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Friday, June 14
The Indiana Daily Student


Hip-Hop Congress holds extravaganza

Event benefits local musicians, food bank

"The winner of tonight's MC Battle by is Castro. Let's give it up for all these MCs, though," said Chicago freestyle performer Gridlock, to cap off the opening of Wednesday night's hip-hop event, "Hip-Hop Elements Extravaganza." The event was held by and the Hip-Hop Congress at Vertigo, 107 W. Ninth St.\nThe event was an opportunity for hip-hop lovers and newcomers alike to get together and support the music of local talent, with a competition followed by three live acts. The event gave local talent a chance to be discovered and sign with a record company. It also helped raise food for the Hoosier Hills Food Bank, raise support for the Hip-Hop Congress and raise awareness for IU students about hip-hop happenings.\n"One goal in holding this event is to try to develop funds for a scholarship for people who can demonstrate need, but also show that they have made a positive contribution in their community," Hip-Hop Congress Chief Executive Officer Ron Gubitz, a junior, said.\nThe Hip-Hop Congress began on the IU campus in October and has been involved in expanding the hip-hop music and culture movement in Bloomington, where although there is not a lack of interest or talent in hip-hop, there has been a lack of outlets for supporters to utilize. Other main forces in this local expansion have been the two groups that performed at the event, Holistic Experience and Danagas, as well as visitors, the group Axxis and the representatives.\n"Having an outlet like this event, with positive artists, positive music and a positive message, is important for hip-hop music because it has been under an ongoing stigma in society," Gubitz said.\nGubitz founded the Hip-Hop Congress when he was attending the University of Southern California. When he transferred to IU, he brought the idea with him. \n"He came at the right time. He had a vision and right when Bloomington needed it," said one of the organizers of the group, Evan Hershenson, a senior.\nThe extravaganza received support from the residence halls. The board of governors in Briscoe, McNutt and Foster Quads and Ashton Center each allocated funds to help sponsor the start of the organization at IU. Freshman Alex Fruchter, who initially presented the idea to the separate boards, said support was essential to the event.\n"Without the dorms, we wouldn't have had as much exposure, the venue, the equipment, the necessities for the event," he said.\nEvent finalists will get a chance to participate in regional competitions, and if they advance, in a spot on nationally televised MC battle in Los Angeles, where the winners will be put onto a professional record label's compilation CD.\nRunners-up Halfblown and G.C. of Danagas also received trophies and recognition from The talent was not limited to the competition only, as Halfblown freestyled on the street and G.C. showed his skills on the saxophone as he jammed with Danagas, one of the featured acts.\nAxxis, a group based in Virginia, came to the event and performed some spoken word. The group, about to go on its own tour, traveled last year with the Dave Matthews Band.\n"It's cool. I think hip-hop is the biggest force in the music today. People are beginning to focus on more than just gangsta rap." Alex Schin from Axxis said.\nVictor Lopez, also with said, "I'm more into this than the whole competition part."\nThe crowd kept going and as the energy of the performers increased, so did the energy of their fans, even as the night turned to morning. \nHip-hop fan Danica Cornelius, a sophomore, said she thinks the Hip-Hop Congress deserves the University's support.\n"I think that the University should strongly support Hip-Hop Congress and the events they put on, and support all the students involved because it is clear they put a lot of time into it," she said.\n"This is what hip-hop music is all about. It's all positive. Spread the love. One love. Peace." Danagas ended its part by saying to its fans, "Before we go we need one more thing, everyone get up on the stage as if this is a party."\nIt did. It was.\n"I think there's a lot of positivity and the 'Awareness Festival' earlier today was a positive event also," Fruchter explained. "This is just a great event for people to come together."\nTo find out more, visit Hip-Hop Congress online at, and Read Monday's IDS to learn more about Holistic Experience.

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