’re part of it. It’s very intimate.”

Participants in the event must register between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m.

Crammond said the best part of the event is the atmosphere in the room. Ciphers or side circles are encouraged, meaning that anyone who wishes to dance or warm up can do so before and during the competition.

“Anyone can jump in – it just happens,” Crammond said. “That’s the coolest part.”

Two of the judges will hold break dancing workshops at the Union earlier in the day from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. They will show anyone in attendance the fundamentals of b-boying. Additional workshops will take place on Sunday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Florida Avenue Residence Hall.

A Graffiti event, DJ workshop and film screening are to be announced during the week.

“We hope to project a different image of hip-hop then what is usually projected,” said Carreon. “There’s a lot more to it.”