Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The First Talking Shop With Nina Parks on

Hip hop is a 38-year-old cultural institution with its roots firmly planted in South Bronx, initially filling a void left in the spirit of the community after the creation of the Cross Bronx Expressway in 1971. Imagine if San Francisco wanted to build an expressway from City Hall to Golden Gate Park. It would plow through Hayes Valley, Fillmore and some of the Richmond district, dividing the communities further, lowering property value, driving out businesses and home owners, leaving only an impoverished community behind. Hip hops' creation in the New York borough’s despair innovated a new approach to life, creating a new style and swagger in the process. Now 38 years later, it has extended itself into American business, with Russell Simmons and Diddy at the forefront, dealing in music, fashion, and lifestyle, evolving hip hop from the street corner to a house on the hill.

As a child Anthony Marshall found inspiration in the rap game. Seeing individuals like Andre Harrell, Russell Simmons and Puffy pushed him to have big dreams as well, aspiring to be the youngest entrepreneur in the music industry. In 1991, when Ant was 15, he and his friend Danny Castro founded the now legendary Lyricist Lounge. Starting in a little loft space on the Lower East side of Manhattan, a young Ant Marshall and his partner unknowingly took the first steps to achieving their dreams. Seventeen years later, Ant reflects on what that experience meant to him. "Something happens when you give people space. If people don't have space, they don't have anywhere to go to create. Someone gave us a space and we did something with it, now you fast forward and we're still in it," he says.

Ant has now moved west, working as a host and producer for Current TV while teaching a class, The Art and Business of Hip-Hop, at San Francisco State University. I was able to sit down with this busy man and the fellas at West Side Cuts in the Fillmore to discuss the progress and state of hip hop as a business.

Check out the interview at

No comments: