Big Boi, Rapsody, Sa-Roc, and The Soul Council will headline new Hip Hop South Festival in Chapel Hill

By Tyler Bunzey

March 12, 2022 (updated)

Carolina Performing Arts announced an exciting new hip-hop festival coming to the Triangle in April. The Hip Hop South Festival boasts an impressive lineup of hip-hop heavyweights over the course of two days (April 22-23) performing at iconic venues like Cat’s Cradle and historic Memorial Hall.  

The Soul Council will host a beat battle at Hip Hop South Festival in Chapel Hill. Courtesy

On Friday night, attendees will be treated to a performance from 2020 BET Lyricist of the Year and North Carolina native, Rapsody. On Saturday, Sa-Roc, a well-respected emcee who’s collaborated with the likes of Black Thought and Styles P, will open up for Big Boi, half of the iconic multi-platinum selling duo, Outkast. For a Saturday nightcap, participants will hear a beat battle hosted by North Carolina hip-hop production group The Soul Council. In addition, the festival will feature Durham’s multi-talented Shirlette Ammons, and hip-hop collectives Carolina Waves and Radio Rehab. 

Big Boi of Outkast will perform on Saturday, April 23 at Memorial Hall for Hip Hop South Festival. Courtesy

The Hip Hop South Festival is co-curated by two critically acclaimed hip-hop educators. Dasan Ahanu is a multi-hyphenate creative and educator who has collaborated on hip-hop festivals like Durham’s Art of Cool festival and Beats n Bars. Ahanu is joined by Dr. Regina N. Bradley, an associate professor of English and African Diaspora Studies at Kennesaw State University. Dr. Bradley is one of the foremost authorities on Southern hip-hop and is best-known for her podcast, Bottom of the Map, and trailblazing book, Chronicling Stankonia: The Rise of the Hip-Hop South

“The Hip Hop South Festival creates space for deeper exploration and appreciation of hip hop’s geographical influence by focusing on the development and impact of the culture across the South,” said Ahanu in the press release. 

Grammy-nominated rapper Rapsody will perform Friday, April 22 at Cat’s Cradle. Courtesy

The festival will also highlight the significance of its eminent Southern artists with an exhibit open to the public, curated by Dr. Bradley at the CURRENT Artspace on Friday and Saturday night. The exhibit, entitled Dirty South Scribes, will showcase Southern writers whose groundbreaking works helped put the serially underappreciated Southern hip-hop scene on the map. 

Leading up to the weekend, Hip Hop South Festival will also host a virtual event with Jason Mayden, a former Jordan Brand exec who is now the President of Jerry Lorenzo’s Fear of God Athletics. Mayden will be the featured speaker for a live stream discussion on hip-hop’s sneaker culture, Kicks & Colorways: A Conversation About Sneaker Culture and Sneaker Design, on Wednesday, April 20. 

The event will be a welcome showcase of hip-hop artists and organizations from the region who have continually challenged and redefined the status quo. 

Hip Hop South Festival will take place April 22-23 in Chapel Hill and Carrboro. Learn more from the Carolina Performing Arts website

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