With a wide range of quality recordings, the hip-hop scene in North Texas continues to evolve. But fully local live hip-hop shows are rarely performed for more than 100 people. Slowly but surely, though, we're seeing more of these shows in larger local venues. A bill headlined by Dallas rapper Raw Elementz at Trees on Feb. 6 will showcase local talent in a room typically reserved for touring acts.
Over the past year, a few shows at Deep Ellum venue Trees have exclusively showcased local hip-hop, most notably Bobby Sessions' album-release show in November. Raw Elementz has played large venues as an opener, but this is easily the largest-capacity space he has tried to fill as a headliner.
Raw Elementz, a.k.a Nick Whitener, sees a real need for larger shows that focus on local talent.
"There's lots of stuff going on in Dallas, but not for Dallas," he says. He also sees bigger local shows as a way of keeping artists from leaving Dallas to make it elsewhere. "People need to be doing things for the city inside the city to help this scene blossom."
Lord Byron, for example, is on the bill. The local hip-hop artist has recorded, created buzz and garnered plenty of good press. But he isn't known for being a big draw yet.
"I've been focusing on my art," Lord Byron, a.k.a Byron Neal, says. But he sees the potential for local hip-hop solidarity at this Feb. 6. show.
"I've never done a show like this," he says. "The lineup is incredible, and everyone has their own fan base. It's going to work."
Raw Elementz, too, says he hopes that getting all the acts together will give each "the potential to blow up," and that if the show is successful, it will pave the way for similar events. He's been promoting it relentlessly, and before the show, he plans to record a cypher (rap done freestyle in a group setting) with all of the artists on the bill, and release it.
Gavin Mulloy, marketing director of Trees, says he wants to bring more local acts to his Deep Ellum stage, and hip-hop is a priority. "Hip-hop happens to be the genre that's making the most waves right now," he says. "Let's show everybody what we can do here and then do it a bunch more."
Power 4 the Locals featuring Raw Elementz, Jarvis Hodges, Devy Stonez, Young Streets, Mga-Czar and Lord Byron will be Feb. 6 at 8 p.m. at Trees, 2709 Elm St., Dallas. $15-$20. treesdallas.com.
By Jeremy Hallock, Special Contributor