Omaha hip-hop on the rise, but still needs more support

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Stefan Snijders
Contributor

PHOTO COURTESY OF SAINT MIC
PHOTO COURTESY OF SAINT MIC

It’s no great mystery that Omaha is predominately a rock and country town. However, rap’s appeal has crossed genres historically like no other.

In 2013, the artist Nelly collaborated with country artists Florida-Georgia Line on a revision of their song “Cruise.” Jay-Z released an album with hard rock band Linkin Park in 2004. All the way back to Run D.M.C.’s collaboration with Aerosmith on the 1986 re-release of “Walk This Way” and even earlier, rap has blurred the lines between specific genres.

It’s only natural that many Omahans are familiar with at least a few rap artists. But are they familiar with their local hip-hop musicians?

It seems the word with local artists is that, although their scene is flourishing, they could use an influx of interest. Many people are not entirely aware of the progress the Omaha scene is making. For those involved in the scene, the greatest thing that could happen is to get more support, because they believe it would help produce positive results for those who support it.

“Hip-Hop is ‘give back’ in nature. It is about progression entirely,” said Michael Pointer, a.k.a. Saint Mic. He is a local talent who has made his way through Omaha’s hip-hop scene for what he estimates to be eight years
or more. In that time Omaha’s hip-hop scene has progressed, he asserted, to become a significantly
more community-driven music effort.

“I would say it’s definitely progressed in relation to the business aspect of things. A lot more positivity
with the scene I am aware of.”

Pointer says that the scene encompasses all ages, and Josh Boardman, a.k.a. Flips, agrees. Josh has been producing and creating beats and loops for close to 15 years. He says he got started on his computer
when he was in high school. Boardman, a former University of Nebraska at Omaha student, says the
talent pool is so large that it’s sometimes impossible to pick a favorite.

He said sometimes it seems as if they play mostly for other artists, as so many will come to each other’s performances. That is part of the reason, though, why the communal aspect of the local scene has grown.

“There’s not really any drama, and we’ve progressed over time to the point where we know, and the venues
that work with us, that we can bring a crowd and it’s a positive vibe,” Boardman said.

Pointer feels the same way.

“I see more business minds in music but the great part is its being done out of love for the art not just financial gain,” he said.

Both artists love the Waiting Room in Benson as a venue, but there’s still strong love for smaller venues such
as Benson’s The Sydney Bar, 402 Arts Collective and especially the Lookout Lounge (formerly known
as the Hideout), which is just down the street from the Dodge campus, on 72nd Street.

A smaller, more intimate venue, the Lookout is where Saint Mic says he is most comfortable. Boardman
says although he loves the capabilities of the Waiting Room, he’s played the most shows at Lookout Lounge.

“We’ve never had any problems with getting people to come out, or any drama at the location,” Boardman
said. “Honestly, my favorite venue is one where someone is going to let us put on a show.”

Boardman believes the best opportunity to get involved is to come to shows. “The ‘Bands In Town’ app is pretty awesome, it keeps me up to date on who’s performing, even with local acts,” he said. He recommends
that people come out and check things out, get involved if they like hip-hop as that’s how scenes continue to grow and thrive.

Pointer, for his part, had this message to aspiring hip-hop artists. “It’s art,” he said. “Be creative; don’t
worry about what’s trending. Be you. Be smart. Have fun.”

Follow Gooseneck Productions, or Familitia Music Group, on Facebook for more info on these local artists. Bands In Town app is available for free on your iPhone or Android.

 

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