Archive for January, 2012

Hip-Hop Gives Back to Skid Row with Free 1/15 Concert feat. Public Enemy, Cypress Hill, Kurupt, King T, Kid Frost, Egyptian Lover + more.

Posted by Billyjam, January 5, 2012 10:40am | Comments (2) Bookmark and Share
Dubbed as both the Operation Skid Row Music Festival and the Occupy Skid Row Music Festival, on January 15th Chuck D and Public Enemy along with a dozen or more (mostly old school LA) hip-hop acts will put on a free concert for the down-on-their-luck residents of Los Angeles’ desolate Skid Row district. The list of other performers for this wonderful free all afternoon event, that will also be open for free to anyone from anywhere who wishes to attend, includes Cypress Hill, Kurupt from the Dogg Pound, Mellow Man Ace and Zzyzzx, King T, Rapper’s Rapp Group, Sir Jinx and General Population, OG Kid Frost, L.A. Posse, and the Egyptian Lover. What makes this concert significant is that all of these artists have agreed to perform for free as a an unselfish token in this new year for the homeless population of LA’s famed Skid Row area which contains one of the largest stable populations of homeless persons in the USA. A 2011 study estimated that Skid Row’s population was at over 4300 people!

As with so many of the worthy events and happenings associated with Skid Row that I hear about this one too is also linked directly back to General Jeff – the longtime LA hip-hop figure, friend of Amoeba, hip-hop golden age recording artist, & community activist/tireless supporter of the rights of LA’s Skid Row community. General Jeff (real name Jeff Page) is Resident Director for Central City East/ Skid Row & is on the Board of Directors for the Downtown Los Angeles Neighborhood Council as well as being VP of Outreach and Communications and is always down to volunteer his time, skills, and endless energy to the worthy residents of Skid Row with whom he has worked on behalf of for years. This morning I caught with General Jeff, who was up early busy at work while listening (he informed me) to the late great LA hip-hop artist Mausberg‘s Non-Fiction album.

I asked General Jeff whose idea it was for this wonderful festival and how it all came about?  “The “Occupy Skid Row” Music Festival came to me from Chuck D of Public Enemy. He was already working on a book with another great Skid Row activist Pete White of LA CAN (Los Angeles Community Action Network). Chuck D came to Skid Row last year on that project and he and I re-connected after all these years. The last time I saw Chuck D was when I was with Rodney-O and Joe Cooley and we did a couple of shows in Denver as P.E.’s opening act,” he said continuing, “We exchanged contact numbers again and Chuck mentioned that he was feeling the positive energy coming out of Skid Row but felt that it needed to be bigger. He offered to use his “rep” in order to shed more light on our community’s issues. He felt that the best way to do this was via a concert. We initially choose the summer of 2012. Obviously, we couldn’t wait that long!”

On the same date as the concert, January 15th aka Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.‘s birthday, that book that Chuck D and Pete White were working on titled Freedom Now will have a book launch event at LA’s Grammy Museum (across from the STAPLES Center) from 10am until 1pm. “Chuck contacted me and said that immediately after the book launch, he wanted to come to Skid Row and do the concert. Keep in mind that he told me this only two days before Christmas. That meant that we only had two good weeks to put this thing together,” said Jeff of the impressive work that went into this last minute event. “Luckily, my name is still good in the rap game. As I reached out to the talent, all of whom I consider good friends, not one of them hesitated after I told them what we were trying to do. They all wanted in! As a matter of fact, we’re expecting more acts than we have time for. Some of the groups are flying in from out of town just for this. Spending their own money on plane tickets, knowing that they aren’t making anything. Simply wanting to give back. This event is about hip-hop giving back. We’ve had interest from other big name stars, but they haven’t confirmed yet but by the time the show happens they’ll probably be right there.”

What is even more impressive is that none of these acts expect to or asked to get paid when Jeff told them that it would a 100% non-fiscal event (no money at all being exchanged – just goodness & good vibes). Everybody performing agreed that it should be a free concert for all the old school hip-hop fans, as well as the homeless folks that will be in attendance happily reported Jeff. “One big happy family, from all walks of life. Led by a true pioneer, Chuck D, who said “With all the ‘Occupying’ going on all over the world, it’s important that Hip-Hop use our collective voice and join in the worldwide movement. That’s why Hip-Hop will ‘Occupy’ Skid Row on January 15th!” Following a half hour press conference the talent packed music festival will run from 1:30pm until 5:30pm on Sunday January 15th in downtown LA’s Skid Row district (follow the crowd and the sound of the music to find the stage). For more exact information follow @GoSkidRowGo on Twitter. As Jeff added, before getting back to work this morning, “So imagine, free concert, big names, positive energy and a good cause- what more can a person ask for?” Indeed!

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