Portland artists perform at city hall for “Hip Hop Day” - KPTV - FOX 12

Portland artists perform at city hall for “Hip Hop Day”

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The crowd gathered for a hip hop concert outside Portland City Hall Thursday. The crowd gathered for a hip hop concert outside Portland City Hall Thursday.

You could call it a concert with a message.

People gathered outside Portland City Hall Thursday afternoon after Mayor Charlie Hales called for the city’s first ever “Hip Hop Day,” and invited local artists to perform.

“I rap about social things going on in America, I tell stories of where I come from, the type of people that grew up here, what we go through,” hip hop artist and Portland native Mic Capes told Fox 12.

Capes was one of several performers who drew quite a crowd Thursday.

It’s all part of an effort to build trust and improve relationships between the city, police and the hip hop community after some tensions in recent years.

A show at a venue called The Blue Monk was shut down by police in early 2014, citing an over-capacity crowd.

But Illmaculate, the hip hop artist who had been slated to perform that night, felt the show was unfairly targeted and that black culture was the real target.

His complaint launched an audit from a civilian group overseeing the Portland Police Bureau.

“I feel like the situation with Illmaculate and The Blue Monk opened the discussion for a lot of stuff like this [concert] to happen,” said artist and promoter Cool Nutz.  “Obviously there’s progress being made, it’s one of those things where you see where stuff goes from here.”

Portland native Vinnie Dewayne also performed at Thursday’s free, all-ages show.

“[Getting shut down] didn’t happen to me, but it happened to some of my friends,” he told Fox 12.  “We’ve got to work on that, fixing those issues, because all we want to do is rap, all we want to do is tell our story.”

“You’ve got different sub-genres of hip hop and they don’t all involve violence,” Mic Capes added.

The city plans to make “Hip Hop Day” an annual event.

Artists who spoke with Fox 12 say they support that and appreciate this step forward in relations with the city, but also want to see further action taken in the future.

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