Longstanding hip-hop event promotes ‘family’

Rappers, dancers and other artists came together to celebrate hip-hop culture and music.

On Thursday, rappers, dancers and other artists came together at The Rotunda on 40th and Walnut streets in West Philadelphia for The Gathering, a collective celebrating hip-hop culture and music.

Established in 1996, The Gathering draws people of all ages to its events, taking place nearly every last Thursday of the month. Live DJs spun hip-hop music while crowd participants joined in ciphas, or informal gatherings of rappers, beatboxers and breakdancers jamming together.

“Not everybody is a great freestyler, but it is a strong discipline to have as a hip-hop artist,” said Andrew “Draco” Schulman, 33, a recording artist and radio host from Ardmore, Pennsylvania.

The Gathering ran from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m., featuring hip-hop sets from DJ Foxx Boogie. Breakdancers surrounded the center of floor in a cipha, showcasing their skills and jamming to the beat of the music.

Co-host Henry “Highz” Thomas, 28, who lives on Front Street and Greenway Avenue, emphasized the sense of community found among the people who attend The Gathering.

“Every time we come here, we’re all family,” Thomas said. “We’re here to create happiness.”

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