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"Alter Ego Takes Credit"

On last month's "Uncommon Radio," the podcast of Brooklyn-based label Uncommon Records, local hip-hop artist The Protege and host Nasa talked about the widespread "very average work" in today's underground scene. They spoke like crusaders in a struggle against undeserved attention — and each sounded hungry for the consideration all artists strive for. Fans, respect, satisfaction, the whole thing.

With talk like this, a man's got to be ready to deliver. Luckily, with his recent EP, Untitled is Hard Enough..., Protege matches his talk with plenty of walk. If you're eager for conscious hip-hop, free of watered-down clichés and inflated egos, Untitled should be more than enough. As he says on "Nothing," one of the best tracks on the thing, "I'm appealing to intellect / So there's no gats or pistols, ya dig?" The songs are about a young man's struggle to find a true voice in the world, something cerebral, long-lasting and worthy of respect.

Smooth production work by Sketch tha Cataclysm lays the foundation, as Protege strings together words like a jazz drummer, experimenting with new rhythms at every turn. "I want you to vibe with me first, then we can explore what's being said," he says.

The seven-song EP kicks off with a dark bass groove, keeps it going with vintage funk trumpet and sax blasts, and finishes it off with some killer old-school R&B by way of a sexy Jean Knight sample from 1972.

Protege is the youngest member of the Waterbury-based group Phenetiks. His voice is energetic, authoritative and fresh. He's been performing with that group, on his own and with other members of the Antfarm Affiliates crew for years. He says rhyming and performing is therapeutic. "It helps me channel a lot of anger so I don't end up in jail for assault," he jokes.

Stepping into the studio as a solo artist has helped him grow freer as an artist, he says. "It's like I finally adapted to my alter ego. When you think 'The Protege' you think energetic, fun, still learning as he goes. But my voice and my message didn't reflect that character fully until I analyzed myself while writing the EP."

Sketch, who performs with Protege at the hip-hop showcase Enter the Cypher on Friday, explains this disc is the launching pad Protege has been yearning for. "He comes out of a group [Phenetiks] with the incredibly strong emcee RocOne and the incredibly strong producer Deto22," says Sketch, "so it was excellent to shine a spotlight on him and show that he wasn't just along for the ride."

The adoration goes both ways, as Protege says, "Sketch had everything to do with [my] change. The disappointment of not delivering was enough to motivate me. It's like a Jedi mind trick."

You'll hear complex, cool guest vocals by The Phenetics on "Sunshine" and "Pressure" as well as rhymes by up-and-coming emcee Silentuch on "Maybe." It was recorded by Deto22 and mastered by Dirt E. Dutch. And all along, Protege is never outdone. "I would say I was the boss," he says, "[but] no matter what, putting together an album is a group project and all the wheels have to turn."

Protege says the freedom he felt while putting together this EP is most evident on the second track, "Awareness."

He says, "This song took the longest to write and was the hardest to fit a decent flow over. I had to stop my human side from thinking and let The Protege take over."

The album is available for download on iTunes. - Fairfield Weekly (Sean Corbett)

"The Protege "Untitled is Hard Enough""

The Protege

Born and raised in Connecticut, The Protege has been a DJ, a producer, a manager and now an MC on the Phenetiks roster (Rawkus Record.) Recently, he has been gaining momentum as an artist and that work comes to fruition on his just released 7 track EP, Untitled is Hard Enough.

Produced by Sketch the Cataclysm, Untitled is Hard Enough is a brief foray into what continues to be the overshadowed and under compensated world of underground hip-hop. Of note here is the variety of ways Protege gets over very different beats by Sketch. Cataclysm’s production ranges from the dark drum step and militant sound of the EP’s opener, “Provisions,” to the reggae dub sound of “Pressure,” with relaxed yet eerie hip-hop in between on “Sunshine.” The inclusion of some jazz and blues sound throughout the tracks keeps the 7 tracks from sounding generic.

Regardless of the beat, The Protege keeps his delivery flexible, letting the tracks come to him rather than forcing one style onto various tracks. His lyrics stay straight ahead, foregoing typical lyrical stalwarts like money, cars and jewelry for more personal topics like the pressure to pay bills. The honesty is refreshing, and combined with the ability to lace together rhymes and wordplays, The Protege makes his debut solo effort one that leaves you wanting to see what he can deliver on a full length outing. In one of the strongest tracks on the EP, “Nothing,” Cataclysm includes an undulating bass line and funky vocal chorus that eventually devolves to massive scratching as The Protege spins tongue twisters about his effort to create work and his subsequent fear of rejection.

While brief, Untitled is Hard Enough is solid and original. It doesn’t rely on prevailing Hip-Pop trends, nor does it try to paint itself as a champion of the underground. Instead, the honesty simply puts artist and beat out there for the listener with no requirements other than hearing where he’s coming from. It should certainly be interesting to see where he goes from here.

Thanks to Dirt E. Dutch for the tip. -

"Interview w TheProtege"

Protégé from Phenetiks Interview
I know you guys reading my interviews are going to start thinking I'm developing a bias towards Connecticut, but no it's purely coincidence that my next artist to interview is also from CT. With A new album out and getting a lot of good responses I catch up with Protégé from Phenetiks to talk about the Musical Journey.

Musiqpromo: How's it going? Why don't you introduce yourself to the people?Protégé: Hello there, I go by the name of The Protégé of Phenetiks. We are an experimental hip-hop group from Waterbury CT. Besides me there is the producer Deto22, the Dj Dj SirCumference, and the two other incredible MC' JK1 the Supernova and Roc one. Happy to be here.
Musiqpromo: How long have you been together? Protégé: Well we all kind of met through mutual friends and became friends before we actually started to do music together. Phenetiks has been around since 1994. Deto22 is the originator. We have officially been a five member group since my induction in late '05'.
Musiqpromo: How would you describe your sound? Protégé: Our sound is untainted, pure, original, lyrics, raw beats, raw scratching, concept driven, life motivated, dramatic nonsense, hip hop. Lol I can just say that each MC' brings his own persona to the table when it comes to making songs.Deto22 lays the beat and the concept and Dj Sircumference adds the special sauce. I dont even know what else to call it. It's just some good ol hip hop!
Musiqpromo: You have released your first album, can you tell the people about that?Protégé: Yes this is our first release wit Rawkus, but we put out our first album independently in 2006, "The Sandbox set" which is available on and Our second LP is called "Revolutionary Non-Pollutionary Mechanical Wonder". You can download it now at the Rawkus website, and the link is as follows We have merchandise links posted as well.
Musiqpromo: I saw that you have made it to the Rawkus 50, how did that come about?Protégé: We caught word of it on the net pretty early. JK1's girlfriend Erin spotted it and was like "you guys should enter that shit" so we did. I sent in the necessary materials and Slopfunkdust got back to us with a quick response. Hate to sound cliché but the rest is history. We got in.
Musiqpromo: Your from CT I've just interviewed MD-E, are you guys ever gonna collaborate? And what do you think of Redhead Kingpin & Apathy, who are CT's most famous exports. Protégé: Yeah M D.E is our people. We both from CT representin! We are gonna be doing a show with him next week @ Blaggards in Manhattan. (Peep the page for info)I'm sure we can get together on a track in the future. I personally have not listened to Redhead Kingpin ever. I'm sure he can hold it down because I have heard of him. Apathy is my people too. I used to be a Dj for WHUS the University of Connecticut radio station. He was always around with OneTwo of the Demigodz. He spit crazy then and he's only gotten better with time. I've seen him roast mics wit a freestyle. I'm glad he's doing his thing, I'm gonna check him out in concert in Hartford this summer.
Musiqpromo: Are you working with any other people?Protégé: Mos def! CT becoming really strong right now and we (Phenetiks) are all about the unity. We have aligned ourselves with some good talent from around the state, M D.E being one. We are apart of the AFA (Ant Farm Affiliates) which features Spaz,Cee Reed, Workforce-Dir E Dutch and Hawl Digg,D_Cyphernauts, Sketch Tha Cataclysm, The Rising Sun Quest, and Expertiz. We are planning to drop a mixtape soon. And shout out to my peoples The Basement Bastards, Subrosa, Smoke, Cousin Larry's, Maddsonn, Defynshn, Silent Touch, Wos, Dj Eros, and the Official IC.
Musiqpromo: Sounds very promising I'm from the UK, have you heard anything from over here that has caught your ear? Protégé: I personally can't say that I know as much about UK hip hop than I do about US hip hop. But I have caught freestyles from things like jump-off TV and mix tapes; Youtube also keeps me tuned in. I haven't listened to enough to pick favorites. I did however link up with a producer named Raze Brooks and we did a couple of tracks together. There are other UK artist's that I like outside of hip hop like Cluadia Jesse and Holly Ottignon. Great talents. Wait I like Slick Rick, he's from the UK right?
Musiqpromo: Yeah Slick Rick & Monie Love are our biggest exports, I've heard a few of Razes Tunes, his Hip Hop Years Mixes and the Stuff he did with Lava Flo, you got any plans to come out to perform in the U.K? Protégé: We would love to come out there and perform for the people! But we all have separate lives right now and it would take a big effort on our part. The only way I see that becoming a reality is if we can do a tour and make enough money to support our music. You know we still got jobs and kids support so all of that would have to be taken into consideration. I -

"Voted # 1 Hip-Hop in CT"

Straight out of Waterbury, the authentic and innovative hip-hop group Phenetiks is becoming a force to be reckoned with. Together for only two years, the men were life-long musicians, either as DJs or MCs, before they met through mutual friends. They mix edgy social observations and nostalgic explanations of music with catchy and experimental beats that immediately make you realize these guys are doing something completely different than what's "popular."
Deto-22, the group's producer, lays the beats down and, according to his MySpace page, Phenetiks is more than just a music group for him; it's a life-saving force.
"Phenetiks saved my life," the site reads. "I used to live in random parked cars and hustle Snickers to high school kids for drug money. I'd spend my nights with various homeless hookers playing setback and Scrabble and [I'd] eat cans of snowshoe peas." It wasn't until he haphazardly met Roc-one and JK1, both from New York, that he really tapped into his production skills. Then, after years of producing beats for local solo artists, the three men started Phenetiks with MC Protégé and DJ SirCumference.
Record label Rawkus picked them to be in their "Rawkus 50," a collection Rawkus calls "the 50 next important hip-hop artists," less than a month after Pheneticks submitted a demo to them. The label will get them a digital distribution deal along with promotional assistance and occasional shows in New York. Opportunities like this allow Phenetiks to "hardcore promote" their new album, The Revolutionary, Non-Pollutionary, Mechanical Player, along the East Coast, and each copy comes with the Rawkus seal.
Their songwriting is strictly collaborative. It starts with Deto-22's beats and then moves its way through the others in the group, sprouting lyrical legs until all the verses and hooks are nicely packaged and put together. "We call Deto-22 the creator and the originator because we can't make Phenetiks tracks without him, the Protégé says. "He has that certain sound." They bounce ideas off each other, and a song's not done until they all agree it's done.
Currently, aside from picking up as many shows as possible, they're collaborating with Smoke, this year's Best Hard Rock/Rock winner, on a live album to be recorded at shows between now and the end of 2008 and planned for an early-2009 release.
Hip-hop groups like Phenetiks show its struggle and passion to create art, not a struggle and passion to sell sneakers and over-sized hoodies. Listen to them and it's clear that if mainstream hip hop wasn't spoon-fed to the masses, nobody would eat it.
Check it out for yourself at -

"WWS MaG Interview with Deto22"

How did you get started with your music?
Personally I (Deto22) have been making beats since I was 12 years old. I found out early on that I had a passion for it so I stuck with it and perfected it. I came across the other 4 members at very different times. "Roc One" got down with me in late '97' and this is essentially when Phenetiks, as people know it today was born. JK 1 The Supernova Moved to Connecticut from Brooklyn in 2000 and thats when he got down. And in 2005 Dj Sir.Cumference and The Protege came aboard . We have officially been a 5 member group for about two years.

What are you currently working on?
Well we just finished up our second LP entitled "Revolutionary Non-Pollutionary Mechanical Wonder" released with Rawkus Records (Rawkus 50) and its available for download only right now on our website. We are now working on an all live album called " Til its Dead" and another studio album that we haven't titled yet.

What kind of music do you listen to and how does it influence your music?
Im really into classic rock ya know, The Beatles and guys like Frank Zappa ,Jethro Tull,Led Zeplin,ZZ Top, I even get down with Jazz. I guess you can say that Im influenced by these people the most because they were the masters of innovation. Also the way they used live instrumentation to tell a story within the song is probably what influences me the most when making beats for my MC's. When I make beats I try to make them so a live band would be able to play it with no problem. Im preparing us for unplugged on MTV….lol.

What is your opinion of music today in the mainstream?
The only problem with this question is that your asking the wrong person about it. For a lot of different reasons I have been out of the loop when it comes to the mainstream. I have not listened to the radio nor watched BET or MTV for about 7 years now. Its obvious that hip-hop is not the same and only took a turn for the worst since 99. Its sad because there are probably some really great new artists out there but I wont hear them because I got so bored with entertainment so long ago. The stuff the mainstream puts out now is forcefed to kids. I feel as though the "artist" has dissappeared and people dont make music to make music anymore. People make music to make money. Thats fine but thats not Phenetiks. It seems as though people feel like they cant do what they want with music because they wont sell. They dont follow great examples of artists who have done it their way and still come out on top …like OutKast. So honestly in a nutshell I hate it.

Who do you admire?
From a production standpoint PRIMO! DJ Premeire because he is a person who helped lay down the foundation and he never fell off. Again I have to metion Outkast because like I said before they know how to do music their own way and they know how to keep their style fresh. They know how to balance their work by being in the public eye and staying true to the art for of making music. Def Jux, El-P and Aesop. They have some real talent.

Why would people want to listen to your music over someone else's?
Its realstic and just motivated by our lives in general. Im so glad that I came across 3 MC's that know how to put their feelings on paper. Our content is always real and people can relate to it. With me behind the boards our sound will never be duplicated. Our Dj is superior and because of him our live performances are untouchable. After you hear us you wont want to listen to anything else.

Who have you worked with and how have they affected your work?
Right now we work with our close friends in the AFA (Ant Farm Affiliates). We got D_Cyphernauts, Sketch Tha Cataclysm, Workforce -Dirt E Dutch and Hawl Digg, Cee Reed, Spaz, The Rising Sun Quest, and Expertiz. These guys are very talented and they help me think outside the box. Im used to using certain formulas when dealing with the music that Phenetiks puts out as a group but when I work with the AFA I have to challenge myself to bring out the best in the artist and not make it sound like a Phenetiks song.

What is your local music scene like?
I think that there is a lot of great talent coming out of our state. I also think that there are a lot of acts on the same page that dont want to be in the same book together. At least not yet. We in CT are starting to show a lot of consistent unity but its just not good enough yet. It has the potential to grow into a movement but we gotta get rid of the haters. When it happens and it will the "game" is ours for the taking. There are a bunch of cats out here doin the damn thing. Apathy is doin it big right now with Atlantic, Phenetiks with Rawkus, we also have the AFA which represents Waterbury and

Danbury to the fullest. You even have guys like M D_E hailing from

Stamford holdin it down. Its good right now but theres always room for improvement

What suggestions do you have for other artists in the music industry?

Ill put it like t - WWS MAgazine

"Hip Hop Summit"

March 11, 2007
by Natasha Lee
There's nothing wrong with being nerdy and being critical
STAMFORD - Aspiring young MCs, DJs and rappers got a behind-the-scenes glimpse yesterday of what it takes to get on stage, spit rhymes and get the crowd pumped.
Underground rappers, producers and artists from across the state gathered at the first Hip Hop Summit yesterday to teach young people about performance, technique and skill.
The all-day event was sponsored by Westhill High School and hosted by Ant Farm Affiliates, an association of more than a dozen Connecticut hip-hop artists and performers.
Their message was one of empowerment.
'There's nothing wrong with being nerdy and being critical,' said Queen Godis to a handful of students following a performance. 'We have to rely on our minds, because they are underused as it is.'
Godis, a singer and spoken-word performer, and singer Kendall Johnson-Smith, both from Brooklyn, N.Y., kicked off the summit with a series of songs and poetry from Godis' recent album 'Power U!'
Godis said her message and the album are about the struggles and joy of womanhood. She said women should be 'unafraid to be who they are without fear or resignation.'
Music videos featuring scantily clad women or sexually explicit lyrics send conflicting messages about a woman's place in society, she said.
'In the midst of mixed media images, there's a lot of disconnect as to what it means to be a woman,' she said.
Westhill High senior Deidre Knight, 17, said she appreciates Godis' message.
'When I listen to a lot of rap, it's like females really can't get anywhere. All you can do is look good and be in a video,' said Deidre, an aspiring rapper. 'Even a lot of female artists are degrading themselves. We need more artists like (Godis). She's good, and that inspires me.'
The summit featured a series of workshops about gaining exposure through independent media, stage presence and breathing techniques. Leaders also spoke about turning 'tagging' (spray-painting a symbol or name) and graffiti into a graphic design career. Participants had the chance to showcase their own demo CDs and receive a critique from Ant Farm Affiliates.
The event ended with a concert featuring the artists.
Westhill English teachers David Wooley and Joe Celcis, who also are Ant Farm performers, said the goal of the summit was to introduce young people to another side of hip hop, a side less commercial and more intellectual.
Wooley said he occasionally will interject lyrics into lessons to get students hooked on expanding their vocabulary and to improve their interest in reading.
'I think that we have a lot of kids who are either artists or intrigued by the music and the culture, and they don't necessarily think it's a way they can express themselves and be successful academically,' Wooley said.
The artists with Ant Farm Affiliates have years of experience performing individually and together across the country, and they said they have knowledge and advice to share with younger people who are up and coming.
'There's a real subculture that most people don't know about,' said Celcis, who goes by the stage name Nemesis Alpha when he's not teaching 'Romeo and Juliet' to high school kids. 'For every thug rapper, there's three or four rappers that have a real message and keep it real.'
Sixteen-year-old Brett Clarke came to the summit hoping to hone his DJ skills. Brett, a Westhill High junior, said his hobby of spinning records has landed him gigs at sweet-sixteen celebrations and at parties. The enthusiasm of the crowd as they dance and sing along when he works his turntables gives him a rush, Brett said.
But the role of the DJ has been lost today, he said.
'You almost get into somewhat of a zone. It's kind of cliche, but you don't really hear the music, you feel it. It's a lost art,' Brett said. 'Now at school dances, you'll see someone getting paid to sit behind a computer and press play.'
The summit was advertised and open to the public, but only about a dozen participants attended yesterday afternoon. Nonetheless, the artists said they felt encouraged by the youths' reaction.
'I've seen nothing but smiles, claps,' said Manny Arias, an MC from Waterbury who goes by the stage name Rocone. 'Everyone looks like they're enjoying themselves - Greenwich Times

"2nd Annual Hip Hop Summit"

by Ben Levine
They rushed to the front of the Westhill High stage, 100 or
so teenagers and twenty-somethings packed together, heads nodding and
hands in the air, eating up every rhyme and breaking to every beat.

"I need you to lose you're mind," said Joe Celcis, Westhill High
teacher and 'MC' for the group the d_Cyphernauts. "This is a real
hip-hop show. This is how we celebrate African American history month.
Hip-hop is not about violence, hip-hop is love."

And with that the performance part of the second annual Hip-Hop Summit
had begun. For dozens of high school students who came out on a cold
and grey Saturday, it was the opportunity to lose themselves in the
music, and get a chance to see first hand the culture and art form of
hip-hop they had been discussing all afternoon.
The Hip-Hop Summit's purpose was to deteriorate mainstream stereotypes
about hip-hop culture. On March 1, long-time hip-hop lovers and
first-timers had a chance to take part in hip-hop workshops and panel

The workshops were on everything from beat making, producing, rhyming,
break dancing and turn table exploits. Legends such as MC Chubb Rock
(Richard Simpson) and d.j. Terrible-T (Tyrone Dunmore) took part in
the day's activities. According to Celcis and his d_Cyphernaut partner
Dave Wooley (a.k.a. Othello), the workshops were a chance for kids to
get hands-on experience in the music they love.

"The idea behind the summit was to merge teaching and hip-hop, and to
do something positive for Black History month," Wooley said. "It's a
great learning experience (for kids), and we had access to a wealth of
artists who had a lot to say, and present a side of hip-hop (students)
are not usually exposed to."

Wooley and Celcis wanted to inform youth about the positive and
negatives of the music industry, and first and foremost, inspire those
who are interested in pursing a career in music. Celcis, who goes by
the MC name of Nemesis Alpha, said that as an artist he learned just
as much about the hip-hop he's creating as kids learned about how they
create it.

"I think as artists, when you're dealing with a specific population as
we do, which is the 21-and-over crowd, sometimes you can become
encapsulated," he said. "Interacting with these kids reminds us of the
responsibility of the arts, which I believe is to have a message, a
purpose. I think all art should challenge the human mind."

Celcis and Wooley are both part of the Ant Farm Affiliates (AFA), a
collection of Connecticut-based hip-hoppers. AFA members include
Phenetiks, Workforce, Cee Reed, The Rising Sun Quest, Sketch the
Cataclysm, Expertiz, Pruven, and Spaz the Working Class — all of whom
performed at Saturday's summit.

The AFA was formed in January of last year, and first performed to
gether at the inagural Hip-Hop Summit, also hosted by Celcis and
Wooley. Their goal is to validate Connecticut as a prominent area to
discover musical talent within hip-hop. The AFA hosts a local hi-hop
showcase entitled "Enter The Cypher,' at Cousin Larry's in Danbury,
Conn. The AFA strives to promote the authenticity and purity of
hip-hop culture through music, dance, creative writing and art.

In addition to performances and workshops, Celcis and Wooley also held
a panel discussion to discuss where hip-hop has been, and where its
experts believed it was going.

One of the topics discussed at length by panelists was the record
industry, and the changes it has experienced over the last decade.
Chubb Rock, a Brooklyn, N.Y. native who has released several albums
and sold millions of records world wide, explained that in today's
music world, with fewer and fewer record labels, a small number of
people make the decision as to what music should sound like, act like
and look like.

"What happens in the mainstream media is things are watered down so
they are easy to digest. It's the nature of the industry, regardless
of the genre of music we're talking about. They want the music to be
consumable," he said.

It's this mentality, Chubb Rock explained, that has led to commercial
hip-hop's glorification of negative stereotypes, and why so many of
today's artists sound the same. Original and positive artists get
pushed to the underground scene, he said. Chubb Rock and the rest of
the panel would like to see hip-hop pioneers do more to promote
positive hip-hop culture.

"We have to go into our communities and help teach young people about
the business of music and hip-hop," Chubb Rock said.

In the eyes of Celcis and Wooley, the summit fulfilled that pledge to
the young people who came. From 6 p.m. on, kids felt the full-force of
electric performance's by AFA artists, and at the end of the day,
students were given the chance to go on stage and perform themselves.

"To have them on stage, and to be cheered on by fellow students and
the AFA artists, that was something special," Celcis sai - TheStamford Times

"2nd Annual Hip Hop summit Review"

This past Saturday I was a guest speaker at the AFA’s (Ant Farm Affiliates) second annual Hip-Hop Summit at Westhill High School in Stamford, CT. The day was filled with workshops that included emcees mentoring students on the arts of songwriting, battling and freestyling, panel discussions that featured legendary emcee Chubb Rock and Stronghold’s Breez Evahflowin, and performances both by the artists who were doing the mentoring as well as some of the students. Through having conversations with the young men and women there, hearing their questions, seeing their reactions to the performances and seeing them do their own thing on stage, I have to say that Hip-Hop’s future looks brighter than ever.

The first sign that something special was happening on this afternoon was that over a hundred students showed up at school on a Saturday. Inspired to actually go back to campus on a weekend, these young Hip-Hop fans were looking to soak up any information given to them about the culture. In fact, during a question and answer segment I was impressed with the concerns the students came to us with. In an open forum it takes some guts to ask “why do older artists look down on us?” To the credit of the artists, fantastic answers were given to every question asked. At one point Chubb Rock not only gave a history lesson, but schooled everyone as to who was really making money in the industry, noting that Raven-Symone was selling more albums than Beyonce, a statistic that shocked the vast majority of the crowd, including some of the other panelists. Later a question was asked regarding the lack of women on the stage and Othello from d_Cyphernauts mentioned my “Where The Ladies At?” blog post and let me give some answers.

The live performances capped off the day and did so in impressive fashion. It should be noted that all of these young people that so many so-called Hip-Hop fans claim are brainwashed and don’t know anything about the culture embraced all the underground artists wholeheartedly, which is much more than I can say for your average older fan attending to a show. They rushed the stage, jumped up and down and reached out for high fives. The crowd was so hype, in fact, that Hawl Digg of Workforce decided to jump into it for a minute during his performance.

Smiles were plentiful as these 100+ young men and women were there to see some Hip-Hop, even if they didn’t know who all of the artists were. Note to everyone who goes to shows – this is how it always should be! We could all learn a lesson and take a cue from these younger fans and start showing up at the bars and clubs we go to for events with that same attitude of just wanting to see some Hip-Hop and being excited about it. It’s funny, a lot of people who claim to be Hip-Hop fans really aren’t. They go to shows with a negative attitude, wanting the artist to prove something to them. These stone faced, “I hope this guy sucks,” types fill up clubs and deem themselves some kind of expert, claiming to appreciate the art form “on a higher level.” That’s a load of horse dookie. We’ve all been guilty of it, I know I have in the past, but what higher level is there than going to a show to enjoy yourself and then enjoying yourself?

The good times continued when the students hit the stage. Breez and I both commented on how much more advanced the next generation of artists are at 15 and 16 than anyone from our generation was at that age. One group featured a full band and midway through a song titled “Don’t Shoot The Gorilla” had a guy in a gorilla suit join them on stage. Talk about a sight to behold! The place erupted with cheers. In fact, all of the students supported each other, which was great to see.

All in all, the AFA’s second annual Hip-Hop Summit proved Hip-Hop’s future is in capable hands (and notebooks). The only way things could be derailed is if the older generations, mine included, choose to ignore the questions, comments and concerns of our future MCs, DJs and producers. So if you’re an established artist, take a few minutes to converse with some of the aspiring future leaders of Hip-Hop, you might be surprised at how quickly someone can go from looking up at you to looking up to you.Check out photos from the event at: AFA Hip-Hop Summit GalleryFor more on the AFA check out:


Clash of the Titans 2000
The Sanbox Set 2005
Revolutionary Non-Pollutionary Mechanical Wonder 2007 (Rawkus 50)
Untitled is Hard Enough 2009
Sharing is Caring 2009
My Mom Thinks Im Awesome 2009



phenetiks has been stompin' for a while now. Started in 1994 by producer deto-22, the formula has always been a simple and effective one...
dope beats with personality, and MC's who spit hungry. Although the crews roster has changed countless times, the overall vision and philosophy has not. The first sign of concrete was deto-22's chance meeting of Brooklyn native Roc-one in 1998. Even though a youngin' at the time, Roc had a grown ferocity to his voice and laid back lyrics that meshed with deto's off-centered yet melodic production style lovely. While making some small hometown buzz, they involved themselves in a local project, the "Clash of the Titans" with three other area artists (Quest, Spaz) in 2000.
DJ Sir.Cumference came aboard in 2004 as the official phenetiks DJ, and has since solidified himself as the "Show" when phenetiks is live, and another weapon in deto's arsenal of production tricks. The Protege was the fourth and final installment. Childhood friends with Sir.Cumference, and frequent phenetiks studio visitor, Protege has seen the vision the crew had and understood it from the rip. Brought aboard in early 2006 as Hype Man, MC, Promoter, Assistant, he has crafted himself an important factor to the forward movement that has been snowballing over the last year. And now it's here, the crew, the 4, phenetiks in the Rawkus 50. After the self-released album "The Sandbox Set" in October 2006, this is a large and welcome opportunity to spread a little word. phenetiks.