New rappers compete, show off talent


A 15-year-old freshman from Peabody High School in East Liberty got the chance to rap on stage… A 15-year-old freshman from Peabody High School in East Liberty got the chance to rap on stage in front of an audience of rappers, radio hosts and college students Monday night.

Monday’s Source Concert, held in the Benedum Auditorium, was part of a series of activities that the Black Action Society is sponsoring for Black Homecoming Week.

The Peabody student, Ujamaa Walker, was one of the few people chosen to participate in a free-style rap contest during the concert. The contest included people from all around the city of Pittsburgh, and allowed people like Walker to perform on stage and show off their talents.

“I’ve been rapping since I was nine years old,” Walker said.

The concert included rappers Sonny Carson, Alchemist and Black Moon, among others. A performance by prominent rapper Memphis Bleek was also planned for the evening.

“BAS is continually trying to raise the caliber of the programs that we bring to campus,” said Lauren Evette Williams, a co-programming chair for BAS.

The event is also part of a series of appearances in the Unsigned Hype Tour, organized by The Source Magazine. The tour seeks to identify people with talent across the country.

About 10 minutes before the doors to the concert were opened, BAS received word that Memphis Bleek would not be performing at the event, because he did not get on the plane that would take him to Pittsburgh.

“It’s just ridiculous,” Fahcina Lawson, a junior at Pitt, said of the no-show by Bleek. “He has all these loyal fans and he doesn’t even have the decency to show up.”

That didn’t stop most people from coming out for the show, however, as the Benedum auditorium was packed in anticipation of the night’s events.

Even before the concert officially began, Big Noyd and Alchemist were on stage presenting works from the CDs that each will be releasing in the near future.

The free-style rap contest was next, where rappers like Walker each took sixty seconds to show their talents, after which the audience judged the performances, determining the winner.

Bleek’s absence from the events did not seem to have an adverse effect on the audience. When asked about the absence of Bleek from the concert, Walker was not disappointed.

“I’m not here to see Memphis Bleek,” he said. “I’m here to show off my talent.”