Travis Scott's AstroWorld Tour "Wish You Were Here Tour 2" will be in Tulsa on Feb. 8th. That's right Tulsa, Oklahoma will have a rap artist who is Grammy nominated headlining the BOK Center. For the many hip-hop lovers this is a dream come true. A dream that wouldn't have happened 5 years ago. Because at that time it was perceived that there wasn't a "Hip-Hop" audience here. Especially with artists like Taylor Swift and Lady Gaga selling out the BOK Center each time they stopped by. But what the BOK and other venues that were not in-tuned with the scene there was a storm brewing and it's name was Hip-Hop.
Venues like Sound Pony and The Yeti opened it's doors to Hip-Hop artist and took a chance on a genre that was mostly seen as not having a market here. This chance paid off in a major way as these venues thrived on nights that would normally be dead. The off nights of Monday's gave birth to open mic nights like "The Situation", where Hip-Hop was the main genre but it included R&B, poetry, dance, electronic, and other arts. Lessons in Fresh became a staple show known for bringing together the four elements of Hip-Hop and educating the people about it's origins.
Oklahoma rapper, he a local rapper
So why go to local shows? Because it's proof that there is a market for the genre. It's not until venues start seeing the dollars flow elsewhere that they are willing to invest in booking bigger Hip-Hop artists like Drake or Wiz Khalifa. But if all you do is travel to bigger cities like Dallas or Kansas City than you are investing in other cities nightlife and continuing to help them build a scene that you "an outsider" will never truly be apart of. Booking companies want to see that the cities have an audience that is willing to spend money on ticket and the first place to look is local shows as a gauge for how much of a fit the city would be for certain artists. The BOK Center has been voted multiple years as the best venue in the U.S, so the lack of venue is not the problem. It's the lack of people coming to the local shows.
But he a local rapper. True, but as Chris "The God MC" Cain states that big name artists are local rappers where they come from. And everywhere they go they make sure to let it be known that their city is a good place to have a show, evening going as far as throwing festivals and bringing the bigger artists to their cities. If you do the same artists will make sure to tell other artist to come to Tulsa and see the Hip-Hop scene.
Circulate! In Steph Simon's track "Diamonds" he has a line that goes "Circulate, Circulate, money moving like a hundred ways fuck around and buy a bank." That's true to any local artist. Supporting local artists also means supporting local businesses. From buying t-shirts from artists that are printed at local t-shirt shops. To local graphic designers that create posters that artists use for promotion. Investing in local artists is also investing in your community. Because unlike the big artists in other cities, local artists pay rent here, eat at local shops here, and pay taxes here. (Let's not get into paying taxes in cities you tour in.)
We have some amazingly talented artists that put their time, their money, and their passion into creating a scene that is mimics an Atlanta or a Chicago. But at the same time we also have the potential to be something more, something greater. Something Hip-Hop. As seen on the track "Love Affair" (read the review here) that features both artists. So come to a local Hip-Hop show and support your scene and your people. Or move to Dallas.
Checkout the video "Love Affair" below: