Mayor Tim Kelly issued a proclamation in August, declaring Oct. 11-16 as Chattanooga’s first official Hip-Hop Week.
More than 400 people registered to attend the week’s activities, which took place in various locations throughout Chattanooga. Events included “Iggy’s Loudmouth Podcast,” “NoonTunes” featuring C-Grimey, “Black in the Day: A Poetry Slam Jam,” “Trappin, on a Tuesday: A Karaoke Event” and “All Souled Out: A Hip-Hop Art Show,” among others. On Thursday night, local and regional hip-hop artists showcased their talents during a live show under the lights at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga’s Chamberlain Field, including a pair of UTC student artists, $ubzerø and Vun Rashid.
Vun Rashid, a UTC senior in exercise science whose given name is Javon Roberts, is a native of Memphis. His performance was not only the first of the evening, it was Roberts’ first ever–delivered with confidence.
“My comfort outweighed my nerves,” Roberts recalled. “I had thoughts going through my head like, ‘What if people don’t like it?’ but then I decided I’m just going to be me, like I’m me every day.”
He was followed by $ubzerø, also known as Ethan Brown, a freshman from Chattanooga majoring in post-secondary education and English.
“It’s a great event and a great opportunity for artists as well, especially young kids, like me,” Brown said of his “totally freestyle” performance. “It’s like a dream come true to be able to perform for people. This was my first time ever performing.”
The celebration ended on Saturday with a day-long Hip-Hop Summit in Miller Park. The conference brought together artists, music industry experts and marketing specialists, and featured educational panels and workshops–as well as more than 50 vendors spread throughout the park.
A free, live concert–which featured performances by YGTUT, Mike Floss and Keenon Rush–followed the summit.
“We hope that this will continue every year and multiple organizations will host events throughout next year’s hip-hop week,” said Micah Chapman, co-founder of Hip-Hop CHA and the Hip-Hop Summit.
Other Hip-Hop Week performers included Swayyvo, Kay B Brown, Marley Fox, Rich Way CT, Chuck Marley, Calee, PG Castro,The Super Friends Band and Budders.