Nebraska may not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of hip-hop, but the Cornhusker State has a rich and vibrant hip-hop culture. From the early beginnings of hip-hop in the state to the rise of local talent and the influential hip-hop groups that emerged, this article will not only highlight the prominent Nebraska rappers but also showcase the current hip-hop scene and the future of Nebraska hip-hop.
The history of hip-hop in Nebraska
Early beginnings and influences
Hip-hop arrived in Nebraska in the 1980s, with breakdance crews and DJs playing at block parties and local clubs. The influence of national hip-hop began to grow in the state’s urban areas, primarily in Omaha and Lincoln.
However, it wasn’t until the early 1990s when local artists began to emerge, creating an identity unique to Nebraska hip-hop. The artists blended the styles of the East and West Coasts of America while bringing their Midwestern flair.
As hip-hop grew in popularity across the nation, Nebraska began to develop its own distinct sound. Artists like Conchance, who blended hip-hop with spoken word poetry, and the group The Faint, who incorporated electronic and punk elements into their music, helped to shape the state’s hip-hop scene.
The rise of local talent
The 2000s saw the emergence of many notable Nebraska rappers, who gained recognition beyond the state’s borders. Houston Alexander, an MMA fighter, appeared on “The Ultimate Fighter” reality show. He used his platform to promote his music and Nebraska rap.
Scru Face Jean, a rapper from Omaha, began gaining national attention in 2015 with his album “Nernl 3.” The album included the hit song “Pull Up,” which had over a million views on YouTube. Another popular rapper from Omaha is J. Crum, who has released five albums and toured nationally.
Marcey Yates, from Lincoln, is another notable Nebraska rapper who has released several albums. He runs one of the few Black-owned music venues in the state, The Bourbon Theatre, which promotes Nebraska hip-hop and supports local artists. Through his work with The Bourbon Theatre, Yates has helped to build a community of Nebraska hip-hop artists and fans.
Other notable Nebraska hip-hop artists include Conny Franko, whose music blends hip-hop with indie rock and pop, and the group Mesonjixx, which features female MCs and incorporates elements of jazz and soul into their music.
Notable moments in Nebraska hip-hop history
One significant moment in Nebraska hip-hop history was the success of the Omaha-based group 311. While not strictly a hip-hop group, 311 incorporated elements of hip-hop into their music, helping to popularize the genre across the state. In the late 90s and early 2000s, the group enjoyed significant crossover success in the US mainstream music scene.
Another notable moment was the creation of the Omaha Entertainment and Arts Awards (OEAAs) in 2006. The OEAAs recognize outstanding artists and performers in the Omaha area, including those in the hip-hop community. The awards have helped to raise the profile of Nebraska hip-hop and bring attention to the state’s talented artists.
Overall, Nebraska’s hip-hop scene continues to thrive and evolve, with new artists emerging and established artists continuing to push the boundaries of the genre. With its unique blend of regional influences and national styles, Nebraska hip-hop is a vibrant and exciting part of the state’s cultural landscape.
Prominent Nebraska rappers
Nebraska may not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of hip-hop, but the state has produced some truly talented and influential rappers. From Omaha to Lincoln, Nebraska’s hip-hop scene is thriving, thanks in part to the contributions of these four prominent artists.
Houston Alexander, originally from East St. Louis, is a well-known MMA fighter who has also dabbled in Nebraska hip-hop. He has released several mixtapes and albums, including “The Assassination Vol. 1” and “The Assassin II: The Battle for Greatness.”
But Alexander’s contributions to Nebraska hip-hop go beyond his own music. He has used his platform to promote other local artists, hosting showcases and events that highlight the talent in the state. He has also been an advocate for arts education, working with organizations to bring music and other creative outlets to underserved communities.
Scru Face Jean
Scru Face Jean, originally from North Omaha, gained recognition with his album “Nernl 3,” which included the song “Pull Up.” He has released several projects independently and has collaborated with other artists, including J. Crum and Darius Jackson.
But Scru’s music is more than just entertainment. He uses his platform to shed light on social issues affecting his community, such as police brutality, racism, and systemic oppression. He has organized community events and spoken out at rallies, using his voice to amplify the voices of those who are often silenced.
J. Crum is an Omaha-based rapper who has released five albums and has toured nationally. His most recent single, “Villains,” featured national rapper Jarry Manna.
But J. Crum’s music is more than just catchy beats and clever lyrics. He uses his music to explore his own experiences with mental health and relationships, tackling subjects that are often stigmatized in hip-hop. He has also been an advocate for mental health awareness, speaking out about the importance of seeking help and breaking down the barriers that prevent people from accessing care.
Marcey Yates, from Lincoln, is a rapper, producer, and promoter. He has released several projects and has collaborated with local and national artists. He is also the owner of The Bourbon Theatre, a Lincoln-based music venue that promotes Nebraska hip-hop and supports local artists.
But Yates’ contributions to Nebraska hip-hop go beyond his own music and business ventures. He has been a mentor to countless aspiring artists, offering guidance and support as they navigate the industry. He has also been a vocal advocate for diversity and inclusion in hip-hop, using his platform to call out the industry’s shortcomings and push for change.
These four artists are just a few examples of the talent and creativity that can be found in Nebraska’s hip-hop scene. As they continue to make waves both locally and nationally, they are paving the way for the next generation of Nebraska rappers and ensuring that the state’s hip-hop legacy will continue to grow and evolve.
Influential hip-hop groups from Nebraska
Nebraska may not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of hip-hop, but the state has a thriving and diverse hip-hop scene. From Omaha to Lincoln, Nebraska has produced some truly innovative and influential hip-hop groups. Here are just a few of the most notable:
The Dilla Kids
The Dilla Kids, from Omaha, are a hip-hop group that pays homage to the late musician J Dilla. The group consists of rappers and producers, and their music combines Jazz and soul sounds with hip-hop beats. The Dilla Kids are not just a tribute act, however. They bring their own unique style and energy to their music, creating a sound that is both nostalgic and contemporary.The group has released several projects, including their debut album “Cult Classic,” which features collaborations with other local artists. Through their music, The Dilla Kids have helped to showcase the diversity of Nebraska hip-hop while paying tribute to one of the genre’s greatest producers.
Both is a Nebraska-based rap duo made up of rappers Jordy P and Bukkweat Bill. The group’s unique sound combines elements of Southern rap, West coast rap, and gospel and is often experimental and avant-garde. Both’s music is not for the faint of heart, but for those who are willing to take the journey, it is a truly rewarding experience.Both has gained national attention, with its music appearing on popular music websites such as XXL and The Fader. The group’s style and sound are a testament to the experimental and creative spirit of Nebraska hip-hop.
M34N STR33T, from Lincoln, is a hip-hop group that blends electronic and hip-hop sounds, creating a sound that is both futuristic and nostalgic. The group’s music often features introspective lyrics, touching on themes such as mental health and identity. M34N STR33T’s music is both thought-provoking and catchy, making it accessible to a wide range of listeners.The group has released several albums and has gained recognition both locally and nationally. Its music has been described as refreshing and innovative, showcasing the diversity of Nebraska hip-hop.
The Grease Monkeys
The Grease Monkeys, from Omaha, are a hip-hop group that incorporates elements of funk and soul into their music. The group’s music often features live instrumentation, creating a unique sound that stands out in the hip-hop scene. The Grease Monkeys are not afraid to take risks with their music, incorporating elements of rock and even country into their songs.The Grease Monkeys have released several projects independently, and their music has been featured on popular hip-hop websites such as Complex and HipHopDX. The group’s commitment to blending different genres and sounds has helped to showcase the diversity of Nebraska hip-hop.In conclusion, Nebraska may not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of hip-hop, but the state has a thriving and diverse hip-hop scene. From The Dilla Kids to The Grease Monkeys, Nebraska has produced some truly innovative and influential hip-hop groups. These groups are a testament to the creativity and passion of Nebraska’s hip-hop community, and they are sure to continue pushing the boundaries of the genre for years to come.
Nebraska’s hip-hop scene today
Nebraska’s hip-hop scene today is a testament to the state’s diverse and vibrant music culture. Despite being known for its country and folk music, Nebraska has a thriving hip-hop community that has been gaining momentum over the years.
Popular venues and events
One of the most prominent venues for Nebraska hip-hop is The Bourbon Theatre in Lincoln. The venue has a rich history of hosting local and national hip-hop acts, and it has become a staple in the state’s music scene. The venue’s intimate setting and excellent acoustics make it a favorite among both artists and fans alike.
The Waiting Room Lounge in Omaha is another popular music venue that has been instrumental in supporting the local hip-hop community. The venue has hosted several local hip-hop artists over the years, and it has become a hub for the state’s hip-hop scene. The venue is also known for hosting the “O! Hip-Hop Festival,” an annual event that brings together local hip-hop artists and fans for a day of music and celebration.
The role of social media and streaming platforms
Social media and streaming platforms have played a significant role in the growth of Nebraska hip-hop. Artists can promote their music directly to their fans through social media platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. This has allowed artists to build a following and connect with their fans on a personal level.
Streaming platforms such as Spotify and Apple Music have also been instrumental in the growth of Nebraska hip-hop. These platforms have made it easier for local artists to gain exposure outside of Nebraska. Through these platforms, Nebraska hip-hop artists can connect with fans across the country and the world, helping to raise the profile of the state’s hip-hop scene.
Collaborations and partnerships
Collaborations and partnerships have been vital in supporting the local hip-hop community. Several Nebraska hip-hop artists have collaborated with national artists, helping to bring attention to the state’s hip-hop scene. These collaborations have also allowed local artists to learn from their more experienced counterparts, helping to improve the quality of music coming out of the state.
Local organizations such as Hear Nebraska and The Union for Contemporary Art have also played a significant role in supporting the local hip-hop community. These organizations have partnered with local hip-hop artists to provide resources and support. They have also helped to create opportunities for artists to showcase their talents and connect with their fans.
Overall, Nebraska’s hip-hop scene is a testament to the state’s diverse and vibrant music culture. With the support of local venues, social media and streaming platforms, and collaborations and partnerships, Nebraska hip-hop artists have been able to showcase their talents and gain national recognition. As the state’s hip-hop scene continues to grow, it will undoubtedly continue to make its mark on the music industry.
The future of Nebraska hip-hop
Up-and-coming artists to watch
Nebraska hip-hop has a bright future, with several up-and-coming artists making waves in the local scene. One of these artists is Darius Jackson, a rapper from Omaha who has released several albums and collaborated with other local artists.
With his unique flow and introspective lyrics, Darius Jackson has quickly become a fan favorite in the Nebraska hip-hop scene. He has performed at several local events and festivals, including the annual Lincoln Calling music festival.
Another artist to watch is Kethro, a Lincoln-based rapper who blends traditional hip-hop sounds with electronic and experimental beats. His debut album, “Rukus,” received critical acclaim, and he has gained attention from prominent music websites such as Pitchfork.
Kethro’s experimental approach to hip-hop has earned him a dedicated following in the local scene. He often collaborates with other local artists and producers, pushing the boundaries of what is possible in Nebraska hip-hop.
The impact of national trends on the local scene
While Nebraska hip-hop has its unique sound, it is also influenced by national trends and styles. The rise of trap music and mumble rap has had an impact on Nebraska hip-hop, leading to artists experimenting with these sounds and styles. However, local artists have also blended these trends with their unique sounds, creating something entirely their own.
For example, rapper Miki Vale has incorporated elements of trap music into her music, but her introspective lyrics and soulful beats set her apart from other artists in the genre. Similarly, rapper Sleep Sinatra has experimented with mumble rap, but his poetic lyrics and smooth flow make his music stand out.
The role of community and education in fostering talent
The role of community and education is crucial in fostering talent in Nebraska hip-hop. Several organizations in the state provide resources and support for local artists, including music production classes, performance workshops, and mentorship programs.
One such organization is Hear Nebraska, a nonprofit that promotes and supports Nebraska’s music scene. They offer a range of programs and services, including a music journalism internship program and a concert series that showcases local talent.
Another organization is the Omaha Entertainment and Arts Awards, which recognizes and celebrates the achievements of local artists in various categories, including hip-hop. The awards ceremony is a highlight of the local music scene and provides a platform for emerging artists to gain recognition and exposure.
Through these programs and collaborations, Nebraska hip-hop has continued to grow, supported by a thriving community of enthusiasts, artists, and promoters. With a commitment to diversity, innovation, and community, Nebraska hip-hop has the potential to continue to thrive and make its mark on the national music scene.