Remix — Hip Hop Is Alive, the play, returns this fall with a performance tonight (October 23) at Cafe Istanbul at 7:00 p.m. The play, itself, a favorite at last year’s Fringe Fest, casts local rappers as actors in a series of vignettes where dialogue revolves around popular hip-hop songs. Among others, tonight’s show stars rapper Chuck “Lyrikill” Jones and comedian Mark Caesar and features special appearances from Allie Baby and Paasky.
OffBeat caught up with Hip Hop is Alive’s creator DaVida Chanel who gave us a few hints at what to expect on stage tonight:
This is the second year for Hip Hop Is Alive. Have you changed the script and/or format at all?
Well last year the show was a part of a festival and had certain restrictions such as time. This year’s show is my own independent project and features not only skits focusing on more issues current to today — [sic] ie the election — but also includes a cypher. In keeping with the four elements of hip-hop we also have dance and have even managed to highlight some grafitti. In keeping with the theme that hip-hop crosses all boundaries, we even have a violin performance by T-Ray the Violinist.
You have some classic songs in there. Any new ones for this edition?
We love love love the classics so the new skits feature more lyrics from artists such as Nas, Tupac and Queen Latifah. To highlight more current songs, we are featuring new artists Lyrikill, Allie Baby, Paasky and Ja So Rude in the cypher, and Paasky will be performing a song featuring Kourtney Heart called “One Love” that really focuses on the inclusive nature of the genre our show attempts to highlight.
The response from last year’s Fringe Fest was really positive. Has the play been performed since? Do you have plans to take it on the road?
After last year’s show we were overwhelmed by positivity that we took our time and revamped the show. Our goal is to go on the road and highlight other new artists all across the country. We hope to solicit local rappers in every city we reach for the cypher. Additionally, we are filming Tuesday’s performance in hopes of pitching the show as a variety show.
We loved the array of up-and-coming local stars in the cast. What’s the key to working with such a talented cast?
The cast is amazing and we are like a family. We all produce projects and include each other in some capacity. Working with this group of people keeps me focused and extremely creative. The key to our working relationship is respect and honest feedback. We share what works and what doesn’t and always stay committed to the project.