Aside from Meow Meow proprietor Todd Fadel, Illaj Da Soul Heala is quite possibly one of the most optimistic people in the Portland music scene. The former emcee for Black Scienz Tribe, now a solo performer, has organized a night entitled "Resurrection of Local Hiphop" in conjunction with the Meow Meow's Third Birthday Celebration, and he's spilling over with enthusiasm. "After the breakup of Black Scienz Tribe," he explains, "I saw a rapid decline in the all-ages hiphop scene. So I'm trying to instigate those shows again, so all-ages kids can get back in the feel of things."
Illaj has hopes to make Resurrection of Local Hiphop a recurring event, and for its first installment, he spared no element. In addition to the conglomeration of emcees--Sickmediks, Uziah, UpperEastSide, DialeK, Infinite, and Illaj himself are all on the bill--the event will exhibit graff art and murals by Aden, clothing by Seedless, and breaks by local b-boys the Moon Patrol Crew. Also, Moon Patrol and others will perform elements of the Brazilian martial art capoeira. "Almost every technical move in breakdancing came from capoeira, including the upright break," says Illaj. "It's got major historical value, being something the slaves did to defy the masters, and in hiphop, a way for communities to revolt against the mainstream we were really inspired to bring back the cultural experience."
Though most of Ressurection's emcees are of the "conscious" variety, there will be an element of more mainstream style. Illaj says, "We had to include every aspect of hiphop; I want everyone to feel a part of this." Illaj also praises the Meow Meow's Fadel for being unafraid to hold hiphop shows at his club. "Todd has taken a lot of risks, being that Meow Meow has been known as a rock club. He believed in us enough to give us the opportunity, and the fact that he would include this in the birthday celebration--he seems like he understands the greatness of hiphop."