Big Music Issue
Big Music Issue 2011
Published: July 13, 2011
No band is an island. And the same goes for rappers, venues, beats, genres, and all the rest of it. There always remains that connection between the macro and the micro, the guy twiddling knobs in some west Baltimore art space and the left-field leans of this or that band popping up on the cover of Spin. Or that tiny, smoky space itself, connected along the continuum to your local Live Nation amphitheater; or the rapper on the corner and the rapper on TV. Even in the biggest, most committee-generated pop song, you’ll find some filament or genetic line reaching down to the cultural proving grounds here at ground level.
This idea runs through the four stories of 2011’s Big Music Issue. Brandon Soderberg reports on the re-emergence of house music in Baltimore and its not-too-distant mirror in mainstream pop. Al Shipley writes about the “Knights of the Round Robin,” an offbeat cadre of underground Baltimore rappers gaining steam and branching out into the city’s larger hip-hop community. Michael Byrne discusses the symbiosis between underground DIY spaces and venue-as-business aboveground spaces. Finally, Baltimore production ace Tom Delay lends a hand to Ben Claassen’s comic detailing of how an idea becomes a beat becomes a fully formed rap track and, hopefully, a hit. Enjoy.