The cart must come before the horse when it comes to selling tickets to Triangle music festivals, meaning that festival organizers expect for supporters to buy into their lineups before knowing who, exactly, even fills those lineups. Hopscotch did it. Moog has done it. And this year, Durm Hip Hop Summit went for the stunt, too.
Organizers Toon and The Real Laww announced the summit’s lineup Friday, just two weeks away from its August 14–15 return. The lineup’s local highlights include the comeback of award-winning slam poet and emcee G. Yamazawa; the premiere of the reinvented Danny Blaze (formerly of the duo The Koolest); the brute jabbing of B Stack$ and Flu; and more outward displays of “real hip-hop” rap crew love from F.T.O., who will likely try to rule this festival just as they did last year.
Charlotte’s self-proclaimed “cult rapper” Deniro Farrar will headline. That works out perfectly, as long as we’re judging this event for what its title suggests, which is a handful of local hip-hop leaders convening on downtown Durham. But if we look at this “summit” as a proper festival,” it seems our local commercial radio station and one of the event’s main sponsors, K97.5 WQOK FM, could have put more of an informed effort into booking an act with with more joie de vivre.
Farrar is definitely a consummate rap professional, and the guy has even started his own Instagram bookclub (#cultrapbookclub). But his most recent project, the Young God-produced Cliff of Death II, is a slow crawl into thug anguish that couldn’t possibly create joyous festival memories. The rest of his work is similar, though you may get a few more bounces out of his Ryan Hemsworth-produced material.
It’s amusing, too, that a commercial radio station like K97.5 is the title sponsor for a local hip-hop festival, as it hardly ever puts local hip-hop into its rotation (more on that later). I’m sure we’d all be surprised if the station has ever spun much Deniro Farrar—or any song by anyone on this summit’s lineup, for that matter. Maybe this summit needs a panel element where that quandary can be addressed.
Tickets for the Durm Hip Hop Summit cost $15–$75 and are available here.