North Texas Daily

UNT alumni spark conversation with Hip Hop Book Club

UNT alumni spark conversation with Hip Hop Book Club

UNT alumni spark conversation with Hip Hop Book Club
June 11
15:42 2018

What started out as a barbershop conversation between friends in a group chat has transformed into a one-of-a-kind discussion yet come across in a public setting.

When you hear the term “Hip Hop Book Club,” one would imagine a group of people sitting around discussing books pertaining to all things hip-hop, but there is more than meets the ears for this Dallas-based club.

UNT alumni Sobechi Ibekwe, Attah Essien, Terrance Lee and Kenny Reeves started The Hip Hop Book Club with hopes of creating a new discussion about one of the most well-known music genres.

Entering in its second season, the club dissects popular hip-hop albums with audience members by asking thought-provoking questions one may not think to ask while shuffling through their favorite playlists.

After just one year since its inception, the show has reached UNT’s campus twice and booked multiple shows outside of Texas. With a few other similar book clubs popping up, the Dallas version of the Hip Hop Book Club remains the original.

“We expected it to get to this point, but not this fast,” Essien said.

The club often serves as an opportunity to fight the sometimes negative misconception surrounding hip-hop in the media.

“Hip-hop has such a negative stigma behind it,” Ibekwe said. “A lot of people don’t do their due diligence to dive deep into the music.”

This week’s show featured trap artist 2-Chainz’s album “Pretty Girls Like Trap Music.”

The club always begins with DJ ill.Tommie spinning popular tracks he has been featured on while the audience mingles until the show begins. Often times, the show starts with introducing every member of its team, from the DJ to the photographer, and gives the audience a rundown on how the show works.

Influence, lyrics, production and visuals are the four pillars used to lead conversations about the featured album of the night is, and each member of the club is assigned a pillar.

Lee handles the visual pillar, which focuses on the art and film inspired by the artist. This section dived deep into the trap music influence, as well as the pink “trap house” 2-Chainz showcased for visitors in Atlanta.

The third pillar, production, is moderated by Essien and discusses the sound influences the art.

The final pillar, lyrics, is facilitated by Ibekwe and gives the audience a chance to share their favorite lyrics from album and what they mean to them. There were motivational bars, charismatic bars and fun bars mentioned during this time, each one showing how music can play a part of individual’s life.

UNT alumnus Kam Willard is a regular at Hip Hop Book Club and has been inspired by the organization’s discussions.

“I’m a fan of open forum and having the ability to dissect and dive deep into hip-hop,” Willard said. “They do a good job of having people discuss things without getting into it over [differences of] opinion.”

The group welcomes both only hip-hop enthusiasts and anyone who appreciates  hip-hop music and realizes the genre is a form of art. Writing lyrics, making beats and creating platforms as part of the album-making process is a creative endeavor for many.

“Hip-hop is a part of my life, whether the artist is super lyrical or not,” Reeves said.

The club hopes to plan an international tour, and the founders remain optimistic and ready for what the future may bring.

“Right now we’re just prepping for the next level,” Reeves said.

In the end, Hip Hop Book Club always aims to bring people of different genders, races, upbringings and religions together under one roof and talk about music and artists they love — and maybe even dislike.

“We want to see hip-hop as not being so controversial one day and [to] teach people to always be [themselves],” Lee said.

Hip-Hop Book Club will discuss the Notorious B.I.G “Ready To Die” album at its next meeting on May 21.

Featured Image: Each pillar asks the audience questions about their respective topics in relation to the album at hand. The audience is asked to respect the music as well as the mic. Josh Jamison

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Bria Graves

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