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Detroit's hip hop scene moving on from the days of '8 Mile'

Detroit's hip hop scene was made famous in Eminem's move "8 Mile."

You know the one -- where the white guy from the trailer park shows up the black rapper who went to Cranbrook High School?

It's a representation of the hip hop scene in Detroit in 1995.

Back then, The Shelter below St. Andrew's Hall was the spot where hip hop artists sought to make a name for themselves.

Veronica Grandison writes for Model D that today in Detroit -- the "game is not over" -- it's just found in different places:

Now, there is a new crop of hip hop artists coming up, and more outlets are being created to nurse this homegrown talent. "Because of 8 Mile and Eminem, it was like a rite of passage if you played the Shelter. But it’s not like that anymore," says Brent Smith (aka ‘Blaksmith’) a local hip hop artist. “It's almost like the Shelter (and St. Andrews) is going through a transition period because they see that the newer venues are more environmentally friendly for artists," Smith says. "St. Andrews knows they can’t just rely on their reputation from years ago." Smith, 26, is one half of the rap duo Passalacqua and a founding member of the rap group Cold Men Young. When Smith started out, he says venues like the 5E Gallery embraced his music. This new class of hip hop spots includes showcases like "The Air Up There," and venues the Untitled Bottega, and the 5E Gallery.

"The Air Up There," or TAUT, has been an ongoing hip show that got its start in the back of a clothing store.  Here's a taste of how that show looks:


Grandison writes how that show was started by rapper Tashif Sheefy McFly Turner:

"The Air Up There" was originally held at the Detroit clothing store Bob's Classic Kicks. Turner, 24, interned there in high school so the owner let him use the spot to hold a hip hop show. The showcase received a lot of buzz and eventually became a monthly event. Turner says he was surprised at the positive response the show received. "I wasn't all hip hop oriented when I first started. But, once it got big, I felt like I had a position to play and I had to step up to the plate and make it a staple for the Detroit music scene," says Turner.

Places like The Shelter still hold hip hop shows, but as Grandison's piece demonstrates, organic hip hop shows are springing up in many places around the city.

Mark Brush was Michigan Radio’s Digital Media Director. He succumbed to a year-long battle with glioblastoma, an aggressive brain cancer, in March 2018. He was 49 years old.