After four years as a one-day event held in front of City Hall, Portland Hip-Hop Day has expanded this year into Portland Hip-Hop Week. The result is more than a dozen events across Portland, out to Beaverton and up to Hood River. It's not just concerts, either—there are sneaker-related parties, food and fashion pop-ups and even fishing lessons. Here are the five events we're most excited about.
1. North to the Numberz @ Kelly's Olympian, Aug. 21
The first showcase from local radio station the Numberz is somewhat of a snapshot of the sounds coming out of this city, from the breezy bops of newcomer Micah the Rapper, to veteran Cool Nutz and the buzzy Produce Organic collective. The station is less than a year old, but it's not a surprise that it could pull together such an awesome lineup. The Numberz has deep ties to local artists—Bkaye, the DJ for this showcase and fundraiser, performs with the station's creative director, rapper KayelaJ. $10. 21+.
2. A Beat Happening @ Future Shock, Aug. 22
Year-round, A Beat Happening books DJs whose beat sets are both boundary-pushing and actually danceable. For Hip-Hop Week, the showcase has assembled a lineup of beatmakers who range from dub to dreamy. Free. All ages.
3. The Thesis @ Kelly's Olympian, Aug. 22
Every month, the Thesis showcases rising Portland MCs. But this month, we get a bonus edition, headlined by the rowdy rap of Young Shirt Mayne. Each Hip-Hop Week event is required to pay tribute to someone in Portland's hip-hop community—there's a full-blown awards ceremony at Lola's Room on Monday—and this show will honor photographers who capture the scene. $10. 21+.
4. Illamette @ Cathedral Park, Aug. 24
Founded independently before becoming part of Hip-Hop Week, Illamette is dedicated to the Willamette River as much as it is to local hip-hop. But now that it's joined the Hip-Hop Week lineup, it's basically a festival within a festival. Co-presented with river cleanup organization Portland Harbor Community Coalition, the lineup includes everyone from the lyricism-driven rap of Mat Randol and Swiggle Mandela to the abstract, loop-pedal magic of Amenta Abioto. Oh, and there are fishing lessons and poetry readings, too. Free. All ages.
5. Wynne's "The Thesis" Video Premiere @ Lola's Room, Aug. 25
Local, viral MC Wynne is going places. So it's not a surprise that her new music video is packed with appearances by local luminaries and yet another cameo by Damian Lillard. At the premiere party will be limited-edition pieces from local clothing company Lupe's Grocery Store, and performances by R&B singer Blossom and soulful rapper Danny Sky. Fingers crossed that Dame Dolla shows up to bust out a few bars. $10 suggested donation. All ages.
SEE IT: Portland Hip-Hip Week is Aug. 20-26. See pdxhiphopweek.com for full schedule.