Sitting on a street around the corner from Garfield Park is a space dedicated to providing a platform for the artistic expression of underground creatives, supplying vibrant and genuine experiences to the Indianapolis community and welcoming the marginalized and the underrepresented. It goes by the name of Listen Hear and it is a project of, Big Car, an arts and place-making non-profit founded in 2004 by Jim Walker and Shauta Marsh.
For several years Listen Hear has hosted a variety of events from art listening parties to workshops and from Friday July 5th to the 19th the space will be celebrating and telling the story of an underground counter culture, the Indy Hip Hop scene. Curated and led by producer, photographer and visionary Keith WildStyle Paschall, this multi media event will consist of a collection of photo and video documentation of the evolution of Indy Hip Hop and a Hip Hop cypher.
PATTERN had the opportunity to hear the inspiration and creative process behind this public exhibition from WildStyle himself.
Khaila King: What was the inspiration behind this event and what do you think makes this event unique from other events in Indy?
WildStyle Paschall: I think the story-telling is different. I don’t think we take a critical look at Hip Hop in Indianapolis and I think even from a national perspective it’s always very commercialized. Things aren’t authentic and in this exhibit things are going to be a lot more authentic. You’re going to see people that aren’t doing it for the money, because almost none of them are getting paid very much. None of them are living off what they’re doing in Hip Hop. They do it for the passion. Some of the pictures I have, one particular artist has his 3 or 4 year old son on stage with him at a big event. It’s a different type of atmosphere at a local level before the money gets there on “who’s doing what and why they’re doing it.” It’s a lot. You know it’s passionate, you know people are doing it for the love of it.
KK: What will this event consist of?
WP: It’s a multimedia event, so I have videos that I have put together over the years that capture what’s going on in the Hip Hop scene and we’re also having a Hip Hop cypher. There are certain people that I invited and definitely want up there to rap, but in general it’s going to be where anybody that comes can probably get up there on that mic and do something.
KK: How do you decide who would be best for performing/ciphering?
WP: I think it’s a combination of different people. There’s a few people that I think are really dope, but for whatever reason they don’t seem to get the attention. I’m trying to give them some attention, but also including other people that are well known in the city. That way those people who might just come to the event for one group of people will get to see some of the other people as well.
KK: How do you think this event will contribute to Indy Hip Hop and Hip Hop Culture?
WP: I think it helps expose it to a wider audience. Right now as much as we try, it’s not generally known to everybody. Unfortunately some of the ways that people are introduced to Indianapolis Hip Hop is somebody selling a CD at a gas station, which is usually not the best way to get introduced to it. I have a Create Indy grant and I’m working on a website and a playlist that will also be up by the time that the exhibit goes up so that people can go to the website and pick out different styles of Hip Hop and see that flavor kind of carried out with local artists and not just national artists.
KK: What is your definition of culture? What is your definition of Hip Hop Culture?
WP: Right now the culture is the community itself. Many of the artists here have friends within the hip hop scene that they trust with their kids. In fact one artist, I have a picture of his son crowd surfing. The kid was only like 3 or 4, but the artist’s friends were holding him up and making sure everything was okay. The culture is that people create together, they have events together and chase their dreams together. It’s a distinct in that it isn’t driven by money yet, for good and bad. I think we would like more investment and for somebody make it a viable business, but right now the culture is the community itself.
KK: Will you put this event on again?
WP: I would hope for it to become annual and to do it again next year. We just haven’t gotten there yet.
KK: How long did it take to plan and what did the process consist of? Any challenges or surprises?
WP: The planning has been haphazard and it’s still ongoing. The biggest challenge for me has been curating the images. I literally have thousands of pictures of the Indianapolis Hip Hop scene and trying to figure out how to best tell the story and also the best pictures to use are, is not always one and the same. I have some great pictures, but they don’t always tell the stories that are most interesting or as provocative as I’d like them to be.
KK: Why do you think this event is worth attending?
WP: Because it’s a really great way to tap into an underground culture. For the most part, you’re not going to see these performers at Banker’s Life Fieldhouse or the Klipsch Center. You’re not going to see them in the mainstream. Even if you don’t get a chance to attend a local Hip Hop show here, there’s going to be pictures of it and you get to experience a little piece of what is more or less an underground counter culture.
KK: In four words or one phrase describe what you believe this event will be?
WP: Inspirational, informative, passionate, and hopeful. I think definitely hopeful, because its almost everybody’s dream, even if you’re not trying to be rich and famous, it’s a dream of these artists to get their music out further than what it is now.