← View All Articles

New ‘U’: Artists U offers new podcast series

Tools and tips for #SCartists keep coming

Headphones lying on laptop on armchair. Hygge minimalist home room indoor apartment interior decoration. Cozy room in natural tone

The same value-filled workshops #SCartists have grown accustomed to getting from Artists U are now available in a new medium anytime, anywhere.

To broaden reach, Artists U founder/director/guru Andrew Simonet is now offering a podcast series of conversations with artists across media. It's called Artlife on Blast, and it's the result of a partnership that includes 701 Center for Contemporary Art and the South Carolina Arts Commission. Michaela Pilar Brown, executive director of 701 CCA and a notable artist in her own right, joins Simonet to talk with featured artists.
Here's a little more from Artists U:
  • We talked with South Carolina artists about making art, making a life, and making a living.
  • How do we nourish our practice and feed ourselves?
  • And how much money could you make selling your CDs out of your trunk in the 1990s? (a lot, turns out)

We spoke with artists about things artists don’t always discuss publicly.

FatRat Da Czar has been building a life in hip hop and the artist community to nourish that work for three decades. Camela Guevara turns waste streams into art and her day job into her studio. Malik Greene is building a life as a self-taught artist and the first professional artist in his family. Cedric Umoja got honest with a community and told them the mural he was painting would probably be a gentrifying force (and the conversation that developed was profound). Ed Rice carefully managed his expenses to live off his painting for fifty years. Fifty. Years.

While editing, I got to listen to the conversations many times, and I gotta say: these artists are fascinating. In each episode, we also share some Artists U prompts and tools, ways artists are building sustainable lives.

Artists U made "Art Life on Blast"available on artistsu.org on these common platforms: The series was created and is produced by Michaela Pilar Brown and Simonet (who edits, as you read above). Production support comes from Omme-Salma Rahemtullah. Music is from Sheldon Wright and Jamil Byron. Funding support comes by way of a partnership grant from the SCAC (/mic drop). Go have a listen!

Jason Rapp

World Famous Hip-Hop Family Day nears return

Artist Rakim to headline

This past April, the 8th annual World Famous Hip-Hop Family Day was put on hold as the world stopped for an unprecedented global pandemic.

Instead of gathering 20,000 people on Columbia’s Main Street, Love, Peace & Hip-Hop paused its festival plans until a safer option emerged to deliver its highly-anticipated event to an eagerly awaiting audience. During this time of waiting and watching, an uprising of consciousness and activism in the form of Black Lives Matter demonstrations has swept across the country. Turnout at BLM demonstrations has ranged from dozens to tens of thousands of diverse protesters in over 2,500 small towns and large cities—all during the most devastating pandemic in modern history. “This year, our festival isn’t about big crowds, but it is about big ideas,” said festival director Janet Scouten. “In light of the growing Black Lives Matter movement, we believe it’s more important than ever to share this family-friendly event celebrating Black excellence and hip-hop culture. We also believe it’s vital to share it in a way that allows as many people as possible to celebrate joyfully—and distantly—in a difficult year.” After six months of careful deliberation and consultation with local and state authorities, Love, Peace & Hip-Hop presents a revised version of its annual festival that remains true to its mission of spreading love, peace, unity, and having fun. Love, Peace & Hip-Hop announced this week that this year’s revised 2020 World Famous Hip-Hop Family Day will be presented on Sunday, Oct. 4, headlined by legendary hip-hop artist Rakim. The concert starts at 6 p.m. (with a 5 p.m. door) to a limited-capacity live audience. The show will be filmed inside Columbia's The Senate in front of a small, socially-distanced live audience of 250 people in compliance with the governor’s executive order No. 2020-08. To ensure the health and safety of guests, staff, and artists, this will be a seated only show following all COVID sanitation, facial mask, and social distancing guidelines. To further ensure health and safety, tickets will only be sold by the table to maintain social distancing between personal groupings and/or families. Tickets are mandatory for admission and are available for advance purchase through The Senate. A livestream of the show available free to online viewers. As part of its larger fundraising effort, Love, Peace & Hip-Hop is hosting a GoFundMe campaign to help cover the significant livestream costs of the event, which will allow South Carolina families to enjoy the show online in real time. Donors can visit https://www.gofundme.com/f/world-famous-hiphop-family-day-2020 to learn more and donate. “Since my first conversation with Rakim’s camp at the start of the pandemic, they maintained that he wanted to not only honor our contract, but give Columbia an unbelievable show. This made me hopeful that if an opportunity presented itself, we could still deliver our festival to our loyal and supportive audience,” said Love, Peace & Hip-Hop founder FatRat Da Czar. “Under CDC guidelines and state and local mandates, the safest way to pull that off would be with limited people in a socially-distanced and secure space, which unfortunately adds a ticket price. But with 10 days to go, I’m still hopeful that we can raise enough awareness and money to deliver this show free of charge, statewide, in a virtual capacity.”
[caption id="attachment_45572" align="alignright" width="150"] Hip-hop artist Rakim.[/caption] In addition to performing from his widely acclaimed musical catalogue, Rakim will converse on stage about issues of the day and how hip-hop is uniquely positioned as an important voice on these matters. Hailed as “the greatest MC of all time” and compared to Thelonious Monk, Rakim first emerged onto the world stage in 1986 as one half of the golden age hip-hop duo, Eric B. & Rakim, with the release of their first single, “Eric B is President.” Rakim has received numerous accolades from Billboard, Rolling Stone, MTV, and a host of others. Few hip-hop lyricists are recognized as having as great an impact on the development of the genre as Rakim. He stood out as the first MC to employ internal and multisyllabic rhymes, which was a change from the simple rhyming patterns used in early ‘80s hip-hop Finally, because increased voter registration and turnout are key to fair and equal representation for all citizens, Love, Peace & Hip-Hop will combine the power of music with the power of voting. To support civic engagement by each and every citizen, this year’s World Famous Hip-Hop Family Day will host, for the first time in its history, a non-partisan voter registration drive in partnership with Secure the Ballot and HeadCount. The date of the show, Oct. 4, is the last day to register online to vote in South Carolina, and Love, Peace & Hip-Hop will be promoting online voter registration before the 11:59 p.m. deadline.

About World Famous Hip-Hop Family Day

Presented annually by Love, Peace & Hip-Hop, this multi-day celebration capped by a free, family-friendly festival normally takes place the second week in April each year. World Famous Hip-Hop Family Day has grown from 3,000 in attendance in 2013 to 18,500 in 2019, drawing attendees from across the Southeast and around the country to downtown Columbia, South Carolina. This one of a kind, Black-owned festival gathers the community to enjoy the best and brightest live performers, DJs, B-Boy dance crews, hip-hop visual artists, and craft and food vendors.

About Rakim

Rakim is widely regarded as one of the most influential and skilled MCs of all time. Emerging onto the world stage in 1986 as one half of the golden age hip-hop duo, Eric B. & Rakim, with the release of their first single, “Eric B is President,” Rakim has received numerous accolades from Billboard, Rolling Stone, MTV, and a host of others. Rakim’s recordings, including Paid in Full, Follow the Leader, and The 18th Letter, have sold in the multi-millions worldwide. Paid in Full was named the “Greatest Hip-Hop Album of All Time” by MTV in 2006. Few hip-hop lyricists are recognized as having as great an impact on the development of the genre as Rakim. He stood out as the first MC to employ internal and multisyllablic rhymes, which was a change from the simple rhyming patterns used in early ‘80s hip-hop.
Photo by Isabella Mendes from Pexels

Jason Rapp

Tuning Up: FatRat + more Riley fellow news + Pee Dee art

Good morning!  "Tuning Up" is a morning post series where The Hub delivers curated, quick-hit arts stories of interest to readers. Sometimes there will be one story, sometimes there will be several. Get in tune now, and have a masterpiece of a day. And now, in no particular order...

FatRat Da Leprechaun? South Carolina’s godfather of hip-hop, FatRat Da Czar (above), will host the 2020 iteration of the famed St. Pat's Festival on Saturday, March 21. He'll perform his role as official festival MC from a centrally-located stage and hopes his presence will "bring a little of the hip-hop family day vibe so families with kids can come out and enjoy the day." #SCartists Band of Horses headline the festival and Columbia and South Carolina Jazz Ambassador Mark Rapp (and the Soda City Brass Band) are also booked. S.C. Phil ED named Riley Fellow. Remember this news yesterday? The arts have additional representation in the Midlands cohort. Rhonda Hunsinger, long-time executive director of the South Carolina Philharmonic, was also named a Riley Phillow. Er, Phellow. Darnit! Fellow. If there are other arts folks involved, we haven't heard because you don't send your news releases to the S.C. Arts Commission by adding this email to your media distro list, or didn't submit news to The Hub. And opening Thursday... The Florence County Museum is proud to present the 2020 Pee Dee Regional Art Competition, which highlights the best contemporary art in the Pee Dee region. One of the state's oldest juried art competitions, the first Pee Dee Regional dates back to 1954. This year's exhibition will be on display in the FCM Waters Gallery. An opening reception will be held Thursday from 6:30-8:30 p.m. The exhibit will remain on display through Friday, April 3.

A great big music update

Grab your coffee or tea for this one

Though its temperatures got cold in the past 24 hours, South Carolina's music scene is indisputably hot right now. How hot? Oxford American knows. The quarterly literary magazine focusing on Southern literature publishes an annual music issue, and this year's focus is on South Carolina's musical culture. The 21st Annual Southern Music Issue "features unforgettable songs and stories from South Carolina, the issue includes voices ranging from the Upstate to the Lowcountry, highlighting icons like Dizzy Gillespie and Eartha Kitt, as well as contemporary artists such as Shovels & Rope and Ranky Tanky." Pre-order your copy at the link above. Each issues comes with a CD compilation and digital download. But the Oxford American issue is far from being the only highlight. Sip away and enjoy some briefs.

FatRat Da Czar double album out today

You might remember reading about this a month ago. South Carolina’s godfather of hip-hop FatRat Da Czar released his double album TRIBE yesterday, with 25 tracks and nearly 40 collaborators, including 30 features and nine of the state’s most respected producers. Czar’s highly anticipated ninth studio album is now available at all digital music retailers and streaming services. As part of the album release, Czar will perform this Friday, Nov. 15 at Arts & Draughts at Columbia Museum of Art in Columbi, and Saturday, Nov. 16 at The Purple Buffalo in Charleston, bringing on stage some of South Carolina’s most elite past, present, and future hip-hop artists.

S.C. Phil re-imagines Vivaldi

Seasonal changes are top-of-mind in the Palmetto State today, and no music captures the spirit of those better than the iconic The Four Seasons, completed in 1725 by Antonio Vivaldi. In 2012, composer Max Richter (right), claiming to be one of a long list of composers who reworked pre-existing music, notably Franz Liszt, Igor Stravinsky and Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, took on Vivaldi’s ubiquitous masterpiece. The result is a minimalist transformation that leaves only fragments of the original music. Each of the twelve movements contains at least one recognizable quotation from the original, but they vary in length and nature from the famous virtuosic riffs for the solo violin to mere ostinato accompaniments. The fragments also include new, dissonant harmonies, distorted meters, loops and repetitive phrases. The S.C. Phil presents the work this Saturday evening in Columbia. Tickets and information here.

World's No. 1 jazz pianist coming to Columbia

Kenny Barron playing pianoJapan. France. Spain. Italy. France again. South Carolina. That is the travel itinerary for Kenny Barron, recently ranked as the world's premier jazz pianist by the 67th Annual DownBeat International Critics Poll. (That puts Barron ahead of names like Herbie Hancock and Chick Corea.) On Nov. 23, Barron's travels bring him to South Carolina for an engagement with the SC Jazz Masterworks Ensemble. He is also an NEA Jazz Master, and Jazz Weekly says he's "the most lyrical piano player of our time" and he's said to captivate with elegant playing, sensitive melodies, and infectious rhythms. The SC Jazz Masterworks Ensemble is comprised of 18 of the finest jazz musicians, soloists, and bandleaders from across the Carolinas with a mission to present jazz concerts at the highest artistic level. The ensemble performs big band classics, music from the Great American Songbook and modern originals by the group's members.

Local groups highlight 2020 Charleston Jazz Festival

[caption id="attachment_42702" align="alignright" width="250"] Click to enlarge.[/caption] Announced this morning! On Jan. 23, 2020, the 6th Annual Charleston Jazz Festival will open with some of Charleston’s most exciting jazz groups: Offramp The Music of Pat Metheny, Cameron & the Saltwater Brass Shake Everything You Got! and Lee Barbour’s Polyverse Art of the Modern Organ Trio featuring Justin Stanton of Snarky Puppy. Tickets are on sale now at www.charlestonjazz.com. Charleston Jazz presents the Charleston Jazz Festival every year, offering a world-class celebration of jazz by presenting timeless and creative productions that entertain audiences, stimulate arts education, foster economic growth and unite artists and audiences in Charleston. Each year, the festival line-up includes internationally acclaimed headliners, the best local jazz bands, and top youth artists performing a wide range of styles including swing, salsa, blues, Brazilian, and the American Songbook.

Unique partnership to celebrate South Carolina’s hip-hop culture

Love, Peace & Hip-Hop and Columbia Museum of Art announce partnership

Love, Peace & Hip-Hop and Columbia Museum of Art (CMA) announce a groundbreaking new project entitled “TRIBE: A Celebration of South Carolina Hip-Hop Culture.” A unique partnership spanning the fields of music, visual art, dance, and live performance, TRIBE celebrates the core elements of hip-hop culture in South Carolina. The initial offering from the TRIBE project is Love, Peace & Hip-Hop founder FatRat Da Czar’s double-CD studio album, also entitled TRIBE, which will release on Tuesday, Nov. 12. The album’s 25 tracks feature artists from across the state and across generations of South Carolina hip-hop and was inspired by the TRIBE exhibition. As part of the album release, Czar will perform on Nov. 15 at CMA’s Arts and Draughts, bringing on stage some of South Carolina’s most elite past, present, and future hip-hop artists. “In the world of hip-hop, the time for the Carolinas is now,” said FatRat Da Czar (right), founder of Love, Peace & Hip-Hop. “It’s a perfect time to celebrate our contribution to the international scene as well as honor the pioneers who paved the way.” “A celebration of hip-hop culture is a celebration of art and people, which is what the TRIBE project is at its core. I’m excited for the Columbia Museum of Art to expand upon the partnership we launched last April with Love, Peace & Hip-Hop,” said Joelle Ryan-Cook, deputy director and director of external affairs for the Columbia Museum of Art. “The upcoming TRIBE album release at the November Arts & Draughts is a great way to invite music lovers into the museum to an event that is at its best when community partners help co-create a dynamic and unique experience for everyone who attends.”


In 2019, the hip-hop scene in the Carolinas has ascended from the underground to mainstream national success, most notably with Charlotte artist DaBaby and Columbia producer Jetsonmade charting with number one Billboard Hot 100 breakout hits twice in a row. In addition, Renni Rucci, who hails from Hopkins, signed with Quality Control in March 2018, releasing her debut album Big Renni in May 2019. Columbia artist Blacc Zacc recently inked a deal with Interscope, the record label for Dr. Dre, Tupac, Eminem, and 50 Cent. For a state and region that has been so far off the radar nationally, this is a prime time to pause and reflect upon the founders and architects of South Carolina hip-hop. The TRIBE album, inspired by the process of assembling and curating the upcoming TRIBE exhibition, was an opportunity for Czar to work with featured artists across the full spectrum of South Carolina’s hip-hop history. As part of his album release, FatRat Da Czar will perform on Friday, November 15 at Columbia Museum’s Arts and Draughts, bringing on stage some of South Carolina’s most elite past, present, and future hip-hop artists. The second phase of the project is a mixed-media exhibition, “TRIBE: A Celebration of South Carolina Hip-Hop Culture,” which will be on view at the Columbia Museum of Art from January 18 through April 12, 2020. This exhibition will feature visual art elements, as well as artifacts from South Carolina hip-hop history. Additional planned elements of the TRIBE project include a documentary film featuring interviews with influential South Carolina hip-hop figures, as well as community dialogues and roundtables, and more. This project is supported by a grant from the Knight Foundation Fund and by a Connected Communities grant at Central Carolina Community Foundation.

About FatRat Da Czar

FatRat Da Czar is a recording artist and producer, entrepreneur, and hip-hop activist based out of Columbia. Czar’s music career has spanned over two decades, and his role as an acclaimed solo artist was solidified with the release of Da Cold War album trilogy (2007-2012). In addition to opening for acts to include Notorious B.I.G., Snoop Dogg, and Lauryn Hill, Czar has also recorded and mixed sessions as chief engineer at The Boom Room for national artists ranging from KRS-One to Kevin Gates. In 2013, Czar co-founded World Famous Hip-Hop Family Day, a free annual festival dedicated to celebrating hip-hop culture that has delivered artists such as KRS-One, SugarHill Gang, Kid N Play, MC Lyte, and Big Daddy Kane to crowds of 18,000+ on Columbia’s Main Street.

About Love Peace & Hip-Hop

The goal of Love, Peace & Hip-Hop is to ensure that hip-hop, represented properly, can be a medium through which the community can come together, all ages and races, for a day of peace, love, and unity, and having fun. This is accomplished by combining some of the best and brightest live performers, DJs, B-Boy dance crews, hip-hop visual artists, and craft and fashion vendors to create South Carolina’s most unique and entertaining community experience at World Famous Hip-Hop Family Day. To learn more, visit www.lovepeacehiphop.com.

About the Columbia Museum of Art

The Columbia Museum of Art is a charitable nonprofit organization dedicated to lifelong learning and community  enrichment for all. Located in the heart of downtown Columbia, S.C., the CMA ranks among the leading art institutions in the country and is distinguished by its innovative exhibitions and creative educational programs. At the heart of the CMA and its programs is its collection, which encompasses 7,000 works and spans 5,000 years of art history. Established in 1950, the CMA now welcomes more than 150,000 visitors annually and is a catalyst for community creativity and education, engaging people of all ages and backgrounds. It is the recipient of a National Medal from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, a National Art Education Association award for its contributions to arts education, a National Park Foundation Award, and two Elizabeth O'Neill Verner Governor's Awards for the Arts for outstanding contributions to the arts in South Carolina. In order to serve even more audiences, the CMA recently underwent a transformation. Funded by a successful capital campaign, the two-year renovation project garnered new collection galleries with a progressive thematic layout, new studios for artmaking, cutting-edge program and event spaces, an entrance on Main Street, and a revamped CMA shop. Overall, more than 15,000 square feet of functional space were added to the building’s existing footprint. To learn more, visit columbiamuseum.org.