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Artists rhyme, mix at SLC hip-hop event
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2010, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Cloudy skies and cool temperatures did not deter a lively atmosphere Sunday at Pioneer Park.

The sixth "Doin' It At the Park" event attracted musicians, artists, break dancers and spectators. Aerosol artists painted large plywood boards while '70s funk and soul music played and musicians chatted.

The "park jam" and others like it create opportunities for Salt Lake City's hip hop community to meet and share and showcase music and art, said Chase Jensen, event organizer and proprietor of the hip-hop store Uprok on State Street in Salt Lake City.

"We all know each other through music," Jensen said. "I just decided we should have something like this. It's how hip-hop started with kids doing DJing in the park."

The portable plywood graffiti boards are large enough for multiple artists to work on simultaneously and are taken to every event Jensen organizes.

Salt Lake City sculptor and aerosol artist Benjamin Wiemeyer has attended every "Doin' It At the Park" event since its beginning.

Wiemeyer said he continues attending "Doin' It At the Park" and other events Jensen organizes to talk with members of the tight-knit hip-hop artist community.

"It's good for the subculture," he said. "People can come out and enjoy good music and be outside. It's creative expression in its good form."

Musicians like 19-year-old Deyshawn Thomas Chapman, of Salt Lake City, attend such events not only to meet other musicians but also to share "independent hip-hop."

Chapman started performing by attending Cypher, a freestyle circle that meets at the amphitheater at the Salt Lake City Public Library on Thursdays. Ruddy Carpel organized Cypher through a Facebook page called "Salt Lake Area Hip Hop Network" and it grew from there.

"We want it to be all-inclusive," Carpel said. "It will transform people."

Musicians who attend Cypher have priorities and subject matter different from mainstream hip-hop, Chapman said.

"We don't do it to be famous," he said. "We do hip-hop because we love it."

Mark Baker, Chapman's friend and fellow hip-hop musician, said places like Salt Lake City aren't in the spotlight of hip-hop and events like "Doin' It At the Park" allow musicians to embrace their community and portray a positive image.

"As hip-hop artists, the second you meet each other, we put our differences aside," Baker said. "We're building off dedicated artists willing to sacrifice regular life for the greater good. When we step into our personas we've created for ourselves, there's no limits."

Chapman and Baker said music's influence on people is powerful, and while they might never get record deals, they want to reach out to young people with music.

"Hopefully, I can change a lot of kids' minds," Chapman said.

mhereford@sltrib.com" Target="_BLANK">mhereford@sltrib.com

Music » Park jam gives musicians an opportunity to share and express.
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