From time to time I like to take a blog post to discuss some of the events happening in Milwaukee over the course of a week/weekend, that pertains to Hip-Hop, so that you can maybe become aware of something that you didn’t know about previously…and then maybe even go to it.
This Wednesday, Grassroots Wednesdays are continuing at the Mirmar Theater with the featured guest being Dukalion this week. It is an open mic type of joint and is all ages, so young guys and gals that can’t do the club/bar scene yet, here’s an opportunity for you to start cutting those teeth on the microphone. It starts at 8PM. Here is the FACEBOOK EVENT page for it.
This Thursday, The NightKrawlers, XL Big, AUTOMatic, MC Starr, and Tefman, will be performing at the fantastic venue known as Mad Planet. The one starts at 10PM and the cover charge is only $5 for a night filled with Hip-Hop. This wouldn’t be a bad way to spend your thirsty Thursday. Here is the FACEBOOK EVENT page for it.
This Friday, we have our Miltown Beatdown champion Lex Luthor attempting to lay the smack down on producers from all over the Midwest in Minneapolis at 1st Avenue. The event starts at 8PM, carries only a $5 cover charge, and the legendary DJ Premier is the special guest of the night! As far as beat battles go, Big Tune is a good one to make the trip up to MPLS to check out. Here is the FACEBOOK EVENT page for it. If you can’t make it, sent the kid your best on Twitter: @lexluthormke.
This Saturday, Cigarette Break, the band that you have seen back numerous UMG events more recently, will be releasing some new T-Shirts at Chic Lounge, with the joint starting at 8PM. The shirts were designed by clothing label FLHIGH BOY, and of course, Cigarette Break will be performing. This is a free event and you can find out more information about it on the FACEBOOK EVENT page for it.
Well, there you have it…the rest of your week is planned out.
True Skool will be holding their 5th annual block party this weekend with B-Boy battles on Friday and a day of concerts on Saturday featuring many of the Milwaukee names that you know (Raze, House of M, Rusty Ps, Kid Cut Up, Umbrella Music Group, Madhatter, Adebisi, etc.) as well as headliner, Rhymesayers Entertainment’s own Toki Wright.
For a complete list of performers and times CLICK HERE.
There is a lot of good community building type stuff going on surrounding this event as well so peep the press release for all the important information:
“TRUE Skool’s 5th Annual Block Party
TRUE Skool will kick off their 2 day event with the annual breakdancing battle, Adopt a Community Program Kick-Off and Block Party!
TRUE Skool’s 5th Annual Block Party: The Cyphers is being held on July 16th & 17th 2010 in partnership with RedBull, the Greater Milwaukee Foundation, Safe Alternatives for Youth Grant, Walker’s Point Association, 88.9 RadioMilwaukee, Time Warner Cable, and many other great sponsors! These events are designed to provide youth and young adults with empowering and positive opportunities for self expression through talent showcases, community service opportunities, and public art.
The two day event kicks off on Friday July 16th with the TRUE Skool/Motion Disorderz Crew Anniversary Bboy Battle-an all ages breakdance battle in honor of TRUE Skool’s & Motion Disorderz Crew 11th year anniversary of working together to provide safe, fun, and empowering events for youth. This year’s battle will take place at the Kosciuszko Community Center (2201 S. 7 St., Milwaukee, WI) from 5:00-10:30pm. Special guest judge is Bboy Roxrite, who is sponsored by RedBull.
Saturday July 17th, we have partnered with the Walker’s Point Association for our Adopt a Community Kick-Off event from 10am-12noon. Volunteers will meet at 10am at the block party location (212 E. Mineral St.) to pick up garbage, mark storm drains, and remove illegal graffiti in the Walker’s Point Neighborhood. Then from 12noon-9pm, we will host TRUE Skool’s 5th Annual Block Party: The Cyphers. TRUE Skool youth participants and staff have worked hard to bring Milwaukee an exciting showcase of both local and national youth and adult performers, DJs, musicians, breakdancers, and visual artists. The block party will include live music from 12-9pm with headliner Toki Wright from the Rhymesayers, live graffiti art exhibitions, the RedBull Outdoor Art Gallery featuring artwork on display and for sale from TRUE Skool youth artists and MIAD service learning students, the Grime Official Skate Park, breakdancing workshops, a community informational fair, vendors, food, and a beer tent from 4-9pm.
In addition to the events in July, TRUE Skool is working with the Walker’s Point Association to conduct clean ups throughout the summer from July to September through our Adopt a Community Program (AaC). The Kick Off for the AaC on Saturday July 17th will be the beginning of those weekly clean ups which include illegal graffiti removal and garbage clean-ups.
If you follow the Miltown Beat Down at all then you are familiar with the name Lex Luther (or Luthor…it’s been spelled both ways). He is a young and confident beatsmith that is highly motivated to sharpen his skills as a producer so that his talent never stagnates. As the winner of the 2010 Beat Down, he now has the chance to take his game to the next level, competing at the regional level of the larger Big Tune producer battle (put on by Red Bull) in a few months from now in Minneapolis.
When you talk to Lex, his passion translates well but he is unabashed in his delivery of criticism of Milwaukee. This is a double-edged sword because any MKE Hip-Hop fan can agree that there are people who should just put the mic or MPC down and focus on something else, but it also comes off harsh and almost like he’s shitting in his own backyard.
However his words make you feel, his beats are really the way that he prefers to communicate and based on the recent success that he’s had, people like his sonic discussion, and that is really what matters.
First of all, congratulations on winning the Beat Down. What was it like hearing your name announced as the winner of the 2010 Miltown Beat Down?
I was shocked to be honest. I thought we were headed to a “beat off” but it didn’t happen. I couldn’t sleep until 8pm the next day. It was amazing.
You are going into battle against stiff competition in Minneapolis for the regional final of the Big Tune beat battle, of which this year’s Miltown Beat Down was one of several qualification battles for the event…how are you going to approach this new level of battling?
I’ve watched several Big Tune battles online and I’ve noticed several things. The crowd is not as interested in diss samples as much and the most hype beat doesn’t necessarily win all the time. As of right now I’m going to just keep making beats and tighten them up until I meet with the Legion of Doom in July to discuss a new approach.
Are you making new beats for the battle or rolling with the ones that gave you success during the different rounds of the Beat Down?
I’m working on all new beats but I will probably reach back from the previous years to select 2 or 3 to take with me to Minneapolis. I doubt I would be as enthused on stage if I played all my old stuff.
You are a young guy who has had two years of success in the Beat Down, yet I don’t see your name attached to tons of Milwaukee rappers. Who have you worked with in the past and who are you working with right now?
I’ve done a song with A.P.R.I.M.E. and another with Stricklin from EMC. Some of the artists inquiring about beats include: Yo-Dot, Frankie Flowers, PRock, Sean Smart, Defcee, Sikhest, Tay Butler, Adlib, Tumble, A. and several others I can’t remember right now. Hopefully all of these come to fruition before the end of the year.
When you sit down to make beats, what are your weapons of choice? Do you typically construct the beat around the sample or do you make the sample fit the beat? Also, what’s the craziest thing you’ve ever chopped for a sample?
My weapons of choice include a MPC1000, two technic 1200’s, a mixer, pro tools, the Akai Samurai (to chop beats to perfection) and the Emerson EGzagerrator. It makes all my beats sound like they’re on steroids. I usually start with the sample to inspire me and I will construct it around the beat I create in my head. The wildest thing I’ve ever chopped was the Cheers theme song or the skate or die video game music. I never saved those projects.
How do you feel about the state of Milwaukee Hip-Hop?
I’m relatively new to the scene but I do like the diversity among all the artists. I really don’t have much else to say about the matter that I haven’t already said in other interviews except that we need to stop lying to some artists that are wack for their own good and ours. Even me. If I play some wack shit on stage I want people to tell me because lies fuck up everybody’s hustle.
What drew you to Hip-Hop production as your vehicle for musical expression?
I started by downloading Acid Pro & Fruity Loops in 2005. I would put funky drummer in the multi-track and add sound effects and other sounds from the internet. I made it with my brother David and he kept pushing me to make more. About two years later I bought a MPC2000XL and knew from then on my social life was over. Making beats became the ultimate form of expression for me because I learned how to control what I wanted to do with the sound. It’s the only aspect in life right now where I have total control. Whether you’re at school or work you’re essentially someone else’s bitch but when I’m behind the mp I’m my own boss you know? I love that freedom.
Since you are a young guy with some good success under your belt, you essentially have your whole career in front of you, so where do you want to be in 5 years and what are you doing to do to get there?
In the next 5 years I want to either have my own studio space in Milwaukee or I will have figured out how to expand and command other regions. I’ve made a lot of sacrifices to reach this level and I will make many more to reach my goals.
Any shout outs?
Shout out to Fuzz, Jim, Melo, Ace, Tumble & Stricklin for being real with me about beats and life. Shout out to Ren of No Gimmicks for mixing my beats this year and my friend Dan & Lynd-oh! for helping me finish the beats on time. Shout out DJ Dwood for being the big homie and helping me out all these years! We will get them duckets!! Shout out to DJ Madhatter & Kid Cut Up for giving me the opportunity to rock on stage. Shout out to the Ruler, Shagohod, PFunk, Judge Jordan, Burnt, Tyrranical Tom, Diabolical Dane, Brolic Krause, Dylan Thomas, and the whole gang in Madison, Milwaukee & Chicago for their support. Shout out to B&D for hooking it up with the ill samples too! Shout out to sweet baby rays for tasting so good on this roast beef samich I’m eating right now too. Lastly, I would like to thank God for everything and my Mom and Dad for letting me make noise all day. Shout out to JC Poppe for the interview!
If you would like to stay up with what Lex is doing you can find him on Myspace HERE, on Twitter HERE and if you have a serious inquiry for Lex about obtaining one of his beats, you can email him here: firstname.lastname@example.org. (All pictures used were taken by Abigail Benavides abigailbenavides.com)
Memorial Day weekend is always a busy time. This year is no exception to that rule. There is a whole host of events for people to pick from over the weekend. The gem being Friday night’s Miltown Beat Down finals at the Wherehouse. If you have heard yet, Freeway is going to be performing, and Jake One and Vitamin D are going to be in the house as guest judges. The very talented Frankie Flowers will also be performing.
The true stars of the night; 40 Mil, Zeekzilla, DJ Peru, and Lex Luther…are going to provide the true thunder of the evening hoping that they leave every neck broken.
A lot of people have been waiting for this Saturday night because of Fresh Cut Collective’s release party, but it’s not the only thing worth going to in the city that night.
I’m definitely going to stop by the FCC party to get my copy of their new self-titled album, one that if you’ve been keeping up with the snippets they’ve been dropping here and there, is certain to be worth your hard earned cash.
Travel a little south to the Cactus Club and you have APRIME and The Hollowz performing a show w/ DJ Optimist. APRIME is a ton of fun to watch and the new music that he’s preparing for his upcoming solo album is FANTASTIC.
Lastly, come back to the middle between Mad Planet and Cactus Club, and you have a party going down at Moct. Mash-up DJs Elechroic will be keeping things funny for you while some Chi-Town artists made the trip North to rock the microphone.
So, as you can see…your Friday is set, and you have some great options for Saturday. Whatever the case, have fun and be safe!
The Miltown Beat Down finals are once again on the horizon and once again, organizer Jordan “Madhatter” Lee, has taken the competition to new levels.
The event’s details have finally been announced. Keeping with the tradition of having guest judges who have industry background, Lee was able to secure Jake One and Vitamin D via his partnership with Big Tune, Red Bull’s nationwide beat battle.
The good news doesn’t end there.
You might recall that Jordan added performances this year, as a way to enhance the overall experience. People have been very split on this decision but I like it. What I like more is that Jordan was able to get former Roc-A-Fella artist Freeway to be the headliner of the performances, with Frankie Flowers opening. If you haven’t heard Freeway’s recent project with Jake One on Rhymesayers, you should familiarize yourself immediately.
And the good news doesn’t stop there. Jordan also informed me that the winner of the finals is going to go on to the regional level of the Big Tune competition! How awesome is that? I would venture to say “really awesome.”
Congratulations to the 4 finalists: Zeekzilla, Lex Luther, 40 Mil, and DJ Peru.
Regardless of who wins and goes on to Minneapolis, I think it’s safe to say that Milwaukee Hip-Hop is the true winner here.