Wednesday 30 Jul

Power Pyramid - The God Drums

Power Pyramid doesn’t have much patience for nonsense. That appears to be the takeaway from the Oklahoma City quintet’s last 10 months, which brought The God Drums in September, the Insomnia EP in January and its latest, self-titled effort in July.

07/29/2014 | Comments 0

TJ Mayes - "When Love Comes Down"

’50s era rock ’n’ roll had been long overdue for a rebirth. Thankfully, the stockpile of capable luminaries has not been in short supply over the past few years. 

07/23/2014 | Comments 0

Boare - "playdatshit"

The world is in the midst of an electronic music renaissance, and you find most of this boon of producers laying claim to the club-friendly, bass-dropping variety, holing up in the the free-flowing world of hip-hop beatmaking or pitching their tent on the out-there, boundary-pushing EDM camp.
07/23/2014 | Comments 0

Broncho - "Class Historian"

Broncho has never been hurting in the hook department. The success of the trio’s 2011 debut, Can’t Get Past the Lips, was predicated mostly on its ability to marry melodies with kinetic guitar riffs and anarchic energy. Yet we’ve heard nothing to the degree of pure pop catchiness on display in “Class Historian,” the new single from Broncho’s upcoming sophomore album, Just Enough Hip to Be Woman.
07/23/2014 | Comments 0

Manmade Objects - Monuments

No one wants to be forgotten; everyone wants some sort of legacy, a mark they leave behind as they exit this life for whatever lies beyond.

And for as long as there has been death, there have been monuments — whether austere or understated, abstract or concrete, prominent or tucked away in private — erected by the ones they loved to assure that remembrance, at least for a time.
07/15/2014 | Comments 0
Home · Articles · Music · Music · Hipper than now?

Hipper than now?

While the overall genre is fraught with battles, local rap and hip-hop artists realize working together will strengthen their scene.

Stephen Carradini April 6th, 2011

Jay-Z may have 99 problems, but the Oklahoma City rap scene has only one: fragmentation.

But that’s changing, as the metro’s diverse strands of hip-hop slowly unite into a community.

“We’ve identified 600 acts statewide,” said local rap promoter Marcus Hayes. “There’s a good culture and community that is growing.”

That group doesn’t just include black males, either; Hayes noted the growing prominence of female, Caucasian, Hispanic, American Indian and even Farsi rappers around town. The rise of women in the scene is especially encouraging to him.

We can’t do it on our own, without each other.

—Cliff Red Elk

“Men are coming out to the shows. It used to be when a woman was on the bill, it was crickets. There were all these women who weren’t getting heard,” Hayes said. “We have more females getting into it and getting into production and technical aspects, mixing and mastering. And that’s pretty exciting.”

Cliff Red Elk, who performs as the city-based Red Elk, has noticed the boom in American Indian hip-hop.

“When I first did it to now, I can’t even say how many hundreds of percent it’s increased,” Red Elk said. He’s also seen the change toward community. “It’s starting to be there, more there than it’s ever been. Top artists are starting to realize that we can’t do it on our own, without each other. A nation divided won’t conquer anything.”

Oklahoma City rapper Jabee, who has performed since 2000, feels the scene is growing.

“It’s the best I’ve seen in a long time,” he said. “People are listening, and a lot of good music is being made.”

But there’s still plenty of work to be done. Rap still isn’t as mainstream in OKC culture as its proponents would like.

“It is starting to get a little more accepted, with Bora Bora doing shows,” Red Elk said. “It would be great if there were a central venue in Bricktown that everyone worked to support, so that you could go to it each weekend and hear stuff.”

According to Hayes, another problem with the current state of rap isn’t specific to the capital city.

“Rock has more of a visual aspect,” Hayes said. “I’ve been trying to encourage artists to bring props and make it a theatrical atmosphere. There have been a couple artists that took that seriously. Hip-hop shows are missing that theater element.”

He mentioned recent events in the community, like Great Day in O’City and the Miss O’City hip-hop pageant, as evidence of the genre’s growth. But a ceiling still exists; while several artists have made some noise outside of the metro, none have become nationally renowned.

“We’ve had some success, but we haven’t had that breakout pop-culture phenomenon,” Hayes said.

Added Jabee, “It takes a lot for people to smash out.”

But with a large amount of acts, a growing number of venues and increasing support for rap in Oklahoma City, that may happen sooner than later.

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