"It was an organic conversation," said Kenny Reeves.
It was also one they wanted to share. And so Hip Hop Book Club began. The monthly event features a discussion of a chosen body of work from a hip-hop artist. It kicked off in March with a discussion about Kendrick Lamar's Good Kid M.A.A.D. City, with more than 50 people in attendance, "on a Monday night."
It's the old-fashioned book club, set to a beat. And a safe space to filter feelings about what can sometimes be seen as a contentious a piece of art.
The group had its "ups and downs deciding on a venue," said Attah Essien. But they settled on Josey Records to get the feel right.
"That's what we're here for, to uplift this city's appreciation of hip-hop."
Our freewheeling discussion touched on everything from favorite rap lyric to choosing a venue to the "breathtaking" Reeves' choice of attire. Each group member tackles one aspect of the work: influence, visuals, lyrics, etc.
"It's interpretive," says Reeves. "That's the beauty of what we're doing."
The next event is April 24 at Josey Records, 2821 LBJ Freeway #100, Dallas. The group will discuss Jay-Z's Reasonable Doubt. Next, says Terrance Lee, "we want to take it to the whole world."
Everybody had feels about a lot of things, including the Dallas hip-hop scene (shout-out to Attah, h/t Sobe). We found a way to discuss Jay-Z, too, but there were five Stans in the room, so take it as you will.