Yes, There is Hip Hop in Appalachia: LISTEN

Apr 1, 2016

Hip-hop might not be the first kind of music you think of when you think about the mountains of Appalachia. We have our share of fiddles and banjos but we also have folks making other kinds of music, like hip-hop. On this episode of Inside Appalachia, we give voice to an often underestimated and overlooked group of folks…the Appalachian hip-hop artist community.

Southern West Virginia Festival Dubs Hip-Hop 'Legends'

Jamie Smith is considered a hip-hop legend at just 33-years-old. In southern West Virginia, The Movement Entertainment Group has hosted an awards ceremony for the past four years.  It's part of the DubV Fest, a weekend music festival like Floyd Fest, Clifftop or Bonnaroo. Only it's held indoors, usually at a nightclub, and features mostly hip-hop artists from out of state.Last year's winner of the “Legend” award, was Beckley native, Jamie Smith. Listen to hear more about his journey from guitar to turntables and beyond.

West Virginia Native Writes About Elk River Chemical Spill

Two years ago, West Virginians were in the news during the 2014 Chemical Spill- when MCHM leaked into the Elk River, leaving 300,000 residents temporarily without water.

Right after the water crisis, you might remember hearing a song called "West Virginia Water" by West Virginia native Beatty, who's with the production group Tymeless. Even though he’s moved away from Appalachia, Beatty says a lot of the music he writes is about growing up in West Virginia--and rising above the stereotypes and the challenges that he faced.

Art, Drugs and Kids: Getting To Know the Ohio Valley Hip-Hop Scene

There's movement in the hip-hop scene of the upper Ohio Valley. In fact, there's an actual hip-hop movement organizers are calling The Movement. It's all about lifting up hip-hop artists, and one of its latest efforts to unite and celebrate the scene is the first annual Ohio Valley Hip-Hop Awards. Glynis Board introduces us to a diverse pool of artists are contributing, and  working hard to be be heard.

A Family Legacy Dedicated to Hip-Hip, Arts in Appalachia

It's tough to talk about the scene in West Virginia -without hearing about the Jordan family. The Jordans have been lifting up and celebrating spoken word art, part of the foundations of hip hop, for generations. A lot of the big mainstream hip-hop artists rap about buying, selling, and using drugs. But Eric Jordan says he'd rather talk about something other than drug culture. He says his label's mission is to represent the poor, and give them a voice. Listen to the episode to hear Charlie Kleine tell us about the influence of the Jordan family on the Appalachian hip-hop scene.

Dinosaur Burps: From the City and the Country, Definitely From Out of This World

B. Rude (right) and DJ Squeezle perform as Dinosaur Burps at the Blue Parrot in Charleston on March 18, 2016.

There are plenty of  artists working the business, preaching about sex, money, violence, and plenty are talking about “repping their home town”. But as reporter Dave Mistich found, some artists are talking about Little Debbie cakes and applesauce - like Dinosaur Burps.

Music in today's show was provided by Dinosaur Burps, Poetic Peth, I.A.N. Alex "Sliiiiick" Raymer, Shanne Gain, Kelsey "Kelz" Cromar, Illkenetics, Kid in the Background, DJ Monstalung, Soundvizion Records, and Nappy Roots a hip hop group with Kentucky roots. Our producer is Roxy Todd. Our editor is Catherine Winter. Our audio mixer is Zander Aloi.

We'd love to hear from you.  Find us on Twitter @InAppalachia or @JessicaYLilly.