Hip Hop in J-Town

Simon says of Whats Real performs at the Sickle Cell Anemia Benefit in Carthage last month. Whats Real will be playing at the Rock the Vote show at 8 p.m. tonight at The Surge. Tonights show will be free.

Simon says of What’s Real performs at the Sickle Cell Anemia Benefit in Carthage last month. What’s Real will be playing at the Rock the Vote show at 8 p.m. tonight at The Surge. Tonight’s show will be free.

Does Joplin have a “hip hop” scene?

The answer depends on your definition of hip-hop and whom you ask.

Rob White, one half of What’s Real, said it’s really more of an underground rap scene. Simon Says, the other half of What’s Real, and White don’t consider themselves rappers. They would like to be called “MCs.”

“Hip Hop was made for us to empower ourselves and to teach, and that’s not what people are doing,” White said about the majority of rap music. “I can’t respect that.”

The group is performing tonight at The Surge during a Rock the Vote event, and you can catch them at the John Q. Hammons Center in Joplin on Nov. 8 Dantley “Lil Doc Roc” Harbins, sophomore communication major and local rapper, album release party. What’s Real plan to release each of their solo projects and then the actual What’s Real album.

“This is what y’all have been waiting for,” White said. “This is real hip hop. If you’re tired of the ‘blah blah’ rap, if you want something different, if you love hip hop and you can’t find anything in Joplin that’s real enough to hit home, then this is ‘what’s real.'”

You can’t talk about hip-hop in Joplin without talking about Harbin of the D Boys.

Harbin is currently putting the final touches on his solo CD, slated for release Nov. 8. Harbin also plans to drop an album in January with guest appearances from Young Buck, possibly Lil Flip and Plies, depending on discussions on figures.

Harbin is currently signed to Yayota records on. The label helps Dantley make features from Young Buck possible, and they also get Harbin $500 for a verse on a feature and $1000 for a show. Harbin also has his own label, DocRoc Entertainment. The label is a dedication to his father (who was an area DJ and people called him DocterRoc) who passed in ’93.

J Son is currently signed to DocRoc Entertainment, and is working on the final preparations for his solo CD.

J Son is also getting ready to spend some time incarcerated. Harbin plans to release J Son’s album while he is incarcerated so the revenue can be used to help his family. Harbin plans “to be on some ‘free Pimp C’ type shit” for J Son while he is gone. When he gets home they plan to give the streets something “hot” from the D Boys.

If you ask just about any artist in Joplin about the best beats, they will tell you D Folks. Not only is he making beats, he is also making real gangster rap music.

D Folks is also a veteran when it comes to music in town. He recently collaborated with semi-local artists like Mac Chief, who is originally from Memphis and Pain, who is originally from Kansas City.

Pain’s debut album On Top of Things sold out of copies at the Discount Smokes and Liquor Store at 1804 E. Seventh. To purchase a copy you can request one on his Myspace page, myspace.com/pain8226. D Folks has also made beats for other local rappers such as J Son of the D Boys and Bobby Mac The Don, whose CD Stop Haten Get Money Its a Movement Act Like You Know vol.1 is the only local rap CD in Hastings with the exception of The Takeover by the D Boys.

The Surge Night Club in Joplin has a lot of rap shows. You can expect to see Ecco, No LUV (White Boy Water, Caton, & Lil NO) and Mr. Loyalty every week. Ecco, another veteran in the Joplin rap game, has put out more than six albums in the past two years with Guess Who’z Bacc selling more than 50,000 copies.

No LUVS’ Lil NO has his latest album, No Excuses for sale at Discount Smokes and Liquor. Mr. Loyalty can probably be found on the west side of town somewhere near 8th and Murphy, peddling his latest CD, 16 zones, with a hand “tagged” cover.

The Born Hustlaz, (RTG, Bizzy B, Rose Gold AKA Wisdom Boy, and Bobby Mac the Don) are a group of young underground rappers who have had more than three mix tapes in circulation over the past summer.

“Nobody can even compete with our mix tapes,” RTG said.

You can expect the Born Hustlaz Aggravated Hustlers album by Oct 1. RTG asked to let it be known that he has $2,000 to put up against anybody who wants to battle.

So does Joplin have a “hip hop” scene?

You be the judge. There are more local artists that were not mentioned in this article. There are actually a dozen more hip-hop artists in the area who are doing their part to help create an actual “scene” in Joplin.

Most of the local artists feel the missing ingredient to the “hip hop” scene is support. Not only support from each other, but support from the community.