November 19, 2016
Officially dubbed Hip Hop Day by the mayor of Phoenix, Greg Stanton, it looks like Arizona has its newest official holiday to celebrate. Taking place every 3rd Saturday of November, this years Hip Hop Festival took things to new heights for themselves and the community of artists it serves. Invited to come and capture the experience of the festivities, there was definitely plenty to see.
Taking over Comerica Theatre in Downtown Phoenix, the scene was full of entertainment. From the collection of 5 separate stages that had people performing around the clock, to the kids breakdancing on the tile floor, you weren’t ever short of anything to do or watch. As artists took the stage and performed their set for the ears around them, there was a sense of confidence and excitement that filled the area. Family coming to support family. Friends coming to support friends. Everyone was there to enjoy themselves and the good times were there to be had. Combined with an art walk curated by the popular local artist Antoinette Cauley (@antoinettecauley_art), the culture of hiphop was well accounted for. Two of my favorites were artists Terrance Kelsey (@iamtkart) and his digital artwork transferred to canvas, but Bass from Bass Customs (@basscustoms) might take the cake with his renovated sneaker masks. Broke down and torn at the edges, Bass created a technique that turned your dirty Jordans into a personal piece of art that’s handmade and one-of-a-kind.
Put on and produced by “the biggest troublemakers in the state”, Respect the Underground (@respect_the_underground), their mission is to not only expose new artists to the hiphop culture, but to grow the community itself. With over 2,000 artists signed into their registry, it’s no surprise they receive such high praise and have the resources to make some major noise.
Only on-site for the morning/afternoon portion of the festivities, I still managed to capture the atmosphere the best I could as it was only getting busier as the day went on. So check out the photos and mark your calendars for next year. I imagine its only going to get bigger and better.