Full Show: 3 Hours 16 Minutes
Reno Hip Hop Awards set for tonight
Founder Dan Hubbard said his team of organizers — including McMullen, Joe Bond of Keyringz and Shannon McDowell of Mztyk Promotionz — will ensure no energy lag in the lengthy event recognizing 2013 achievements by hip-hop artists living, playing or performing in the 775. Entries by solo acts, groups or collaborators numbered 156 in 14 categories including song, album, video, live performance, album art, and mixtape. There also is an award for best producer. (Check submissions at http://rhhawards.com/?page_id=4.)
Winners were chosen from online submissions earning the most public votes in February, with final honors determined by some 50 judges culled from local insiders plus headliners and suits outside Reno.
Hubbard spoke with the Gazette-Journal before the event.
Question: Why did you found the Reno Hip Hop Awards?
Answer: It was something I felt the scene needed and could support. We have a big scene flourishing in Reno. We have artists who’ve been doing hip-hop 20 years.
Q: What attendance have you seen, and what do you expect tonight?
A: The number of entries grows each year. For attendance, we’ve averaged 400 people from every aspect of the scene — producers, DJ’s, T-shirt makers, artists, managers, promoters, street-team members. But the public is kind of on the fence. We average 50 to 100 people who just want to check this out, saying, “I have a couple artists I listen to, I want to find out what these other 12 artists are about.”
Q: What forms or sub-genres were submitted?
A: Reno is a huge melting pot. We have artists who grew up in New York and sound like the Wu-Tang Clan, and artists who grew up in L.A. and sound like Snoop Dogg. We are amazingly influenced by Burning Man, and the Black Rock City Allstars use EDM club beats and put hip-hop over it, and they’ve won a ton of awards. We have acts who enter, and they play churches and coffee shops. Apprentice (Richie Panelli) will play Friday night at the Hip Hop Awards and Sunday at a church. It’s very diverse.
Q: What accounts for the vibrant hip-hop scene in Reno, 130 miles removed from a truly large urban area?
A: One reason why hip-hop is so dominant right now — this is more of a worldwide reason — and brings in more people than maybe rock, is it’s more of an American Dream story. Hip-hop wants the underprivileged to take over and become the best. Some guy who has nothing and becomes Bill Gates. It’s a backbone to hip-hop. It’s what the country was made off of. It’s also more accessible. You can buy a computer for $500 and it comes with just about everything you need to record a hip-hop song, put it on YouTube and get some feedback. It’s more accessible than getting a guitar in your hands and recording a song. If you do a show with three rock bands, you got instruments stacked up backstage and can’t even walk around. But if you have 10 hip-hop acts, every one’s got a flash drive.
Q: Which local hip-hop artists are making names outside Reno?
A: There’s tons, but nobody has hit that tipping point yet where they’re getting the radio play, big booking agents, scouted by big management. We have a bunch of guys — DeSaint, Akbadd, Young Duse, KeyRingz — focusing on videos and getting hundreds of thousands of views worldwide. Black Rock City Allstars have taken advantage of their show performances, and play probably 20 festivals in the summer, and have 100,000 people at those festivals.
— Michael Sion, Special to the Reno Gazette-Journal
A words night
Chase McMullen is the host of this year’s Reno Hip-Hop Awards.
The 4th Annual Reno Hip-Hop Awards Show will be held at Bodega Nightclub on Friday, April 18.
“Reno just has a really thriving hip-hop scene,” said Dan Hubbard, founder of the Reno Hip-Hop Awards. “There is so much talent that it can really fill an award show.”
With the fourth annual show quickly approaching, the Reno Hip-Hop Awards has successfully recognized spectacular artists, with a vast array of stylistic characteristics, and every year has opened the eyes of more local music-lovers and hip-hop enthusiasts.
As the awards show continues to serve as a beacon for local art, the contributors and performers have been participating with increasing fervor, striving for the awards, as it serves as a validation for their hard work and creativity.
“It’s really insane how much talent there is and how many groups are releasing well-produced videos and well-mastered albums,” said Hubbard. “It’s got this feeling now that artists are planning months and months in advance because these are awards that people actually want to win.”
It is also becoming increasingly competitive for artists here, as more talent emerges onto the scene. It’s an unfortunate fact of the music business that one artist’s success is also that same artist’s secret. When a group finds something that works well, like a good producer or manager, they try to keep their new secret weapon all to themselves.
“In the Bay Area and Sacramento, it’s a very competitive scene,” said Hubbard. “Like, artists from out of town, if they get a good producer they try to hold them secretly to themselves, without letting other artists get word of what they’re doing that’s working so well.”
But according to Hubbard, this is not the case in Reno. Instead, here the artists choose to work together and strive for the success of the entire scene rather than just a single group or artist.
“People are really willing to work together,” said Hubbard. “Reno is really open to working with all kinds of people of different backgrounds, and they’ll work with different artists of different styles, doing shows together and even contributing on various albums.”
Reno has a cooperative culture evident between the individuals and businesses in the city that gives one the feeling of a small, tight-knit town, within a—slightly—larger city.
The Reno scene is very diverse, said Hubbard, owing to the fact that many musicians have come here from other places.
“We have New York MCs who have a sound like Wu-Tang, we have Texas MCs who sound like Paul Wall, and others from all these different cities and they all bring their own style,” he said. “It’s such a diverse scene, so any kind of hip-hop you like, there’s someone locally doing it because it’s such a transient city and a melting pot, and the hip-hop awards will really show it. You’ll have album of the year sound like a 50 Cent album, but then the song of the year will sound like a Wu-Tang track.”
Local rappers and hip-hop artists have been working for months, re-mastering their albums and polishing their performances.
“I’m excited to see how many new people we have,” said Hubbard. “We have a lot of new winners; people who are winning their first awards, and people who are under 21 winning their first awards.”
Credit: Robert Schilling and Brittany Darling/Reno Hip Hop
Living Dee Life interviews at the Reno Hip Hop Awards with fashion blogger Joseph Squellati. Hosted by Jennie Maxwell. Video by Yvette Fintland