The 6th Annual Arizona Hip Hop Festival is only 17 days away and there is an elephant in the room. Let’s talk about it. Arizona transplants. There is an abundance of artists every year that perform at the Arizona Hip Hop Festival and it’s no secret that a decent amount of them are transplants. The Arizona Hip Hop Festival has been a huge catalyst for the current rise of Arizona Hip Hop and talented artists coming from different states and finding a place in and out of the Arizona Hip Hop community has helped add much needed fuel to that fire. Mega Ran put it best when he addressed his own situation on Facebook by stating “not saying to stop repping your town, but that in order for your new environment to thrive as a whole, the people here must learn to embrace what makes Arizona so unique.”
Mega Ran is himself a transplant and has dealt with the dichotomy of repping your home state while embracing your current home. He has been in Phoenix for over 12 years now and admits that he hasn’t mentioned AZ as much as some would expect from an artist that has found the majority of their success in Arizona. He stated “I rarely mention the city in my songs or reference it in interviews, despite seeing most my success here.” but followed it up with some words of wisdom from a Hip Hop legend, “But the great Rakim said ‘it ain’t where you from, it’s where ya at.’ (His book is great btw)” Where he is now just happens to be home to the “largest all-local hip hop festival in the WORLD“. Whether you are a native to AZ or a transplant yourself it’s easy to see why AZ is becoming one of the last true havens for Hip Hop culture not just the music. As Mega Ran said Arizona is “The last state to observe Martin Luther King Day as a holiday.” That’s a statement to the rest of the country that holds a lot of weight behind it. Arizona is a state that fights to hold on to what it values.
Artists from outside of Arizona flock to the desert because the “fight for what you want” mentality is here and it’s stronger than ever. Hungry artists connect with the mindset of a state that tired of being overlooked. With a platform like the AZHHF it’s easy to see why so many hungry and talented artists from near and far come here to perform and why so many end up making it their permanent residence. The Hip Hop scene in Arizona is legit and it’s rising because the growth has been as organic as it gets. Mega Ran said it best “It’s been going on for SIX YEARS now. You can’t make this up, and you can’t understate the importance of this event’s existence and importance to hip hop culture.. if you do, you might be a hater lol.”
by: Steven Sandage