The crowd’s diversity, consisting of locals and college students, mixed well with various types of underground hip-hop acts. The acts included break dancers and graffiti artists who gathered at the “Naked Hip Hop…Stripped Down to its Essence” event in the low-lit Club 923.
The event was established to demonstrate what real hip hop is all about, rather than just to push out another aspiring mainstream act looking to make money rather than performing for the love of it. However, some of those who are passionate about the industry weren’t the people on stage performing. Instead, they were busy running the event.
Sophomore Christopher Anderson and senior Jeff Robertson, both Temple students coordinated the event that attracted hip-hop lovers around the city.
While many college students are busy juggling between school, work and activities, Robertson and Anderson go beyond an average student’s schedule. They combine school, work and activities with their passion for music.
Anderson, a public relations major and manager of Outer Orbit Productions, hosted previous events in Lancaster and York but said it was his first time hosting one in Philadelphia as well as hosting it with Robertson, a business legal studies major.
He mentioned the difference between hosting in Philly compared to hosting in smaller towns.
“Promotion is much easier here,” Anderson said. “There is a lot more people, a stronger music scene, and more people to reach out to.”
Unlike many rappers aspiring to be successful in the hip-hop industry, Robertson and Anderson see success determined more by dedication and love for their job rather than it being all about the Benjamins.
“I wanted to do it as a career,” Anderson said. “In the long-run, I’m going to run a label. I don’t see any time to wait [to get into the industry]. I’m taking steps talking to people and being more proficient and eventually do shows and tours as a stepping stone to running a label.”
Robertson, who has a busy schedule with seven classes, working two jobs and managing his Renaissance marketing group, said he has a “crazy work ethic and a crazy love of hip hop” as reason for him staying in the industry.
“For me it’s music, production, all of it [music industry],” Robertson said. “I want to be a part of it.”
Both met at an RGB meeting, an organization of campus film collectives, where Anderson overheard Robertson talking to a friend about the music industry. During this meeting he spoke to Robertson and both realized they had much in common.
“I see his passion, I see his desire,” Robertson said. “I want to help him out.”
Anderson decided to work with Robertson based on “following what he is passionate about.”
Andrew Yeager of Lancaster and one of the musicians from an improv band that didn’t have a name performed at a previous event Anderson held.
“I knew Chris [Anderson] from doing shows,” Yeager said. “I was introduced by Chris through DJ Imagine [DJ of the Naked Hip Hop event].”
One of the rappers of the underground crew, Tangled Thoughts, said he found out about the event through Robertson.
“I heard of the event through Jeff [Robertson] networking the media,” said rapper of Life of Tangled Thoughts. “Jeff had something to do [with the event].”
Classmate and junior Bryan Forbes was among those who helped Anderson organize the event. He described the hard work and time both dedicated towards running their production company.
“I just told Chris, anything he needs, if I have time for it I’m there,” Forbes said. “Any free time we have we put toward it. He’s [Anderson] a busy young man.”
Anderson said he originally “got involved in doing shows” largely because his brother was in a band and “at 16 [years old]…I based it on my passion for music.”
Robertson was a producer for Renaissance since he was 14 years old.
Naked Hip Hop may not be the big payoff for both students, but it is a stepping stone and learning experience for the duo’s bigger aspirations in the long-term.
“If they get into marketing they have to love it,” said Robertson, who offered advice for anyone wanting to get into the music industry. “People have told me I couldn’t do it. You have to have a passion for art and a business sense. You need to know it.”
Robertson may have much knowledge about the industry but feels he needs to hone his business skills if he wants to run a successful company. “I like it but I need to take businesses classes,” Robertson explained.
Alan Gung can be reached at email@example.com.