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Documentary showcases emerging Annapolis hip-hop scene

Andrea Blackstone | 1/15/2016, 6 a.m.
Malcolm McFadden, 23, is a hip hop artist from Annapolis who makes beats, writes, mixes and masters his own music.
Annapolis spoken word artist, Kirsten Yasa appears in a new documentary about the up-and-coming local hip-hop and spoken word scene the Annapolis area. (Courtesy Photo)

Malcolm McFadden, 23, is a hip hop artist from Annapolis who makes beats, writes, mixes and masters his own music. He became deeply interested in hip-hop, while attending Annapolis Middle School. After being introduced to poetry by a friend named Jordan Speaks, and also being influenced by hip-hop’s Golden Age— which is best known for eclectic and influential music in the 1980s and 1990s associated with artists like Run-D.M.C.; De La Soul; Nas; A Tribe Called Quest and others— he was inspired to begin writing his own music at the age of 14.

Tino Young, Christian Smooth and Malcolm McFadden share a moment at the first open mic of the year on January 7, 2015 at Metropolitan Kitchen & Lounge, located at 169 West Street in Annapolis.

(Courtesy Photo)

Tino Young, Christian Smooth and Malcolm McFadden share a moment at the first open mic of the year on January 7, 2015 at Metropolitan Kitchen & Lounge, located at 169 West Street in Annapolis.

Years later, McFadden began helping to host events for creative people in Annapolis through a company called The Conglomerate. After noticing the absence of a performance meeting place, which welcomed diverse, creative people, McFadden and The Conglomerate established a platform for like-minded individuals to come together in Annapolis. Joe Martin, the booking manager of Metropolitan Kitchen & Lounge, located at 169 West Street, was open to the idea of giving a hip-hop open mic a try there. For nearly a year, McFadden has been hosting the open mic night and networking mixer.

“I feel like the Annapolis hip-hop scene is kind of hidden and isn’t really out and open, and not a lot of people know about it. There [are] a lot of talented people in Annapolis that are in the hip-hop scene. I wanted to bring light to what they’re doing,” McFadden said. “Some people do it for fun…it’s a hobby. Some people take it seriously, and they’re really trying to make a career out of it and do what they can to help build up the culture.”

The monthly event led to the creation of a new hip-hop documentary showcasing the diverse talents of poets, singers and hip hop artists who are a part of Annapolis’ growing hip-hop scene.

“Stars In Our Own Light” will be shown on Saturday, January 16, 2016 at Art Farm, which is located at 47B on Spa Road in Annapolis. The networking portion of the free event starts at 6 p.m.

Individuals 15-years-old and up are invited to attend. The screening of the documentary is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.

Over a period of four or five months, Christian Smooth, an independent filmmaker, producer and founder of Smooth House Productions, interviewed artists who are a part of the emerging indie hip-hop scene in Annapolis. They live in Annapolis, other parts of Maryland, and the District of Columbia. Interviewees include a husband and wife, Darin and Alex Gilliam; Tarius Tasker; Tino Young; Christian “CJ The Genesis” Jones; Steven X; Malcom McFadden; Ashlee Johnson and Jasmine Smith.

Along with others, they have been performing at Metropolitan Kitchen & Lounge. McFadden and Smooth further explained that individuals who are 17 and older pay a $5 cover charge to network and perform everything from spoken word to all kinds of hip-hop.

Participants are said to range from working adults to students from Annapolis, various parts of Anne Arundel County, Prince George’s County, the District of Columbia and Baltimore.

According to Smooth, a venue called The Whiskey on West Street, which is now closed, hosted the first Annapolis Hip Hop Awards in 2013.

“We’re trying to resurrect the hip hop scene in Annapolis. I want to expose the hip-hop culture in a much more positive light,” Smooth said. “Malcolm McFadden and Tino Young approached me to do a documentary. That’s how I got involved. The documentary will be available on YouTube.com/TheSmoothHouse after the screening.”

Young is co-founder of an events company called Spotlight District. The company helps music artists gain more exposure. Seemingly, Young, Smooth and McFadden have been able to collaborate to promote the idea that local musicians areas are worthy of support.

“After the documentary the next step is just to keep doing what we’re doing and just not stop, and keep pushing our views and pushing our artists to be more motivated and just keep going,” McFadden said.

To learn more about upcoming creative events in Annapolis, visit: www.weareconglomerate.com.