Archive for March, 2011

The Hip Hop Culture Center in Harlem announces Rapathon 5!The Rapathon is back celebrating it’s fifth anniversery! Five years long, five years strong this will be the best one yet. We’re currently looking for the Best of the Best Emcees’ to participate in this years event. So if you think you’re Rap-A-Thon material, auditions will be held on the following dates:

May 3rd 6:30-8;30PM
May 10th 6:30-8:30PM
May 12th 6:30-8;30PM
May 14th 2:00-4:00PM
May 17th 6:30-8:30PM
May 19th 6:30-8:30PM

If you can spit fire for 90 seconds straight without cursing, you just might have what it takes! So if your a new Emcee or a true Emcee, maybe you can come out and make history as part of Rap-A-Thon 5. We’ll see you at the Center:

2309 Frederick Douglass Blvd.
(at the Magic Johnson Theater)
New York, NY 10027
(212) 234-7171

Spread the word! Blog it. Tweet it. Get it out there!

Bully, an Essay by Michael A. Gonzales

By MBullyichael A. Gonzales

It was the fall of 1972 when I transferred to St. Catherine of Genoa in Washington Heights. On the first day of class a bugged wild boy named Tom Lowe, a short cat skin the color of a Hershey bar and a perfect Afro, served as my one-man welcoming committee.

During lunch, somehow luring me into the doorway of the rectory, Tom proceeded to jump me. Throwing punches with the fierceness of Ali, he laughed as he kicked my ass. Confused by this sudden senseless violence, I weakly tried fighting back, but it was futile.

At nine years old, he already embodied the swagger of a young hustler. Years before Tupac or 50 Cent, he was the first dude I’d ever met who personified being ghetto.

Although that was the first and last time Tom beat me up, for the next four years I watched as he derived much pleasure from terrorizing both students and teachers. Whether it was stealing change from a classmate’s desk, passing a folded note full of snot or attacking someone without reason, Tom never tired of devising new ways of being devilish.

Ironically, like myself Tom was also an alter boy, helping Father Bob on Sunday mornings, various funerals or midnight mass. Not surprisingly, Tom was one of those kids who stole sips of communion wine and tried to intimidate other boys into doing the same.

Besides being a bully and a thief, a liar and a cheat, Tom’s only redeeming quality was a fierce passion for music. With taste that leaned towards songs about drinking, drugging and fighting.

One favorite was Jim Croce’s rowdy “Bad Bad Leroy Brown,” and the other was the funky wah-wah of Curtis Mayfield brilliant “Pusherman,” a song featured in the film Super Fly.

Although Curtis penned the words to serve as anti-drug anthem to balance the “cocaine commercial” of the film, it was obvious Tom thought the lyrics, “I’m your doctor when in need, have some coke, have some weed,” was supposed to be celebratory.

Banging out a beat on the desk or a parked car, he’d sing the song loud and proud as though he knew first hand of vices none of the other kids had ever been close to.

Not being a shrink, I had no idea why Tom behaved the way he did: maybe he had a big brother who worked for Harlem hood Guy Fisher, maybe he had a father who was doing time in Rikers. I do remember his mother, a soft-spoken frail woman who seemed as scared of her son as the rest us.

Years later, at a cocktail party inside an exquisite Striver’s Row brownstone, where Miles Davis’ beautiful Sketches of Spain played in the background and most of the chatter was cultural, I ran into a back in day female classmate from those long gone grammar school years.

“Do you remember Tom Lowe?” I asked her. “I sometimes wonder what happened to him?” Nodding her head, she replied simply, “Last I heard, he was sent to jail for a long time.”

Without missing a beat, I laughed so loud and for so long, folks thought I was choking. Composing myself after fifteen minutes, I finally said, “Why am I not surprised.”

Get Ready for Rapathon 5!

The Hip Hop Culture Center in Harlem announces Rapathon 5!It’s hard to believe that it’s been five years since the Hip Hop Culture Center birthed the 24-hour Annual Rapathon. When introduced to the masses back in May 2006, this historic event took the Hip Hop world (particularly the underground) by storm!

Comprised of the some of the best lyrical emcees in the Tri-State area, the Rapathon has proven to be one of Hip Hop’s must see events of the year.

Not only do we celebrate the culture of Hip Hop through positive non-stop freestyle, we share a camaraderie that lasts far beyond the famous Rapathon countdown.

The Hip Hop Culture Center is honored and thrilled to announce that we will be hosting the 5th Annual Rapathon; Saturday, May 21st 2011 through Sunday, May 22nd 2011.

H2C2 has managed to feature over 150+ rappers, 30+ DJs, beat boxers, and musicians from all over the world. This year will be no different from any other, expect an additional hour on the clock totaling 28 hours of straight Hip Hop! We will hold 4 to 6 open auditions at our venue for those interested in performing. To take part in this staple event you must be able to rhyme for 90 seconds straight without cursing, commit to the show, and interact well with others. Just show up with an undeniable rhyme and you might be the next emcee to grace the famous Rapathon stage. Be prepared for an unforgettable experience because H2C2 has a lot in store. For more info stay tuned to our website

H2C2 not only provides exclusive shows for the community but also prides itself on its educational involvement. Using Hip Hop as an instrument to educate the youth the Hip Hop Culture Center offers a program called Edutainment. This workshop combines the latest Hip Hop tunes with academics covering subjects from Civil Rights to Financial Literacy.

We are located at 2309 Frederick Douglass Blvd., 2nd Floor of the Magic Johnson Theater in the heart of Harlem, along 125th Street shopping district. We are accessible by A, B, C, D, 2 and 3 trains. For more information pertaining to the 5th Annual Rapathon, please contact us at 212-234-7171 or