On July 31 and August 1, 2014 at Alloy Studios and the Kelly Strayhorn Theater in East Liberty, the first annual “Cultured Steel Hip Hop Festival” presented by the Pittsburgh Hip Hop Collective will take place. Cultured Steel will be headlined with performances by Talib Kweli and Rapsody, assisted by Pittsburgh artists Kellee Maize, Jasiri X and Palermo Stone. Unlike the monthly events the Collective has been hosting, this will be a much larger, two-day event featuring an art gallery, a film screening of 9th Wonder’s “The Hip Hop Fellow,” artists meet-and-greets, food, drinks and several high-profile artists taking the stage to perform. Two-day passes are available for $20.
Day 1 [6-10pm; Alloy Studios]: The grand opening of the Exhibit “40 Years Of Hip-hop Arts & Culture.” A tribute to the five elements of hip-hop, curated by Paradise Gray, presenting pieces from “The Paradise Collection” and featured artist Bob “Durty-1” Freyer. This exhibit consists of Classic Hip-hop photos and original hip-hop art by world renowned hip-hop artists and photographers. Artists include Ernie Paniccioli, Joe Conzo, Andre’ LeRoy Davis, Anire Mosley, ASKEM, Tarish “Jeghetto” Pipkins, Ignacio Soltero and more. Funding for The Paradise Collection was provided by the Advancing Black Arts in Pittsburgh Program, a partnership of The Pittsburgh Foundation and The Heinz Endowments. At 8pm, a film screening of 9th Wonder’s “The Hip Hop Fellow,” which depicts the hip hop legend’s groundbreaking Harvard University fellowship, the first of its kind, will be shown as a tribute to hip hop’s history and culture. Admission is $10 for this day only.
Day 2 [7-11pm; Kelly Strayhorn Theatre]: Celebrate hip hop music with three hours of high quality live performances. The headlining acts are renowned lyricist Talib Kweli and 9th Wonder Protégé, Rapsody. Assisting them are Pittsburgh standouts Jasiri X, Palermo Stone and Kellee Maize. Doors open at 6pm, the show begins at 7pm and tickets are $15 for this day only.
The “Cultured Steel Hip Hop Festival” is two days filled with live performances, art galleries, film screenings, local businesses and clothing companies on display, and many more features that will not only highlight the hip hop culture for Pittsburgh residents, but will highlight Pittsburgh’s influence on hip hop. The Pittsburgh Hip Hop Collective has hosted successful monthly events beginning in February 2014, hosting legends like 9th Wonder, Jean Grae, Pharoahe Monch and Black Ice for discussions and performances aimed to educate and enhance the hip hop and arts culture in Pittsburgh.
R.A.R.E. Nation, a growing local hip hop music company, has partnered with Jasiri X and 1Hood Media to create the Pittsburgh Hip Hop Collective. The Collective’s major goal is to revive and shift the culture of hip hop in Pittsburgh, and has been loosely referred to as a “Pittsburgh Renaissance” of hip hop and art. The city has seen a lot of rappers, but very little culture here, which is troubling for the genre’s future. The collective has recently received a grant from Advancing Black Arts in Pittsburgh, a joint project of The Pittsburgh Foundation and The Heinz Endowments, to organize several different types and sizes of hip hop events in the city during this year. Many of these events are focused on laying the foundation for initiating change: educating people about hip hop, its history and its culture.