Concert of Colors panel: Hip-hop is alive in Detroit

Source: Special to Michigan News

Antonio Cuyler, Reuben Wood, Nick Speed, Sam Donald, Mersiless Amir, Deidra D. S, Sense, DJ Los, and Teferi Brent at the University of Michigan Detroit Center.

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Concert of Colors


Commemorating the 50th anniversary of hip-hop, eight artists gathered at the University of Michigan Detroit Center to share some of the tough conversations around Detroit hip-hop culture and whether the musical genre is still relevant.

Each artist shared his or her story about how they started in the business.  Panelists included Teferi Brent (Kaos from Kaos and Mystro), Michael Smith (a jit master), Nick Speed (a music producer), Reuben Wood (President of QCDJs), Sam Donald (founder of Detroit Musix), Deidra D. S. Sense (a poet), DJ Los (a dj), Mersiless Amir (a rap artist),

The panel was moderated by Antonio Cuyler, a music professor at the U-M School of Music, Theatre & Dance.

“Hip-hop is the overall culture. DJs, graffiti, dancing,… it’s the way you dress and it includes rap. The problem is that throughout the culture, throughout the country, you have certain communities that don’t have as much appreciation or knowledge of hip-hop culture.” Brent said.

The main topic of discussion focused on whether hip-hop culture is still “alive” or not. It’s a topic that has been debated for many years in the music industry, but these artists made sure to set the record straight. 

“Hip-hip is not dead, it’s just evolved,” Brent said.

The panelists spoke about the beginning of hip-hop culture from African roots, to late day music makers, to create the narrative that the hip-hop culture is changing in ways that people have yet to realize.

“Hip-hop will never die as long as there are marginalized people that need a creative outlet. Detroit has a very impactful hand in the soundscape of hip-hop,” Sense said.

The panel discussion marked the start of the 31st annual Concert of Colors.

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