If hip hop is synonymous to you with a way of life, you may have a new hangout on Wednesday nights.
The Hip Hop Club, which will hold its first meeting today at 5 p.m. in North Hall, Room 1006, was created by Elliot Gann, a senior psychology major. After four years of bad rap and radio music being pounded into his head on Del Playa Drive, Gann said he was ready to take action – and that action came in the form of a club.
“[The club was inspired by] my love for hip hop and dissatisfaction with the music I’ve heard on DP – the generic MTV music that people are spoon-fed. There are a lot of underground hip hop heads here anyway,” Gann said.
The club is essentially a forum for hip hop performers and fans and is primarily intended to bring together a community of people who share the same passion as Gann. It will also sponsor everything from films to MC competitions to hip hop shows in the area and will focus on outreach in the Santa Barbara area.
“In terms of what our goals are, we have three. First, to educate the general public about hip hop culture and address the misconceptions people have about hip hop. Second, to put on events on and off campus – parties and cultural things,” Gann said. “Third, for outreach, we’re going to go to the Boys and Girls Club. Last year, I was at Hollister and El Camino Elementary Schools and I brought in a live performance. The kids really liked it and asked me to come back.”
Gann said the club will work to represent the good aspects of hip hop in the community.
“We want to put on after-school activities, educate them about hip hop culture. People are easily persuaded by the radio. I think hip hop is grossly misrepresented,” he said.
The first events will include two film screenings next week: “Best of Scribble Jam” and “La Haine.” “Scribble Jam” will be shown on Feb. 5 in Buchanan Hall, Room 1920, for no charge.
“‘Best of Scribble Jam’ shows Eminem battling. There’s MCs, DJs and break dancing. The other one is ‘La Haine’ – the Hate – which is about three guys in the ghetto in Paris. … It deals with bigotry and police brutality, and there’s a lot of hip hop in it,” Gann said.
At the end of February, the club will also co-sponsor, along with the sorority Zeta Phi Beta, an MC battle on campus.
“If we can bring the prize money up, we could probably get people to come up from L.A. or hypothetically come down from the Bay Area,” Gann said.
Gann has raised about $350 in the past week from on-campus sources, including the Office of Student Affairs, which gave the club a $150 grant for the films. The Student Coalition on Racial Equality has matched that contribution, and San Nicolas Residence Hall also donated $50.
Gann hopes that as people become interested, they will also help him raise funds.
“I just really want people to show up for [today’s] meeting and get involved – people who want to see more events on campus, so they can see more hip hop shows on campus, even on DP,” he said. “The screenings are going to be expensive, so I need people to help with fund raising. … We’ll probably have about a $10 membership fee and have people come to at least three meetings, help with an event or tabling.”
The club is meant to promote a positive image of not just the music, but the entire culture of hip hop, a culture, according to Gann, that is often misunderstood, even by people who enjoy the music.
“People don’t really realize hip hop is a culture, which has four elements: b-boying, which is break dancing, MCing, or ‘rapping,’ DJing … and the last is graffiti. I think now it’s more common to have DJs again. Some of the stuff on the radio, like Puff Daddy, didn’t even have turntables. … The foundation of hip hop is the DJ,” he said. “[In Santa Barbara] there’s definitely an audience, there’s definitely hip hop fans, and one of our goals is to get all the people who have common interests together.”