summertime in the city

by jack diablo

WHEN: July 31 – August 1
WHERE: Various locations
What could possibly be better than an all-day celebration of independent hip hop music right here in Jacksonville? How about two days?
This year will see the fourth annual Summertime in the City Festival grow from its humble beginnings in the back of Burrito Gallery into a two-day extravaganza spread out over four separate locations. The event is organized by Hip Hop Hell Records, a local company whose goal is to promote underground hip hop in Jacksonville. Summertime in the City is one of two marquis events along with the Winter Freestyle Massacre they put on each year.
You may know Ian Ranne from his other ventures, Shantytown Pub and Royal Treatment Records, but Hip Hop Hell is his main passion. What began as a production company putting together shows for local groups to gain exposure has evolved into what will someday be a full-fledged record label.
Says Ranne of the emerging label: “The idea originally was, as Hip Hop Hell we were always doing these shows and people would come and the shows would pack out but at the end of the day, they wouldn’t take anything home with them. So originally we were like, ‘We just need to get CDs so we’ve got merch at the shows’ and that’s where it kinda started.” This year’s festival will kick off an exciting string of events for the small but ever-growing project. Ian is working on setting up, making sure the artists are available on iTunes and is currently in talks to extend distribution to the Midwest.
Hip Hop Hell plans to release two albums in conjunction with the festival. Paten Locke (aka Therapy) will release Gestapolis Noire. Locke is known for his role in Jacksonville groups, The ABs (formerly Asamov) and The Smile Rays. As a DJ, he has toured with the likes of Mr. Lif and Akrobatik. Also being released is Grizleh, a group project featuring the rapping of Blakhart with Dialectable Beats doing the production. The album release party will coincide with the first night of the festival held at Club TSI. Appearing with Paten Locke will be Willie Evans Jr. and Edan, an underground rapper from Boston known for sampling psychedelic rock.
The second day will be an all-day affair beginning with a breakdancing competition at the Riverside Arts Market. Hip Hop Hell will have booths set up while the dancers warm-up from noon to 2 pm. From 2 to 4 pm the Main Ingredients B-Boy Crew will host a two-on-two battle on the River Stage for a $500 prize. “Hopefully cats will come from Savannah and Orlando and spend the whole weekend in Jacksonville,” Ranne comments.
Following the competition will be a pizza party at the BBB Complex at 1520 N. Main St. in Springfield. There will be a live DJ and pizza from Mellow Mushroom while artists including Shaun Thurston present a graffiti expo on a temporary wall. Then at 9 pm, the party moves to Shantytown for a concert with Mr. Al Pete, The Elevated Hip Hop Experience, Heavy Flow, Dope Sandwich and a host of others.
Summertime in the City looks to be one of the hottest events of the summer and will no doubt bring hip hop heads from across the Southeast to get a taste of the underground scene here in Duval.