KEEP RISING TO THE TOP
After years of neglect, Detroit rappers and MCs are finally back in the national spotlight. Anyone who's picked up a hip-hop magazine in the past few months can barely turn the page without seeing some mention of super wordsmith Eminem or A&M recording artists Slum Village. Yet these two are hardly the only ones from the D getting props, with everyone from Bombshell to promoter Shawn P. showing up in features, reviews and interviews in such national hip-hop publications as the Source.
The current issue of Blaze magazine is chock-full of Detroit artists and features a full-page feature dedicated to Wall Street member Royce, who is currently collaborating with Dr. Dre on Chronic 2000 and has just released a project with Eminem titled When Bad Meets Evil. Thanks to his performance at the Blaze MC Battle in New York, freestyle king Proof gets a positive review in the mag with respect coming from such exalted rappers as Doug E. Fresh. This same issue finds Detroit native scribe Chastity Pratt working behind the scenes as she interviews Def Jam founder Russell Simmons. While he surprisingly didn't get his own article in this month's Blaze, Eminem makes his usual appearance in the current Vibe and Source. But one doesn't just have to look in magazines to see some of Detroit's finest talent represent.
Every Thursday night, join MC N'jeri and others at Detroit's Cafe Mahogany (1465 Centre, in Harmonie Park, 313-235-2233) for "Lamp Lounge," an evening of underground hip hop with DJs Houseshoes, Lacks and Rick. Up-and-coming MCs can flex on the open mic, but come prepared or you're sure to leave with a bruised and battered ego! DJ Carl keeps himself busy at Mahogany on Sundays and at Alvin's (5756 Cass Ave., near WSU campus, 313-832-2355) on Wednesdays as he spins nothing but the best in hip hop and reggae.
On Saturday afternoons, you can find Carl and Houseshoes laying down the beats for the weekly open-mic session at the reincarnated Hip Hop Shop (18911 W. 7 Mile, 313-537-3310) on Detroit's west side. Although the venue has no formal affiliation with the original store's founder, Maurice Malone, store owner Hustle Simmons and crew plan to build upon the foundation laid by the first store, including a soon-to-be-opened juice bar for thirsty MCs and guests.
The newly opened, hip hop-oriented, Plymouth Rock (15205 Plymouth Rd., Detroit, 313-838-9000) clothing store also joins the open-mic fray this month, with none other than DJ Carl hosting the event.
For those on the east side, MCs Ill and Hush of Da Ruckus host a Thursday open mic-hip hop night at the Wired Frog (21145 Gratiot Ave., 810-498-9500) in Eastpointe through January.
Plus, don't forget about other hip-hop mainstays such as St. Andrew's Hall's (431 E. Congress, 313-961-MELT) "Three Floors of Fun" every Friday. But no matter what you decide to do, with all that's going on, there's no excuse for you not to see Detroit's next big hip-hop star.
The only question is who'll blow up next!