Friday, August 13, 2004

Heroes of hip-hop here for Scribble Jam

By C.E. Hanifin
Enquirer staff writer

Battles, performances and a graffiti expo get started at 4 p.m. today and 2 p.m. Saturday at Annie's, 4343 Kellogg Ave., East End. Daily admission is $20 in advance, $25 at the door. Call Ticketmaster at 562-4949 or go to

A free Park Jam performance runs from noon to 5 p.m. Sunday at Burnet Woods in Clifton.

For a schedule, go to

Long before Eminem was bringing emcee battles to the big screen in 8 Mile, he was putting his skills to the test at Scribble Jam.

Since the annual festival got rolling nine years ago, it's brought the rising stars and underground heroes of the hip-hop world to Cincinnati for competitions and performances.

In planning this year's festival, which runs through Sunday, organizers followed the successful formula of past events, says co-founder "Fat" Nick Accurso. Unlike other festivals, Scribble Jam has steered clear of ceding control to corporate sponsors, he says.

"This is a hip-hop fest that's done correctly," he says. "It's not being run by people who don't understand the culture."

Emcees, DJs and breakdancers from across the country will compete for cash prizes in battles today and Saturday at Annie's, which also will host a graffiti expo. On both nights, underground artists will perform. The bill includes the Living Legends from Los Angeles, North Carolina's Little Brother (which just signed to Atlantic Records) and Glue, which features local artist DJ DQ (aka Dan Hargraves).

One of Scribble Jam's founders, Mr. Dibbs of the Minneapolis ensemble Atmosphere, is currently playing on the Vans Warped Tour and might make a guest appearance sometime during the weekend, Accurso says.

On Sunday, a free Park Jam in Clifton's Burnet Woods allows everyone to kick back together before the festival wraps, he says.

The fierce battles are always the most popular part of Scribble Jam, Accurso says, especially the "b-boy" competition in which breakdancers vie for victory. This year, two new dancing showdowns have been added to the lineup.

Organizers expect 7,000 to 10,000, a huge growth in attendance for an event that "started out as 50 people in a parking lot," Accurso says.

"We basically try to mimic what happened back in the '80s, when hip-hop was part of people's hearts and souls," he says.


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