Local Hip-Hop musician, writer and promoter JC Poppe knows that music is a powerful vehicle when connected to a cause. His recent organizations of service-based events has local rappers drawing not only the usual hip-hop fans but also community activists and those wanting to reach out to help those lives touched by trouble. Tonight, Poppe presents Hip-Hop Hates HIV/AIDS at Milwaukee’s Cactus Club [2496 S. Wentworth] with a host of local rappers and in turn, with hopes that a host of the Milwaukee community will get involved, just like the locals he has enlisted to move the event along: Prophetic, Streetz-n-Young Deuces and DJ Him & Her are just a bit of what’s in store for the evening and Poppe gives WMSE more details on the lineup and the cause.
What’s the background on the event?
Hip-Hop Hates HIV/AIDS was born out of me wanting to get back into service-based events. I did a bit in high school and was really involved in college, but after I graduated that aspect of my life quieted down. Last Spring I got the idea to get back involved with raising money for the MS Society, something I had previously been involved with because my Mom has MS, and after getting a walk team together and an after-walk fundraiser, I figured that since I knew lots of rappers in Milwaukee that I should try my hand at the whole benefit concert thing. It did well enough to make me want to do another one, for Susan G. Komen, and that one did well enough that I was motivated to do a third one.
What’s your background regarding Milwaukee hip hop?
I’ve been on the periphery of Milwaukee hip-hop since 2004 when I released my first EP, The Anger EP that was produced and engineered by Christian artist Brian “B. Reith” Reith. It wasn’t really until I met local DJ Jank One – the Him in DJ duo Him & Her – in 2007 that I really began getting heavily involved. I released my first album in 2009 and followed that up with two albums released at the beginning of this year. Also, at the beginning of 2010 I started a blog dedicated to Milwaukee hip-hop called Milwaukee UP – which has been hosted by OnMilwaukee.com for almost a year now.
This isn’t the first music benefit you’ve hosted and you always seem to involve Milwaukee musicians who are really integral to the city — I’m guessing these musicians bring in a lot of additional community support through their own musical communities?
They do, but what really helped the event grow between the first two events, and hopefully between the second and third event, is the outside support the event has received from sponsors and media sources. Thanks to the oversaturation of information on Facebook and Twitter, success to small events like HHH… is completely tied to how much those outside of the actual event talk about it. The first event had 70 people and with some additional coverage from the Journal Sentinel, Radio Milwaukee, WMSE, etc., the event grew to 140 in attendance. Now with all of that again and even more coverage, duplicating or growing above 140 should be realistic. I hope it is. $1000 is my goal to give to the AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin.
Prophetic, Streetz-n-Young Deuces, Lah-Kid, Pacino and DJ Bizzon are all part of the benefit lineup – any in particular have a special tie to the cause?
Not directly to the ARCW, but Prophetic works with Planned Parenthood frequently. All of the other artists are also very community-minded, and those are the kind of artists that I really like to get involved with this event since it keeps all of us walking down the service path.
What are you most looking forward to on Friday?
Well, this is the first event that I got t-shirts for. The wonderful people at Orchard Street Press designed shirts for me, at a great discounted rate. They are red, so since I’m short and stout, I can’t wait to see how long it takes for somebody to yell out “Hey Kool-Aid!” But seriously, this event is just a fun community style event where people aren’t afraid to smile and be social, and dance, so I’m really looking forward to the vibe of the evening…and making the goal of $1000.
Hip Hop Hates HIV/AIDS takes place tonight at 9 p.m. at Milwaukee’s Cactus Club [2496 S. Wentworth]. 21+