You knew it was only a matter of time before the Kennedy Center undertook an earnest, deep-in-the-stacks celebration of hip-hop: The genre has been working its way into the canon for years, no matter whether the establishment was paying attention. Well, now it is. One Mic: Hip-Hop Culture Worldwide begins today at 6 p.m., with a free show at the center’s Millennium Stage.
Over the next three weeks, the festival will celebrate many of the crisscrossing streams that have fed into and flowed from hip-hop. (The iconic emcee Nas’s performance with the NSO Pops at the end of this month is sure to be a highlight.) There are also a handful of satellite events happening around the city in association with the festival, and CapitalBop is thrilled to be co-sponsoring one of them. This Sunday, don’t miss the free panel discussion Young Lions & Lionesses: Jazz in a Hip-Hop World. The panel’s major star power comes in the form of Derrick Hodge, one of the world’s best young jazz bassists and music producers. He plays bass in the boundary-blurring Robert Glasper Experiment, and is also the musical director for the R&B singer Maxwell’s ensemble.
The other panelists will have loads of insight and experience to share too: Dr. William Smith is a jazz saxophonist as well as an author and scholar on the intersection of jazz and hip-hop; DJ 2-Tone Jones is well-known for his Shaolin Jazz Project, blending Wu Tang Clan tracks with classic Blue Note Records instrumentals; Gerald Watson is a formidable organizer and presenter who helped Jones realize Shaolin Jazz; and the singer Tamara Wellons imbibes many influences, from jazz to hip-hop to soul to house. The discussion will be moderated by the veteran journalist John Murph, who has covered jazz and hip-hop for such publications as DownBeat, JazzTimes, NPR Music and the Washington City Paper.
The conversation will take place at HR-57 jazz club, from 7 to 9 p.m. this Sunday night. Admission is free but RSVP is required. Below is a little bit more info, provided by the event’s main presenter, LiL SoSo Productions:
“What do jazz and hip hop have in common and why do the musical ‘first cousins’ work so well together? Featuring a diverse panel of artists that include those classically-trained in jazz and homegrown in Hip Hop, this interactive conversation will explore the interconnectivity between the two forms and whether or not the synergy between the two, pushes musical boundaries. The conversation will also explore what Hip Hop might look like in another twenty years where sustainability, curation and audience appreciation are concerned.”