News: Local hip-hop community rallies behind Occupy DenverBy Sam DeLeo | November 23rd, 2011 | 4 comments
It pays to tweet. When video directors Lockerpartners noticed the recent Tweets of Denver hip-hop artist Mane Rok regarding the Occupy movement, they decided to approach him about a possible collaboration. They couldn’t have made a much better choice for the task.
“Through my work as part of L.I.F.E. Crew — the 14 man hip-hop crew — it was in my background to round up a group of artists and put a project together,” said Mane Rok in a recent phone interview. In short order, he brought on board some of the best and brightest from Denver’s hip-hop community: Dyalekt, Bravo One, Kalyn Heffernan of Wheelchair Sports Camp, Aja Black and Jonny 5 of the Flobots. “I reached out to various artists I both work with and admire, as well as going beyond those lines (and) reaching out to others I knew supported the movement and also represented the 99 percent.”
The video “99th Problem” opens and closes with comments made by former Florida congressman Alan Grayson on the “Real Time with Bill Maher” show recently. In between is a series of stirring performances from the above-mentioned artists shot amid lines of riot police in Denver’s Civic Center and through protest marches downtown.
“Occupy, as many have noted, is kind of a blanket movement for a series of issues that we (as a) nation face,” said Mane Rok. “It’s no longer the cries and moans of the disenfranchised, under-privileged American minority — these are issues that we all, the 99 percent, face. This is an awakening of the average American, realizing that there is a very minute amount of folks controlling our money, lives and politics.”
In addition to the video, Mane Rok is also involved with a series of weekly song releases about the movement. Look for the next release, by Denver-based artist Molina, in a special edition of Steal This Track on Wednesday, Nov. 30.
Denver-based writer Sam DeLeo is a published poet, has seen two of his plays produced and is currently finishing his second novel.