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OR SQUARE: ATL’s Elemental Hip Hop Summer—NOW(!) is the Time for CommUNITY

What better time to put the UNITY back in commUNITY than right now?!?! Pop culture distractions when souls should be boiling over malpractice and injustice, tensions rising causing lines to be drawn deeper, violence, unrest—remember when activism meant being active? Remember when art and music were the platform for change? Remember when WE were the collective to move the movement? Well, ATL’s Elemental Hip Hop Summer moved art, music, dance, creativity and networking that involves actual eye contact and proximity to the forefront of positive alliances for those in the know.

Nelson Street Gallery & Mad Clout Present Savor the Flavor 2014

With opening night on August 8, Nelson Street Gallery and Mad Clout launched an event to showcase the art, the graffiti, the music, the entrepreneurialism, the bboy release, the solid expression that comes from uniting all of Hip Hop’s essential elements. The exhibit’s focus rests on the years and contributions of Bernie “Oiler” Perez, but extends its reach to include ‘The Flavor Savors Crew Aerosol Antics” of the past two decades with graff artists like Amos Axe, Baser Bugs, Chisme, Dax, Smash Tank and more in the spotlight. Kickin’ off the vibe, the unmistakable and forever fashionable Speakerfoxxx sharpened the speakers with her sly selection. A quick and seamless handoff to DJ Nervex provided the planks of wood underfoot with the precise reverb to bounce the bboy from warm-up to wil’ out. HBO, Zulu Nation, TBB and a diversity of other crew reps kept the space’s heads spinnin’ with breakin’ skills unmatched. The bass knocked the continued cadence of the exposition as Nervex passed the tables to Mr. Enok whose infamous BOOM barraged the momentum straight to the climax of DJ Lord (YES! THE DJ LORD from Public Enemy!?!?!) wrappin’ it up. His hands, his speed on the production tables, his line-up and precision crowning Savor the Flavor with his royalty. Truly Lord DJ!

Mad Clout, the genius behind Mad Clout Clothing, the seemingly weightless and expertly skilled bboy, the pioneer graff writer never ceases to amaze with his ability to collect the elements and to feed the people’s need to fellowship, to unify around Hip Hop’s provided platform to express change, to establish movement and to be independent while simultaneously collaborative, balanced. Savor the Flavor just another shine in that progression. Running from August 8 through August 30, Nelson Street Gallery deserves MAD CLOUT for recognizing ATL’s need for this community collective.

The August Edition of Speakeasy’s The Left Field Experiment

For those of you that don’t know by now, The Left Field Experiment is one of ATL’s finest creative collective movements—not to mention one of my personal fav’s!! The eclectic expertise combined for an evening of the psychedelic fused with the foundational forms of emcee, deejay and producer should be your only journey’s end each month. The August edition proved Speakeasy’s prowess yet again when the wisdom of ATL’s underground of underground’s brilliance, Illastrate consolidated the experiment’s expression (If you haven’t already, you MUST check out Eddie Coleman and Henny Loggins, both linked below—ongoing projects illustrated by Illastrate. Not to mention, just FIND OUT about this man!). Illastrate ‘and Friends’ hit center stage to bridge the likes of Dr. Conspiracy, Obeah, Divine Interface, and Knumbskull to his illustrious friends in the form of Boog Brown, Yamin Semali and Civil Writes. The stage also opened up for Byron the Aquarius Tyler Ambrosious glowing spectacular in prep for none other than (My favorite emcee of late!) Black Milk!

The last appearance personally witnessed of Black Milk’s acute angles to Hip Hop’s many perspectives established my exclusive praise for his impeccable pronunciation used to pronounce only the most pertinent of messages, the clearest of claims to inform the masses of the truth that must awaken and the unity that must prevail. From emcee to privy producer, his spotlight in left field shined his divergence directly from intentional linguist to prodigious sound artisan. Once again, The Left Field Experiment leaves no one behind and with each edition trumps its own platform. From Black Milk to September’s Supa Dave West‘s Beat Boxing album release, Speakeasy makes it look, well, easy—but, don’t be fooled, this is NOT a game and the community will always congregate in left field.

PBR & All Ways Open Creative Present The Green Room featuring EricNine’s Mural Reveal:

Final in our Elemental Hip Hop Summer line-up is an event anticipated for weeks! The Star Community Bar in Little Five Points revealed EricNine Lopez’s Pabst Blue Ribbon influenced VIP lounge mural built to indefinitely bless the space. Eric9 resides in the A by way of Brooklyn, NY and The Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale—and trust that ATL is the winner of that chronology! His visual artistry, to include the elemental essentials of illustration, design and street art, showcase skills unrivaled in today’s Hip Hop culture. The definitude of line and curve, the commingling of mediums with color and shadow, the signature characters are something every visual artist should aspire to and every art devotee should collect and support. His willingness to support other artists’ progressions shines, like offering apprentice-type roles for this mural’s work to new local visual artists such as COREYOgraffi and even more fortunate promising artists. His humble demeanor and undeniable motivation can be felt as soon as eyes meet his expression, both in paint and in person.

The Star Bar stage for this Green Room event boasted ATL Hip Hop royalty as intermission to the mesmerizing mural gazing, with Fort Knox on the hype mission as always! 4-IZE flowed phenomenal with his usual pitch of enunciated excellence and unparalleled wit while Floyd The Locsmif defined deejay as foundation. Grip Plyaz Hood held it down official status and the tables turned from open to close with resounding reverberations from Ree de la Vega and DJCamille. All these musical musings playing host while those in attendance danced their stress from diminishing to depleted to damn near never existed! Little Five Points has just gained one of the most prolific murals in its collection yet (and, it has seen some mural magic in its day!) and The Green Room has defined what it means to be ‘all ways open’. EricNine, we see you and ATL needs your expertise to collect community more than ever!

ATL, you KNOW that these are only samplings (some of THE best of, mind you!) of what Hip Hop has built in the A and what HOTlanta’s summer structuring has lifted across the city. The community needs this authority and its infrastructure will be the saving grace to the turbulent times wreaking havoc to the core. #FINDOUT, ATL because only WE have the power to put the U-N-I-T-Y where it belongs. Come join us! #ORSQUARE.