The Source Magazine
and the U.S. Army have teamed up together to create “The Source Campus
Combat – Ultimate MC Battle Tour 2003.” This tour, featuring headlining
performance artists such as Memphis Bleek, Nappy Roots and Black Moon, is both
a usual and unusual event.
It is usual in
the sense that it allows college students the opportunity to come out and watch
their favorite artists perform, as well as compete in an “ultimate MC battle”
to be featured as The Source Magazine’s next “Unsigned Hype.”
However, what makes
this tour “unusual” is that it also gives students the opportunity
to do something you would not normally do at a Hip Hop event – register for
the U.S. Army.
You must be asking
yourself, “Why would the U.S. Army and The Source Magazine team up?”
Well, here’s the deal. U.S. Army representatives say that the number of
African-Americans enlisted in the U.S. Army is decreasing. This lack of African-American
representation appears to be a major concern. Therefore, the U.S. Army is looking
to recruit more African-Americans into its service.
By combining the
two entities, it gives each one the opportunity to attract its intended targeted
audience. U.S. Army Senior Project Manager Lincoln Parker states, “We are
organically integrating the U.S. Army message into Hip Hop culture, to effectively
communicate the benefits and values of an army experience to a targeted audience.”
Some of those “benefits
and values” Parker speaks of are education, lifestyle and health benefits,
career opportunities and enlistment incentives. According to Parker, “The
U.S. Army feels there goal is to assist African-Americans in developing productive
opportunities for better direction in their lives…As compared to a college
or trade school, the U.S. Army presents opportunities for development, education
Many of the artists
and participants in the event agreed to all the great benefits the U.S. Army
can provide its soldiers. As participants of “Project Salute 2003”
(i.e., a tour that paid tribute to the U.S. Coalition and Armed forces) Atlantic
recording artists Nappy Roots are definitely no strangers when it comes to supporting
the U.S. Troops. Having toured and visited such cities around the world like
Kuwait and Baghdad, Nappy Roots have a very universal outlook on the impact
Hip Hop culture has had on the U.S., its Army and the world.
When asked their
feelings about The Source/U.S. Army collaboration, Nappy Roots responded, “Music
is growing for all of us…the world is based around a beat/a tempo of situations…it
shows growth and development across the board about where we are going with
this Hip Hop culture.” Of course, there is always a flip side to this issue.
Although all of the artists mentioned shared their support for the troops, many
agreed that the down side to joining the U.S. Army is the possibility of a soldier
having to go to war.
When asked his
thoughts on the U.S. Army/Source Magazine collaboration, Roc-A-Fella recording
artist Memphis Bleek responded, “It’s a double edged sword here…Soldiers
get paid minimum wage…And they go out there and risk their lives on the
line. However, there’s a lot of kids who don’t have education in the
Hip Hop community, and if [the army] is going to take those kids and put them
through school to get an education, then yeah, I’m all for it.” Duckdown
recording artists Black Moon stated, “It was positive that [the U.S. Army]
put itself in a situation where they thought about Boot Camp (Black Moon’s
affiliation). The army participating in Hip Hop is a good thing, plus it gives
us the opportunity for exposure…As long as they are supportive of themselves
and of Hip Hop, then we give love to them.”
While the U.S.
Army was preoccupied with enlisting new recruits, The Source Magazine was busy
enlisting participants in its “Ultimate MC Battle.” Between artists’
performances, talented, yet unknown Hip Hop artists got the chance to battle
one another for 60 seconds, while the crowd and judges watched on to find out
and determine who would be the last emcee standing.
Laura Houser, the
participant otherwise known as “Emcee Miss Me” held it down as the
only female in the competition. Surprisingly, she said that this was the first
time she had ever rapped her lyrics “out loud to an audience.” When
asked if she was nervous, she replied, “Yeah, I’m just trying to keep
a free state of mind and let my work flow out.” She battled it out to the
final round against her male competitors “Seezmics,” “Poly Rock”
and “K – Cromozone.” However, the determined winner in the end was
none other than Cole Policy, known to his audience as Emcee “Seezmics,”
of the hip hop group “The Educated Consumers.” The crowd determined
his win as he pulled more “Oohs” and “Ahs” from the audience.
When asked how
he felt about his win, he said, “I’ve been rhyming for nine years,
and I’ve been in a couple hundred battles, so, I don’t get nervous.
I never think I’m gonna do poorly. So, if a person beats me, then it happens,
but that didn’t happen today.”
Source Campus Combat – Ultimate MC Battle Tour 2003” held at University
of Maryland proved to be a positive event. All of the artists who performed
that night gave their fans a great show, and, of course, they each got the opportunity
to promote their latest and/or upcoming albums.
Memphis Bleek has
a new album coming out December 16th, entitled, “M.A.D.E.,” which
is an acronym that stands for “Money Attitude Direction Education.”
Black Moon’s new album “Total Eclipse” is out now. The final
performance of the evening, was given by Nappy Roots, whose latest album is
entitled “Wooden Leather.” The tour gives unknown talent the opportunity
to be featured in The Source Magazine’s legendary “Unsigned Hype”
column. It allows African-American/Urban youth the opportunity to learn about
the benefits and values the U.S. Army could possibly provide them with. Finally,
it provided college students with good entertainment and fun.