WHAT SHOULD I BE DOING INSTEAD OF THIS?
 
Home · Articles · Music · Music · Music: Spray, Scratch, Spit, Spin

Music: Spray, Scratch, Spit, Spin

Local Hip Hop culture showcase becomes a hit by staying true

By Mike Montgomery · August 6th, 2003 · Music
0 Comments
     
Tags:
  It's all about heart and unity: The ever-growing Scribble Jam offers black and white boys and girls a sampling of the
It's all about heart and unity: The ever-growing Scribble Jam offers black and white boys and girls a sampling of the "elements of Hip Hop."



Anyone who's into Hip Hop and its surrounding culture is no doubt already well aware that Aug. 7-10 marks the return of the annual Scribble Jam festival to Cincinnati. For a city so notoriously "racially divided," it seems odd that the biggest underground Hip-Hop event in the country has been bringing black and white boys and girls together in its own backyard for the better part of a decade, remaining largely unfazed by the rioting, boycotting and spineless political whitewashing of an ignorant but vocal few.

For the handful of local folks who created and continue to host Scribble Jam each year, the event's growing success and fluid manageability are a no-brainer. After talking with one of the event's founders, Nick Accurso, it's apparent the four-day gathering has been and always will be about heart and unity. Organ-izers are in it for the right reasons, which the crowds it draws recognize and appreciate.

When asked if he'd ever consider selling the rights to the festival to an outside marketing or promotions group, Accurso replies wryly, "That would kind of defeat the purpose, wouldn't it?"

Although there's certainly money to be made off anything that draws thousands of kids from all over the world, the organizers aren't exactly raking it in hand over fist. But that's never really been the point.

If nothing else, Scribble Jam remains one of the truest and most legit testing grounds for young artists and enthusiasts looking to prove their skills and make a name for themselves. If you've ever seen an emcee battle, you realize how cutthroat the rhymes can get. But at the end of the day, it's still hugs and high fives all around.

From a young Eminem to Sage Francis, Eyedea and DJ Precyse, the amount of talent that's been showcased over the years is staggering. From its modest beginnings to its current legendary underground status -- Toyota/ Scion is a sponsor this year, for chrissakes! -- Scribble Jam is a success story in the making.

For the curious and uninitiated, a little history is in order. The year was 1996. Accurso (aka "Fat Nick") and his skateboarding buddy (now renowned tattoo artist) Jason Brunson were painting a "legal mural" on a building in Clifton. The then unknown DJ Mr. Dibbs happened upon the scene and told the two he'd seen their graffiti around town and had been looking for them. He was interested in organizing some kind of event that would bring together what Fat Nick describes as "the four elements of Hip Hop": graffiti, break dancing, emcee-ing and DJ-ing.

Accurso and Brunson, confident that their graff writing was on par with, if not better than, the flicks they were seeing in graffiti magazines at the time, were already considering publishing their own magazine, appropriately titled Scribble. A date was set to coincide with the release of the first issue, and 100 or so kids gathered on a cold day in the parking lot of Annie's nightclub to celebrate the music and culture they all felt a part of.

Deemed a success by its planners, another date was set for the following year. By this time, the format had become better established and fliers were sent out around the region.

The first jam with actual battles happened in 1997.

"We had different dancers from different crews who would break dance against each other, emcees and DJs would battle against each other and 30 or so kids would be painting their stuff on the walls of the club," Fat Nick recalls. "It was really just about everyone doing their own thing and having fun. It went great. It helped us out when emcees like Eminem showed up out of nowhere. He was unknown and didn't even win that year. But he's always thanked the Scribble Jam."

By 1998, Scribble Jam had grown larger than the organizers anticipated. Unable to bankroll the event on their own, this marked the first year they actually charged an admission fee at the door. When the performers' bar tabs outweighed the gate purse, Annie's decided not to invite the crew back the following year.

The year Christmas never came was 1999. One day, before the core of the festival's performances were to take place, cops entered the warehouse space in Dayton where everyone had set up camp and shut down whole thing. Scrambling to find a replacement venue, Nick and crew settled on what he calls "Cincinnati's players club," The Ritz on Reading Road.

Despite some discrepancies with the numbers reported by the Ritz's door staff, the new venue -- situated in a strip mall -- provided a perfect location for the 50 or so artists from around the country who had come to do their pieces.

Despite the changing venues -- Annie's is back hosting the event -- Scribble Jam remains true to its roots.

"It's really the only event like this that has all the elements of Hip Hop and where kids can paint on actual concrete walls," Fat Nick says. "That's crucial to the whole thing."



SCRIBBLE JAM's main events take place at Annie's Friday and Saturday. For a full list of events, see
  It's all about heart and unity: The ever-growing Scribble Jam offers black and white boys and girls a sampling of the
It's all about heart and unity: The ever-growing Scribble Jam offers black and white boys and girls a sampling of the "elements of Hip Hop."



Anyone who's into Hip Hop and its surrounding culture is no doubt already well aware that Aug. 7-10 marks the return of the annual Scribble Jam festival to Cincinnati. For a city so notoriously "racially divided," it seems odd that the biggest underground Hip-Hop event in the country has been bringing black and white boys and girls together in its own backyard for the better part of a decade, remaining largely unfazed by the rioting, boycotting and spineless political whitewashing of an ignorant but vocal few.

For the handful of local folks who created and continue to host Scribble Jam each year, the event's growing success and fluid manageability are a no-brainer. After talking with one of the event's founders, Nick Accurso, it's apparent the four-day gathering has been and always will be about heart and unity. Organ-izers are in it for the right reasons, which the crowds it draws recognize and appreciate.

When asked if he'd ever consider selling the rights to the festival to an outside marketing or promotions group, Accurso replies wryly, "That would kind of defeat the purpose, wouldn't it?"

Although there's certainly money to be made off anything that draws thousands of kids from all over the world, the organizers aren't exactly raking it in hand over fist. But that's never really been the point.

If nothing else, Scribble Jam remains one of the truest and most legit testing grounds for young artists and enthusiasts looking to prove their skills and make a name for themselves. If you've ever seen an emcee battle, you realize how cutthroat the rhymes can get. But at the end of the day, it's still hugs and high fives all around.

From a young Eminem to Sage Francis, Eyedea and DJ Precyse, the amount of talent that's been showcased over the years is staggering. From its modest beginnings to its current legendary underground status -- Toyota/ Scion is a sponsor this year, for chrissakes! -- Scribble Jam is a success story in the making.

For the curious and uninitiated, a little history is in order. The year was 1996. Accurso (aka "Fat Nick") and his skateboarding buddy (now renowned tattoo artist) Jason Brunson were painting a "legal mural" on a building in Clifton. The then unknown DJ Mr. Dibbs happened upon the scene and told the two he'd seen their graffiti around town and had been looking for them. He was interested in organizing some kind of event that would bring together what Fat Nick describes as "the four elements of Hip Hop": graffiti, break dancing, emcee-ing and DJ-ing.

Accurso and Brunson, confident that their graff writing was on par with, if not better than, the flicks they were seeing in graffiti magazines at the time, were already considering publishing their own magazine, appropriately titled Scribble. A date was set to coincide with the release of the first issue, and 100 or so kids gathered on a cold day in the parking lot of Annie's nightclub to celebrate the music and culture they all felt a part of.

Deemed a success by its planners, another date was set for the following year. By this time, the format had become better established and fliers were sent out around the region. The first jam with actual battles happened in 1997.

"We had different dancers from different crews who would break dance against each other, emcees and DJs would battle against each other and 30 or so kids would be painting their stuff on the walls of the club," Fat Nick recalls. "It was really just about everyone doing their own thing and having fun. It went great. It helped us out when emcees like Eminem showed up out of nowhere. He was unknown and didn't even win that year. But he's always thanked the Scribble Jam."

By 1998, Scribble Jam had grown larger than the organizers anticipated. Unable to bankroll the event on their own, this marked the first year they actually charged an admission fee at the door. When the performers' bar tabs outweighed the gate purse, Annie's decided not to invite the crew back the following year.

The year Christmas never came was 1999. One day, before the core of the festival's performances were to take place, cops entered the warehouse space in Dayton where everyone had set up camp and shut down whole thing. Scrambling to find a replacement venue, Nick and crew settled on what he calls "Cincinnati's players club," The Ritz on Reading Road.

Despite some discrepancies with the numbers reported by the Ritz's door staff, the new venue -- situated in a strip mall -- provided a perfect location for the 50 or so artists from around the country who had come to do their pieces.

Despite the changing venues -- Annie's is back hosting the event -- Scribble Jam remains true to its roots.

"It's really the only event like this that has all the elements of Hip Hop and where kids can paint on actual concrete walls," Fat Nick says. "That's crucial to the whole thing."



SCRIBBLE JAM's main events take place at Annie's Friday and Saturday. For a full list of events, see scribblemagazine.com.
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
Close
Close
Close