The second day of the Core DJ Retreat was largely dominated by panels and showcases, including a very well-attended radio panel that included Memphis’ legendary radio promoter Lester Pace, formerly of Interscope Records. After the radio panel was a showcase sponsored by VirDiko Music Promotion and hosted by veteran DJ Bigga Rankin from Jacksonville. Among the industry stars I ran into around the hotel were Shreveport/Dallas DJ Hollyhood Bay Bay and the artist Hurricane Chris.
After the opening night showcase, the attendees at the Core DJ Retreat headed over to Freelon’s, which is Jackson’s premiere hip-hop night club, for an opening night party that proved to be much more. Although the event wasn’t promoted as a show, a few rappers showed up and performed, including Big K.R.I.T. and Memphis-based CMG recording artist Snootie Wild. I have to add that Freelon’s is without a doubt one of the largest nightclubs in the South.
Twice a year, The Core DJ Coalition meets somewhere in America, at events called retreats. The Core is the largest urban DJ coalition in America, and these conventions are usually held in the capitals of America’s entertainment industry- Atlanta, Miami Beach, Las Vegas, etc. So it was something of a shock when it was announced that this fall’s Core DJ Retreat would be held in Jackson, Mississippi. Although Jackson has always had a wealth of rap talent and a unique and different rap vibe, the city has not usually been associated with the music business in any regular sense. But this year’s Core retreat coincided with a recent flowering of the arts in Jackson, exemplified by the growth of the Fondren neighborhood and the Midtown Arts District, and the retreat, held at the Marriott Hotel downtown, cast a spotlight on Mississippi artists and DJ’s in particular. The evening showcase after registration was hosted by my homeboy Sess 4-5 from New Orleans, the rapper, record store owner and activist, and I was quite impressed with a group of his homeboys from the 9th Ward, the Cain Gang who were among the performers on stage Friday night. After the showcase, everyone headed a few blocks over to Freelon’s for a party.