While people associate Memphis rap with Juicy J, DJ Paul, Yo Gotti or Young Dolph, there is another Memphis rap scene that few people outside of the city ever see, the underground world of Memphis’ lyrical hip-hop artists. Memphis’ hip-hop artists work at a decided disadvantage in the city, with limited awareness and budget, and with many of their fans being other hip-hop artists working in the same subgenre, but they often stage their own events to promote themselves and further their craft. I had seen something on Facebook about a Memphis hip-hop showcase at a place called The Hub on E. H. Crump and Lauderdale in South Memphis, so I decided to head down there on Saturday night to check it out. The Hub is located in the former Cuoghi’s Grocery building on the south side of Crump at Lauderdale, and is a comfortable lounge with a stage for spoken word, hip-hop and occasional live music performances. The event on this night was a birthday celebration for notable Memphis producer Kingpin Da Composer, and featured performances by a number of Memphis’ best hip-hop artists including Pyu, Martian Man and Virghost Memphiasco, who recently released his newest album Summer In September.
On this particular evening, there was also an R & B singer, and as a result, a live band, featuring my homeboy Antonio Motley on drums. The overall quality of the performances was first-rate throughout and the event didn’t end until nearly 2 AM. Its sponsor, Liberated Audio is an online radio station that features many of the performers who appeared on the event.