Universities explore local hip-hop culture
A conference on the history and effects of DJ Screw and Houston hip-hop will take over the University Center Houston Room from 10:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. on March 28, but you need to register by Friday if you want to hear rappers Chingo Bling, Paul Wall and others during the panels.
“Awready!: The Houston Hip-Hop Conference” is a collaboration between the University of Houston Libraries, the Houston Enriches Rice Education Project, the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts and the UH College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences African American Studies program.
A component of the conference is “A Screwed Up History,” an all-day series of panels. Featured rappers include Bling and Wall along with E.S.G., K-Rino, Lil Keke, Willie D and Z-Ro.
Julie Grob, coordinator of Digital Projects and Instruction for UH Libraries Special Collections, is the curator of the hip-hop collection created two years ago.
“This is really a kick-off for the collection, so this is a one-time-only opportunity,” Grob said.
“As a library, holding a conference isn’t a main part of our mission, so it’s something special we’re doing to let people know about the collection and to try to kick off more interest and research in the collection and in the collection that Rice is developing too.”
People in the hip-hop community are really excited about the conference, she said. People from across Texas and the nation are coming in for the conference.
Many local and national rappers have been really receptive to the conference for a couple of reasons, Grob said.
“For one, they like having their work valued and seeing it in an academic context, but also I think because the conference is very focused on DJ Screw and he was a really well-loved figure in the Houston hip-hop scene,” Grob said.
“I think a lot of people have come forward because it honors Screw’s work and his influence.”
Grob said the conference aims to look at the context of a lot of local hip-hop. It will also provide the featured artists a more in-depth chance to talk about their careers — how their music evolved and how Houston itself affected them.
“The conference is a way to bring the universities and the general public together to explore the topic and learn from each other,” Grob said.
The conference begins Tuesday with an opening reception at Betz Gallery, at 1208 W. Gray St., which will feature the “Graffiti, B-Boy and B-Girl Exhibition.”
The “2012 College DJ Battle,” which aims to honor the legacy of DJ Screw, will close the conference from 8 to 11 p.m. in the Grand Hall of Rice University, 6100 Main St.
Registration is free and open to the public and a lunch is included.
To register for the conference, visit www.lws.lib.uh.edu/hiphop/djscrew/registration/index.html.
Registration for the conference closes Friday.
For more information on the conference, visit www.lws.lib.uh.edu/hiphop/.