When the Jinx closed in 2020, it took one of the last traces of live rap music in downtown Savannah with it; the legendary Hip Hop Night. For more than fifteen years, Steven Baumgardener, better known as Basik Lee, hosted the beacon of local hip hop that gave voice to artists in the city who would have otherwise been silenced.
“Over the years, when we first started doing Hip Hop Night, there was a bad view of hip hop in town,” recalled Lee. “A lot of venues were not about having too many acts.”
Hip Hop Night created a space for rappers, emcees, DJ’s and producers to showcase their goods in a scene that was dominating the national music charts, but that was barely present in Savannah’s own live-music scene. The Jinx became its weekly home.
Now, after a nearly two-year hiatus, the revamped Hip Hop Nite (as it is now spelled) is returning, this time at one of Savannah’s blooming venues, Victory North.
“The plan at Victory North is still the same setup: freestyles, emc battles, track battles, but there are some major differences,” explained Lee.
First, Hip Hop Nite will only be once a month, every first Tuesday. Second, a cover has been added to cover the cost of the venue. Third, and probably the biggest change, people as young as 13-years-old can attend so long as they have a parent or guardian present (as is the case for anyone under the age of 18 attending).
In regards to the 21 and under addition, Lee contends that it will help fill a large gap that even existed when Hip Hop Night was in its early years.
“Hip hop is really a college crowd,” explained Lee. “It’s expressive in a way that reaches a younger crowd and is usually expressed by a younger crowd.”
Lee recalls the challenge of reaching those younger generations when everything was 18 and up in Savannah, and later changed to 21 and up.
“There was just a huge gap,” he said.
With that gap now hopefully filled, attendees can expect to see some familiar faces and well as a showcase of new, local talent, including rappers, emc’s, producers, DJ’s, and maybe even some live painters and break-dancers thrown into the mix.
Doors will open at 7 p.m., with mics opening at 8 p.m. According to Lee, things will close down around 11 p.m. (another big change for the night that used to not get started until midnight).
An important note that Lee wants everyone to know is that he needs support in order for this staple to continue once again.
“Nothing is permanent anymore,” said Lee. “I need the community. If they show up and show out, I’m going to have a lot more stuff to present in the future.”
Visit facebook.com/hiphopnightvictorynorth for more info.