KPSU Hiphop Springfest Showcase

Wed March 17

PSU Smith Center, 3-9 pm, 1825 SW Broadway, Berbati's Pan, 10 pm, 231 SW Ankeny

This Wednesday, One Love Records (8714 N. Lombard St.) and New York's Fat Tone Records host a 12-hour benefit for KPSU. Starting at 3 pm at the Smith Center Ballroom with an open mic/turntables showcase and contest, there will be a forum to educate up and coming artists on navigating the independent world of hiphop, and protecting themselves from bad major-label contracts. The after-party at Berbati's features such artists as Black C from RBL Posse, Krazy K, Trash Heap, Ray-Ray, and more. (See "Up and Coming" pg 21 for more info.) I talked to Octavius Miller, owner of One Love Records, about the motivations behind such a gianormous statement of independent musicianship.

Why'd you organize Springfest?

Our intent was to do a fundraiser for the radio station; we like independent radio on the college level. It gives you an alternative, the opportunity to listen to underground hiphop, not just the corporate stuff.

I do the West Coast Peace tour in which I bring 30 groups up to come celebrate hiphop in the Portland area--we bring in groups from Seattle, Tacoma, the Bay Area, LA. There was a lot of negativity about hiphop then--a lot of people were putting it down. Portland is a very conservative city, but it's good in one way: it reminds me of like, 1990, when rap music was still cool and you could go to shows without any problems and you have graffiti artists and scratchers and breakers.

What's the educational forum about?

To inform up and coming acts about the corporate grip they put on you before they sign those contracts. That's one of those things where local labels can show them the way to make money without having to tie into the system. A lot of those companies will sign you, just to put your stuff on the shelf and take you off the market. We teach them how to avoid the pitfalls, how to get flyers and posters and cheap CDs, and how to attack radio without hurting your pocketbook. It's mainly for people who love music, who really care about their art form.

I grew up in Oakland; my brother [Seagram Miller] was on Rap-a-Lot; he got killed three months before Tupac got killed. After Tupac, Biggie, and my brother passed... it was a dark day for hiphop all around. People talk about gangsta rap, but you have to really believe it was a thing that surrounded me; people were getting killed every day, and selling drugs and prostituting. It's all an art form, and people need to respect it; it was a product of our environment.