Last Friday, the Artists for Humanity Epicenter played host to some of the best rappers in Boston. The lineup included artists Cousin Stizz, Michael Christmas and Van Buren. Boston has never been a city known for its hip-hop scene, but within the past couple years, Cousin Stizz has paved the way for emerging rappers coming out of Boston. The Dorchester native is determined to put Boston on the map as a key stakeholder in hip-hop culture.
The city has a great opportunity to have a super-core and unique scene because it is so disparate from other parts of the country. Along with hip-hop culture comes the aspect of streetwear, which is why the event was decorated and designed by Bodega, a streetwear store in Boston, with a second location in Los Angeles, California. Bodega goes by the motto of “hidden in plain sight”; this is because the store is modeled after the old-time bodegas in Boston and New York City. In store, you can find shirts hidden in old soup cans and stickers placed in vending machines, giving the consumer a very unique experience.
At the concert venue, Bodega assembled a pop-up bodega with one-of-a-kind merchandise designed specifically for the show that amplified the streetwear aspect of the event. Having a one-of-one designed shirt from the concert makes every attendee feel like they were more than just a fan. Throughout the night, artists were free to walk through general admission and watch their cohorts preform before they were up. This gave photographers and attendees the opportunity to grab up-close photos of the artists. Unique vantage points were also allowed for photographers at the event, including a balcony above the stage, pit access on the side of the stage and artist’s lounge access for portrait opportunities.
The energy at the event was off the charts, and this was due to the chemistry between the artists and everyone getting hyped up for each other. Between each hip-hop set were DJ sets from Yvng Pavl, DJ Big Bear and Where’s Nasty. This gave the DJs their own opportunity to shine, too. With every DJ set came a mosh pit of the hip-hop artists hyping their friends up. Seeing all of the appreciation each artist shared with each other made it easy to realize the tightly-knit essence of Boston’s hip-hop culture that appeared to hold more of a community feeling.
Even after the show concluded in the following days, you could see the performing rappers reposting work from photographers at the event, showcasing the work of those behind the scenes and furthering the overarching feeling of community the Boston rap scene exudes. Beantown Uprising was Boston, through and through.