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Black Market Clash

Hip-Hop is dead and a new Richmond label hopes to bury it.

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With the closing of Toad's Place and a general decline of hip-hop shows due to multiple instances of venue violence, it appears Nas was right: “Hip Hop Is Dead”.

But it's not, at least in Richmond. Underneath the crust of punk and folk shows, there are plenty of hip-hop artists in the area but few outlets in which they are able to promote themselves. Good thing there are events like “The Clash”.

An all-hip hop and R&B showcase of local Richmond artists that hit the Skyy Lounge on May 8, “The Clash” featured Dedikated Boyz, Young Richmond Outkasts, Suburban District, Cousy, Lil VA, Swaag, P.R., and special guest Ashlie Luckett from the house band of BET TV's “106 & Park.”

Joshua Williams aka Jaesen K, co-founder of Richmond's sponsoring Hollywood Cemetery music label, doesn't mince words about the state of the scene.

“It's very bleak,” he says. “Rappers are really sporadic in Richmond. A lot of guys just decide to start rapping and they come out with one song and one video and disappear. So we wanted to put shine on the artists that are working hard and doing what they're doing.”

“The Clash” show is just one part of a promotional campaign for the launch of the Hollywood Cemetery music label that will accompany a series of online music video releases. The label plans to release a collective summer mix tape featuring various artists on the label such as From the Darkest Part of the Woods and Diamond Black Hearted Boy.

“With the label, we're just showcasing Richmond and trying to keep it as professional as possible,” Williams says. “When people come and look at Richmond and they see [the label] Hollywood Cemetery, they can see this is how things in Richmond are done. We're always trying to put our best foot forward for our city, the more attention we bring … the more attention everyone else gets.”
 
For more information on the Hollywood Cemetary label, go to myspace.com/hollywoodcemetaryrecords.

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