Art of Cool 2017 V8ga Edition: Exclusive Interviews with Ace Henderson, Danny Blaze, Shame, and DJ RNB
Written By: Anthony "V8ga" Hilliard
Content Edited By: Kimberly Knight
Photo Credits: Kit Marlowe and AfroCurl Photography
Score 1 notch in the "W" column for the cool kids! The Art of Cool Festival brought out people from all across the spectrum. From the young to the seasoned, reserved to abstract, hipsters, preps, neighbors, and even distant hip hop admirers from 5,000 miles away all gathered for a taste of the cultural melting pot. Only the actual temperature could rival the warmth of this fellowship. Everywhere you turned in the city, from open areas to back corners and alleys were riddled with some form of art. Fashion forwarders, poets, b-boys, rappers, and singers were drizzled all over downtown Durham. Being a true student of the culture, I wandered into the Carolina Theater and received a history lesson from The Revive Band with Dr. Lonnie Smith. They invited the audience on a journey through music evolution starting with the 30’s with tributes to Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong and ending with an epic tribute to current Hip Hop. R&B singer and songwriter Goapele and rapper Pharoahe Monch displayed a colorful rendition of J. Cole’s “Be Free”. They not only celebrated but rebirthed the title right before our eyes.
In the midst of all the excitement, hustle, and bustle The Lux was able to secure quotes from a few of the festival’s up and coming artists.
Where are you from and what is your style of music?
I’m from Brooklyn, New York and now reside in Raleigh, NC. I started off as a rapper and transitioned to more styles and melodies for creative reasons.
Who are a few of your music inspirations?
Describe yourself as an artist , What’s your story?
I believe in the power of the artist’s voice for impactful change, I’m here to finish the story my mom and dad started.
What’s your goal as far as music?
I want to be famous but not too famous, sort of like Curren$y. He’s successful but he can still walk through the mall without being mobbed.
What’s your 2nd love or passion?
I love basketball but my hopes were cut short because of my height lol.
What was your "WTF" moment or I can’t believe this is happening?
When i opened up for Bone Thugs & Harmony. - Shame
Quitting my day job and being able to do this full time. - Dj RNB
If you could relate yourself to any character real or fictional who would you be?
I’m like Kobe I have that killer instinct, when it’s go time, i’m ready, just give me the ball- Shame
I'm Jerry Rice because he wasn’t the strongest or fastest but he out worked his competition and just like him I’m not the best or most well-known but your not going to out work me. - Dj RNB
Although there were many stand out performances during the festival, one of the most unforgettable moments was the actual headlining attraction at the DPAC. Common performed following female rapper Rapsody. Rapsody was accompanied by the Grammy Award-winning Producer 9th Wonder and her band The Storm Troopers. Rapsody masterfully displayed her lyrical talents and showed the audience why she is mentioned amongst the elite in hip hop. Jamla’s beautiful songstress Heather Victoria added soulful vocals to her performance with a twist on a go-go favorite that had the crowd “beating their feet” DC style. In addition, Rapsody showed the audience how she embraces her grown woman status as she comically played around with a young lucky male fan, as she acted out some of her more women empowered selections. The show reminded us of why we fell in love with hip hop and how music bridges gaps and lifts spirits. The festival showcased music and art culture from the humble to the established brands and current trailblazers. If you were amongst the lucky attendees you truly did bare witness to “The Art of Cool”.
Check out some of these behind the scenes pics captured by The Lux!
Photo Credit: Alex of AfroCurl Photography
Photo Credit: Kit Marlowe of We Personally