It’s official. I’m convinced that the entire Baltimore hip-hop scene is confused about what creating a “New Baltimore” should be about.
This post was originally meant to be a recap of #NewBaltimore2, an artist showcase event that took place last Saturday in Baltimore. But that obviously changed as the event, itself, changed unexpectedly. The event was scheduled to be from 7:30 pm to 3:00 am, but ended up shutting down approximately around 12:15 am, leaving some music fans disappointed that they didn’t see who they were anticipating to watch perform that evening. BUT that’s not what I want to highlight in this blog. I want to talk about the event’s mission and if it was truly met this weekend.
This was the second #NewBaltimore event. The first event was held around the same time last year and sponsored by the same people, DaCornerStore. I attended both events and have stated my opinion for both via social media. I will NOT be discussing how I’ve been scolded for my opinion on both events. I will say that people’s decision to attack me further pushes me to write why I believe we’re all still crabs looking for an exit from the rusted old barrel.
But as this topic of New Baltimore vs. Old Baltimore starts buzzing in the ears of people here, I want to emphasize my stance on the topic as a supporter of all art that comes from my fellow Baltimoreans. I attend all art events big or small; exclusive to the public or open to the public. I do not look to discriminate. I’m simply there to practice my art like many others who go to these artsy shows. I support everyone because I’m tired of this city’s talent being continuously overlooked. We deserve some recognition!
First, I want to say how proud I am of the turnout for #NewBaltimore2. There had to be around 200 people who showed up to support good music. I was even more proud to hear people in the crowd singing the lyrics to some of these artists music. It was all love and there was a lot of it. That’s something different from what I usually see while attending shows. I applaud the promoters for that.
So what’s circulating about this “New Baltimore,” (& I’m going off of what I’ve heard from talking to other artists on Twitter and Facebook) #NewBaltimore is here to provide a platform for the new, younger generation of artists, in Baltimore, as opposed to the older generations or vets in the city’s scene, who are said to have more chances and opportunities for their music be heard.
All of Sunday, I watched a few of the younger artists in Baltimore expressed their concerns, openly over Facebook, about how they’re not having the opportunity to “shine” alongside veteran artists due to a lack of support from those who throw, plan, and promote hip-hop events. Some say promoters are bias when choosing who to include in showcases and its unfair that they aren’t getting support similar to the veterans. But I say, this shouldn’t be a thought in anyone’s mind, at this point, because we all aren’t shit. (Excuse my French) But I believe it’s this state of thinking that’s causing a huge ruckus about what’s happening today. It’s when people dislike seeing other’s doing better than them that they make this artsy thing become a competition when in reality no one’s even signed to a major record label.
The controversy that comes with #NewBaltimore starts with its title as it points to the attention of something new happening within Baltimore. But what’s really new? I didn’t know that #NewBaltimore was meant to be a door for the newcomers to break into the hip-hop scene, rather than being about the attitude of people in this city, which is what we should be focusing on.
Everyone’s attitude is the same. We’ve proven this Saturday that we’re crabs, still, because why is it that we show up to this showcase and not the other numerous showcases in Baltimore that has new talent each day. Did we really come to hear some good new music or was it the names on the flyer that drew us in? Were we, as artists, really there to check out the competition because these performers have reserved spots in a show while some of us in the audience aren’t? Some of us only get to perform one song at Love and Hip-hop Open Mic Night held at St. Mary’s Restaurant.
The attitude of local artists has to change if we’re seeking to be recognized. ALL artists need to reframe from placing themselves on pedestals and for once, in this hard knock city, and learn to truly support. Aren’t you tired of lagging behind other cities’ reputations as society portrays them to be places of progression when we have an abundance of fresh new sounds right in our backyard and the potential to be as great as the people who come out of Atlanta, LA and New York?
Come on, now. Majority of the people at #NewBaltimore have made some dent in the hip hop scene here. So I asked myself this question when I left. “Taylor, when’s the last time you’ve seen any of these people at an open mic? If they claim they love hip hop so much, why is it so hard to support someone else’s event? Why are they showing up because they know who’s throwing this event instead of celebrating the art?” I have not seen one person that I saw at #NewBaltimore at any other open mic in Baltimore. Eargasim, Monumental Mondays, Be Free Fridays, Love and Hip-Hop, the list goes on and these venues are ghost towns each week. Answer that! We’re not encouraging the artist at these events. We’re not pushing for something new.
I guess #NewBaltimore really opened my eyes to how many crabs we’re dealing with, even with the entire city knowing we’re stuck in a barrel. It’s not people who aren’t artist we should worry about getting to these show. First, we need to worry about living the lifestyles we glorify and speak of. We need to be changing our attitudes and supporting talented people regardless of their names. We need to come together, then encourage others to come out to support.
But I’m just a blogger and my words have no value because I’m not an artists myself. At least that’s what some of these new artist say. I’m just tired of writing about the same thing. Seven months later, I’m still saying Baltimore Is Too “Cliqued” Up to Have Supporters. I shouldn’t be scolded for what I’m observing. My observations aren’t far-fetched. There isn’t a new Baltimore, not yet. We still have time to create it.
But what do you think? Am I wasting my breath? Will we ever escape this barrel? Will the newcomers and the vets come together? Will artist support these other showcases around the city? Let me know in the comments below.
Have you read my last music highlight? Read Music Highlight: Quinn Shabaz’s Day One ft. Jimmy Apoet & Leon Dominick on Doc’s Castle Media.