Since the mid-1990s, Portland has had a small but vibrant hip-hop scene. Over the years, though, it’s suffered from fragmentation and what some say is a lack of institutional support compared to other big cities.
That may be changing, according to artists who say the local movement is undergoing a renaissance. Hip-hop veterans such as Cool Nutz, who co-founded the Portland Oregon Hip-Hop Festival (POH-Hop), and rapper Mic Crenshaw are among those working to unite the different subgenres, like gangsta and underground. In recent months, Cool Nutz has launched a hip-hop radio show and a concert series. He considers himself “an ambassador and diplomat” for Northwest urban music.
One young artist attracting attention is Luck-One Conscious, a 24-year MC who just released Beautiful Music, his first album. Luck-One is part of Portland’s so-called consciousness hip-hop movement. A devout Muslim, Luck-One says Islam is at the “centerpiece” of everything he does.
Cool Nutz and Luck-One will be coming into the studio to give us their takes on where the local hip-hop scene is headed. We’ll also check in with Portland Mercury music critic Graham Barey and Adrienne Flagg, creative director of the Interstate Firehouse Cultural Center, which is staging a hip-hop cabaret this weekend aimed at highlighting hip-hop from rap to graffiti.
Are you a hip-hop artist, producer or afficionado living in Oregon or the Northwest? What’s new and exciting about the local scene? What sets it apart? Where is it heading? What are the challenges unique to hip-hop in this area?
- Cool Nutz: Co-founder of POH-Hop, hip hop artist and radio host with his own label, Jus Family Records
- Luck-One Conscious: MC/rapper who recently released his first album
- Graham Barey: music critic for the Portland Mercury
- Adrienne Flagg: Creative director for the Interstate Firehouse Cultural Center