A Music Farm show is highlighting Charleston's growing hip-hop scene and also revealing the diversity within the genre.
The subgenres represented range from trap rap to country rap to Caribbean-inspired beats. And while some of the artists run in overlapping circles, many have not performed on the same ticket before.
"A lot of us usually don’t bump into each other," says Walter Brown, one of the artists slated to perform.
Brown says he has Matt "Oystermacc" Grant to thank for being added to the lineup. The promoter, who also hosts boat parties and silent headphone parties, reached out to him a few months ago with the idea to throw a show featuring a varying lineup of hip-hop artists across Charleston.
"They picked different subgenres of hip-hop, and that was what their goal was, to intermingle crowds and bring all those different little hubs together," Brown says. "Inclusion — it's a great step in that direction, trying to get us all to mix and mingle and widen our communities. I feel like there have been a couple shows like that, but on a large scale, this is probably the first one."
Brown hasn't been shy about his belief that the hip-hop scene has some unifying to do. In a July 2018 article for Charleston Scene, he shared his thoughts: "There’s tension, and that isn’t breeding success."
Another one of the performers, B.Kiddo, shares a similar mindset.
"There's the local rap scene and the native rap scene," she explains. "There's this divide between downtown and hood rap, and I'd love to see it more unified. This show is the best attempt I've seen to blend and unify the hip-hop scene. For me to be a part of that is dope, because it’s necessary."
B.Kiddo thinks it all comes down to actively putting in effort toward networking with different groups throughout Charleston's music scene. And she says she's seen the magic happen when the divide — culturally, ethnically and racially — is removed.
"I’ve seen the most gangster guys and girls from my neck of woods talking with white College of Charleston students at some bar and really vibing," B.Kiddo says. "People aren’t as hateful as we think."
Another performer on the roster, Backboy Sav, also agrees that the tension can be broken and this show is one way of doing just that.
"It's different," Backboy Sav says. "This is a market that hasn't really heard this sound. We all need to get out a little more and put in some footwork to getting out of our comfort zone."
In a way, he says, it's about realizing that we all share similarities.
And he shares one similarity with Brown, though they haven't yet performed together. Both artists were arrested when they were younger and spent years in jail. When they got out, they had a new perspective and a new focus: music.
Both have been writing, recording, releasing albums and playing shows ever since.
“I had to get my scars and bruises,” Brown says.
Last summer, Brown released an album with an affiliate company of Sony. It touched on the experiences he has been through, from depression and loss to self-discovery. His Spotify numbers have climbed into the tens of thousands each month.
Backboy Sav says he's looking forward to hanging out with Brown, and the other artists who range from Matt Monday to the Harley Boys at the Music Farm.
"It’s always going to fall on us as artists to be approachable in these spaces," Brown says. "But they're definitely putting us in an environment where we can more easily build these bonds and grow the community. That’s what it’s all about at the end of the day."