Hip-Hop 4 the Hungry is taking Hip-Hop back to its roots by using the culture to make a difference and help the forgotten people in society.
“Hip-Hop is a culture that is from poverty and disenfranchised people,” said Schneider Jean, co-founder of Hip-Hop 4 the Hungry and a Concordia urban studies student. “It’s not just the money and all the negative images that we see.”
Hip-Hop was born in the early 1970s in the crime-ridden neighbourhoods of South Bronx. It was a product of streetwise skill by poor teenagers who created a new style by mixing and matching rhythms from existing records.
Jean and Francis Cartier, Concordia marketing student, remembered the humble beginnings of Hip-Hop last semester when they were walking downtown and spotted a homeless person. They decided to use some of the Hip-Hop parties they usually organize to help out people.
Because Rap is often seen as music of the youth, they decided to hold a benefit concert where they would encourage people to bring in donations for Dans La Rue, a Montreal organization that works with street kids.
“Kids relate to music and are easily influenced by it,” said Jean. “We want to show them that you can do something positive with the music.”
The show will feature prominent rappers from the West Island and surrounding areas, including Meta4ce, djTwitch, Eye 2 Eye and Down in the Attiq.
“Hip-Hop started out of need to stop violence in poor communities and a way of expression for minorities,” said Jean. “Now it’s distorted into a violent and sexist culture.”
Meta4ce, Concordia human relations student, can relate to the importance of rap a means of expression. “I learned how to talk to people through my music. It gives people a voice,” he said.
Meta4ce was approached by Jean for help in organizing the benefit show. “It’s important for me to get involved with people, not only to do music but to do music with a purpose,” said Meta4ce.
Though Jean had a fairly good response from people to the idea of a charity Hip-Hop event, Meta4ce said many people didn’t understand the idea. “Within the Hip-Hop crowd, it’s not something that’s very common,” he said. “People don’t see that they can have an effect as an individual. Everybody combined can make a difference.”
Jean is also looking to promote Hip-Hop artists that make music with a purpose through the show. “It’s a win-win situation,” he said.
“There are a lot of people that have something to say, but people are listening to other stuff.”
Meta4ce believes that it’s easier to sell “more general or dumbed down” material, but finds it more fulfilling to get a message across. “I have a message, and it’ll stick to [the listeners,” he said. “It may be less people playing it, but those that are playing it are doing so more passionately.”
The Hip-Hop 4 the Hungry benefit concert to raise will be held on Feb. 19 at Clydes (286 Bord-du-Lac) in Pointe-Claire. Entry fees are $5 or $3 if you bring a donation. Donations should be in the form of non-perishable goods. The proceeds will be presented to Dans La Rue.