Contrary to popular belief, hip-hop culture has grown exponentially in the tri-city area over the past few years. From the fields of Elmira to the suburbs of Cambridge, youth across the region are familiarizing themselves with a culture that’s not often found in their backyards.
However, even with emerging talent and growing interest, there are few avenues for youth to express their passion competitively. Cambridge’s Candy FunHouse hopes to change that.
On June 14th Cambridge’s pioneer candy emporium, in association with the Argus Residence for Young People, is playing host to the first Hip-Hop Candy Fest and putting on a youth hip-hop concert at Preston Towne Centre.
Aspiring emcees, 16 and under had the opportunity to audition for the concert on May 24th at Candy FunHouse. In order to move forward in the competition, contestants needed more than just skill – they needed passion.
The finalists will have the chance to perform at the June 14 festival. They will be judged on criteria determined by local, established hip-hop artists. In addition to performing an original composition, they will perform alongside these established hip-hoppers, who will also be kicking a rhyme or two. The winner of the fest will be awarded $250 and $1000 worth of recording time at Brixton Music.
So why is this festival so important to the region’s youth? It’s simple. Aspiring artists get to push their creativity and love for the genre further than just the confines of their bedrooms. An additional a hip-hop festival like this can show residents that rap can be pursued close to home and it has a place in our community. Giving young people the chance to perform in front of an audience including family, friends, and veteran emcees can give them the support they need to follow their rhyme-slinging dreams.
Candy FunHouse and the Argus Residence for Young People are showing how easy it can be for hip-hop to have a slice of Waterloo Region’s cultural pie, while promoting partnerships that give new and creative opportunities to young people.
With community backing youthful passion, the sky is the limit. However, until then, make sure to check out the Hip Hop Candy Fest on Saturday, June 14, from 11am-6pm at Preston Towne Centre.