Shabaam Sahdeeq, winner of the UMA ‘Album of the Year’ 2014 for ‘Keepers of The Lost Art’ has been crushing the scene branding the ITS ALIVE Hip Hop Showcase series over the last year. The ITS ALIVE movement was built as a platform for newer artists and legendary staples in the community to have a place to perform and network in a creative space without being charged for their time. In an effort to break away from the “pay to play” platform in which promoters lean on performing artists to financially carry their bills Shabaam has successfully separated himself as a champion in an industry hungry for change.
Shabaam describes the movement as, “…a bridge from young to old and old to young. Newcomers and vets mingle and connect thoughts at events combining all the elements of Hip Hop. No fights or incidents. People have a good time enjoy performances. Every artist on the bill is hand picked to keep the authentic Hip Hop vibe: lyricism and DJs on the turntables.”
The DJs play an integral role in the ITS ALIVE showcases, “…because that’s one of the main elements of Hip Hop.” Shabaam went on to reference, “…when Herc had turntables out in the street and connected them to electricity from the street lights (the DJs) were the main attraction before the emcee. They are the keepers of the flow of the party. The tempo keepers. The mood altering music controllers. Without turntables, whether you’re using serato or vinyl, it’s not an official Hip Hop show.”
When asked about regularly featured artists on the showcases Shabaam, rather than listing specific artists, dropped an interesting bit of insight stating that, “What separates the main cast of characters… is the level of willingness they have to support, work, interact and build. The artist who always come and rock, show love and stay. (They) buy and sell merch, respect the facility, etc.” We then discussed the travesty of artists that leave after they perform and take their crew with them. “All artist should be able to share their fan base…” but all too often they leave before having the opportunity to be turned on to new acts thinning out supporters and weakening the movement.
ITS ALIVE closed out the year with a strong foundation in NYC hosting additional showcases in Pasadena, Costa Mesa and Philadelphia. 2015 is focused on the growth of the brand and refining the showcase platform takin it back to the days of heavy headliners matched by dope openers with a 3 city tour including dates in DC, Baltimore and Philadelphia. Iconic Jersey duo Artifacts will be fronting the run with Ras Kass, El Gant, John Robinson, The Wurxs, Keen, Dirt Platoon and a slew of other localized artists and promoters supporting. March 20th ITS ALIVE will be bringing various artists and DJs from all over the country, including headliner Pete Rock, under one roof for the first annual ‘Most Official Unofficial SXSW Showcase’ in Austin.
ITS ALIVE – IV LEAGUE LAUNCH PARTY
MARCH 20th – Austin, TX