Hip-Hop on the Hilltop features student artists, builds community

Hip-hop is more than just music. It is a culture of voices, voices that all have something important to relate. Tackling subjects ranging from racial inequality to drug abuse, hip-hop has always been on the forefront of innovation. Hip-Hop on the Hilltop showcased local talents that all had messages to convey and relate, many of which were St. Edward’s University students.

The Oct. 2 event was a joint effort between the Multicultural Leadership Board and the University Programming Board. It was also a learning experience, as attendees had to take a quiz on the displays that were up about prominent figures in hip-hop such as Tupac, Russell Simmons and Macklemore in order to receive free Cabo Bob’s and Amy’s Ice Cream.

“Having to take the quiz definitely made sure we discovered new things. I learned interesting facts about artists that I definitely did not know before,” sophomore Jordan O’Connor said.

Kato Dox, a native of Dallas, Texas, was the first to perform. His music had a very positive message, singing about meeting a nice girl at a party and making a great connection. Another song he performed featured heavier material and offered a commentary on current social issues. After Kato Dox performed, two spoken word poets came on stage.

The first was Ryan Mattingly, a sophomore theater major here at St. Edward’s. He described the difficulties of growing up and not knowing what to do. One of his poems was titled “Passion” and was a call to action to do anything, anything at all, as long as it was with zest. The importance and inspiration behind his performance was like that of many hip-hop artists disenchanted in a world so overwhelming.

“It’s hard and hectic with so many ideas floating around. It’s important to express yourself with whatever ideas you can come up with,” Mattingly said.

Mattingly described his experience at the event as “an enlightening experience, full of energy but relaxing, too.”

There was a general sense of community as people came to appreciate the deeper messages of hip-hop and the spoken word. Julian Capado, a senior and another poet who performed, brought about a feeling of nostalgia with his poems, who he dedicated to his mother. He talked about growing up and the different pairs of shoes he grew into and how his mother was there to support him each step of the way. Another poem talked about the day his grandmother died, and he described seeing his mother sad, but appreciating all his mother had done for him and how he could understand her pain.

The last group of the night was Magna Carda. The group is comprised of Megz Kelli (Meagan Tillman), Dougie Do (Chris Beale), Eric Nikolaides, Quentin Walker and Joe Layton. Magna Carda stole the show and got the crowd going. Members of the group are also students here at St. Edward’s.

Also featured at the event were an ice sculpture of headphones by Doug Christy of Amazing Ice Designs and a raffle for ACL passes. The event was a wonderful experience as under the Austin sky, everyone got a taste of hip-hop and shared positive vibes.