The DOJO Hosts Hip-Hop Open Mic Showcase Saturday at Grove Studios
This Saturday, we’re teaming up with Harlin “Duke” Newcomb to host The DOJO, a hip-hop open mic showcase, at Grove Studios. The event will include emerging hip-hop artists Jay Tubbs, Adam Luther, Hi Potent C, Queen Kinesis and DJ Scotty D on the ones and twos. We recently spoke with Newcomb about the history of The DOJO and what attendees can expect from Saturday’s show.
How did you come to start The DOJO?
I started The DOJO in the summer of 2014. I was a few months past my album release party at The Blind Pig, and it was an overwhelming success. I felt like I had momentum, but didn’t know where to go from there. I hadn’t really approached music as a career before and didn’t know where to start with getting a further reach.
I spoke to a few artists that I respected, and one of them said, “You need to think about the value that you have to offer.” That was in regards to out-of-town venues and people and places that were unfamiliar. I thought, “Why not try to make the whole city valuable to the culture?” We did a trial show at The Elks because I hadn’t performed there in years. That went great. Then it was on and poppin’!
How do people provide feedback to artists during the event? How have artists used that feedback to grow and enhance their art?
It’s not an actual evaluation or a formal critique. We have elders there and pretty much the whole hip-hop community. It’s a natural, tribal and village-like environment. We all talk about things throughout the night. It’s really special actually.
What do you enjoy most about running The DOJO?
What I enjoy most is seeing the looks on artists’ faces after they get whatever the month laid on them off of their chests. They also get a glow from performing.
How has it grown since you first started it?
As for The DOJO, I did most everything myself for years, even down to being the door guy. Eagle Meng put together the signature “strange” posters from the beginning, and the last few years Nickie P. has come to the rescue and made our online presence amazing. For years, we were strictly word of mouth.
The DOJO is a community with a pure stage, microphone and turn tables – hip-hop music 101. No paying for play or favoritism. You just show up, sign the sheet and do beats and rhymes.
Why did you decide to partner with Grove Studios to host The DOJO there this month?
Nickie P. was the mastermind that got us in bed (so to speak) with Grove Studios, and it’s an honor, by the way. I have been keeping track of their commitment to community and commend them for it.
How did you come to select Jay Tubbs, Adam Luther, Hi Potent C and Queen Kinesis to be part of Saturday’s event? What will they each bring to their performances and the event itself?
We selected them for their ongoing involvement with The DOJO. They are deserving of a highlighted showcase and their commitment to their craft.
Will other artists have opportunities to showcase their talent and receive feedback during Saturday’s event? What steps do they need to take to be considered for it?
At some point, we will have a cypher where artists will be able to participate.
Saturday, July 10 | Doors 7 p.m.
Grove Studios, 884 Railroad St. in Ypsilanti