Veteran Chapel Hill emcee and My Carolina Today entertainment contributor
KAZE announced "Hillmatic," a mini-festival set for Saturday, Aug. 22, at Local 506, on Wednesday. The one-night event sports the tagline “Celebrating Chapel Hill Hip Hop Culture” and will feature performances by some of the Tar Heel town’s current hip-hop torch carriers, such as J Swiss, Well$, Fluent and Skyblew. KAZE performs, too
While Hillmatic is not being advertised
as a festival, it surely has the feel and look of one in the making. Its announcement also comes on the, well, “heels” of the DURM Hip Hop Summit finally releasing its lineup
. It will take place in downtown Durham one week before this event on the other side of Tobacco Road.
Two very similar Triangle hip-hop shows happening in such close proximity to each other may point to a larger issue of fragmentation. (Raleigh, where’s your hip-hop festival?) As KAZE has comprehensively laid out in his Instagram post
, Chapel Hill used to be a hotbed for hip-hop activity—“the city," he writes, "with so many contributions, hosted moments, and talent, instrumental in the Carolina Hip Hop Movement." Unfortunately, there are only a few holdovers from those days. The town’s hip-hop identity is now shaped less by its music scene and more by its gains in music education—for example, Chapel Hill’s Beat Making Lab and UNC-Chapel Hill’s hip-hop curriculum
Perhaps a celebration like Hillmatic might be a step toward getting Chapel Hill back to it’s music-centered glory days. If KAZE is any indication of the scene’s persistence, it will reinvent itself in due time.