It’s a party, and everyone is invited. Columbia’s hottest artists in rap, hip hop and rock ‘n’ roll will perform at 7 p.m. Friday at Mojo’s downtown.
The occasion? The sixth anniversary of IndyGround Entertainment, a local record label started in 2004 to advance a music scene frequently ignored by popular culture.
“The party is going to be nuts,” said Steddy P, a local rapper and cofounder of IndyGround. “It was one-in, one-out last year by 10:30. Hopefully, this year is a repeat. And we are giving out free beer at some point in the night.”
IndyGround works with acts from other labels, such as Andre and the Giants, Abstracked and The Cold Cuts, along with IndyGround artists such as Farout and Dallas, Mathias of the Earthworms and DJ Mahf. All of these acts are scheduled to perform Friday.
“Someone going to the concert Friday can expect it to be hot,” Steddy P said. “They might get wet, they might get drunk and they might get laid.”
Rob Bratney, lead singer and bass player for Andre and the Giants, said there will be nonstop music for hours. There will be different DJs and a lot of different styles of hip hop.
“The show mainly consists of hip hop,” Bratney said. “We’re kind of the outlier, being a rock band.”
Bratney and his bandmates, guitarist Nick Friedman and drummer Andrew Fialka, started out with IndyGround as Steddy P’s live band before they started playing original music this past May. Andre and the Giants is now on an independent label but frequently plays shows with IndyGround, including last year’s anniversary.
“Hopefully, there’s a lot of new people,” Friedman said. “Last year was pretty packed. That’s always fun to play to a big crowd.”
Steddy P, whose real name is Ray Pierce, said he is proud of the progress his label has made over these six years.
“The hardest thing to do with a label of this magnitude and all the people with individual talents is trying to keep everyone on the same team, marching to the same beat, and still progress forward,” Steddy P said. “It was extremely tough to do.”
Friedman said IndyGround has been running the hip-hop scene in Columbia for awhile now.
“They just keep getting better,” Friedman said. “They seem to be drawing bigger crowds, more loyal fans. It’s great that they’ve been doing it for six years and they keep expanding and adding acts to the label.”
One rising artist Steddy P and Bratney agree should be on the public radar is rapper Farout, whose debut album, Universal Logic, dropped in August. Farout, AKA Eric Farlow, graduated from MU in the spring.
“He’s really good,” Bratney said. “He writes really catchy hooks. His wordplay is great, beyond his years.”
Steddy P said it is tough to consistently get anyone to report on hip hop nowadays because there’s so much trash on the radio and there’s so much competition.
“I guess in a nutshell, this represents a crew, a label and, more importantly, a group of friends that have been busting their ass for six years trying to get some notoriety in the streets,” Steddy P said. “The fact that we can successfully build up our own movement and celebrate that shit and be noticed for it is fantastic.”