What do Mos Def, Talib Kweli, Lord Have Mercy, the Bush Babees, Mobb Deep, Doug E. Fresh, Slick Rick, Biggie Smalls, Eminem, and Puffy have in common? At one time or another, they've all rocked the mic at the Lyricist Lounge. The Lyricist Lounge has humble beginnings as an open mic spot, but founders Anthony Marshall and Danny Castro are proud to say that the Lounge is growing and developing every day. "After 10 years, we've done shows, three tours, two albums, and a TV show on MTV. We're elevating constantly, this year we're trying to do another tour in the US, a European tour, and another album," explains Danny Castro.See Also:
Anthony Marshall recalls the beginning of things for Lyricist Lounge, "in September 1991 we started off with open mic sessions, we invited friends to come through and kick it on the open mic. It was basically begging people to come to the spot, they'd never heard of it." Hundreds of shows later, they would be able to reminisce on some of the biggest moments in the history of the Lounge. "The night with Biggie Smalls and Puff, we were in the village gate, the spot holds 300 people but there were a thousand people there. We had 20 acts and 30 people on the open mic. At that time we were 17 years old."
Anthony and Danny are proud yet humble with regard to their achievements with the Lyricist Lounge shows and events. "The lounge was created by us but it's for everybody. It's a puzzle and everybody's got to put in their own piece to make it what it is". They have plans to build Lyricist Lounge spots in cities throughout the country, so youth outside of New York can experience open mic nights, live events, and groundbreaking performances from up-and-coming artists in their own hometowns. The Lyricist Lounge has definitely had a positive impact on Hip Hop as a whole, explains Anthony Marshall "What we've done has been important for Hip Hop because we've set up a trend for promoters to put together underground shows. We also did a lot for up and coming artists as well, helped them with their careers, advised them, and that's what we're here for."
Danny Castro and Anthony Marshall, along with another original member of the Lyricist Lounge crew, Perry Landesberg, have created a company called MIC Media to handle their many projects such as Lyricist Lounge compilations, Soundbombin' compilations, and a new project in conjunction with Ecko Unlimited known as Underground Airplay.
In September of 1993, Ecko Unlimited released the first Underground Airplay mixtapes on cassette to promote their young clothing line. Eight years later, Ecko has hooked up with the cats from Lyricist Lounge/MIC Media and updated this concept to a mixtape-style compilation "Underground Airplay Version 1.0" mixed by DJ Spinbad. The compilation releases on October 16, 2001 and is the first of a three-part series.
It's obvious from the list of artists on the project that true Hip Hop heads will enjoy Version 1.0 --- this is a great way for those who lack Technics to check out artists who have previously released singles mainly on vinyl. Some of the highlights of the mix include Self Scientific's quintessential 12" "The Return", Maspyke's "54th Regiment", Quasimoto's "Curse On You", and Rise and Shine's "Blazin". The mix also includes one full-length cut by Mos Def called "Jam On It", which is an excellent cover of the original classic jam by Newcleus. If anything, Underground Airplay is a jump-off point for many artists who have paid dues on the underground scene to reach CD players everywhere.
For more information on the Lyricist Lounge, or to find out how you can take part, visit http://www.lyricistlounge.com/ on the world wide web. You can also get more info on the Underground Airplay Version 1.0 compilation at http://www.undergroundairplay.com/
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