By TRISTAN ABBOTT/Montana State News

The four elements of hip-hop were brought together last Sunday night in an event that paid homage to Martin Luther King Jr. With the collective goal of bringing people together, artists from each sector of hip hop – DJs, break dancers, MCs or rappers, and graffiti artists – put their skills on display.

The festivities included a break dancing competition with a local Bozeman dance crew putting their best feet forward against a similar crew from Missoula.

Portions of the contest were judged by MC Abstract Rude, who also performed a feature set at the show. The beats used for the 16-bar rap competition were submitted by local artists and then chosen by Rude, which added to the sense of community involvement and unification throughout the show. Before his set, Rude emphasized the importance of these events, saying that they provide a positive outlet for young people everywhere.

Josh Perkins of Justus Records, who organized the event, said that there was a dual goal of bringing people together while educating them at the same time. Perkins is an MSU grad who played on the MSU football team and understands the importance of education.

This was seen in both the DJ and graffiti sections, where artists demonstrated different methods as well as gave a brief history of their art. By presenting the history of these arts, the event sought to change common misconceptions of hip hop, such as challenging the idea that graffiti artists are simply vandals. Instead, it presented them as artists who use a variety of mediums.

The final segment was a 16-bar rap off that included local and out-of-town rappers, who had to write original verses to themes such as, “How do you live the dream that MLK Jr. had?”

There were a variety of answers to that question presented at the event. “It’s all about bringing people together with music,” said artist Moxie Hub, who came from out of town for the event, “ not looking at race or color, just bringing everybody together.

Edited by Riley Pittenger 

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