Hip-Hop Hooray

Rap conference returns to Oberlin.

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Fournos Café 6901 Rockside Road, Independence 216-834-2233; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday, 4 to 11 p.m. Saturday; Dinner service begins at 4 p.m. daily; Closed Sunday
Dresden Dolls (above) and fan, at House of Blues, - April 10. - Walter  Novak
Dresden Dolls (above) and fan, at House of Blues, April 10.
Oberlin College will host Hip-Hop Conference 2005: Political Action and Social Responsibility Wednesday, April 13, through Sunday, April 17. Featuring live performances and seminars, the conference focuses on hip-hop as a culture.

"The idea is to present a positive view of hip-hop, counter to the stereotypical image most frequently portrayed in popular media, characterized by violence, misogyny, and decadent materialism," says Aaron Merkin, president of Oberlin's Hip-Hop 101 Committee, who rhymes as Iron Solomon, Spitboxing's 2005 Battle of the Belts champion. "The conference will address and demonstrate the ways hip-hop music and culture can be utilized as mediums of self-expression and vehicles for social and political change."

Panel discussions will feature nationally recognized authors and noted deep thinkers, including University of California at Santa Cruz professor Tricia Rose, former Source executive editor Bakari Kitwana (and author of The Hip-Hop Generation: Young Blacks and the Crisis in African American Culture), and journalist Davey D. Hip-hop luminary Talib Kweli headlines a series of live events, which will include performances by Cleveland's B-boy crew Ill City Rockers and rhymer Saj Supreme. Visit www.hiphopconference.com for a full schedule. The four previous conferences have attracted visitors from across the country.

"Hip-hop encompasses visual, verbal, and musical art forms as well as styles of dress and manners of speech," says Merkin. "It's music, culture, and expression in its most raw form."

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