It’s been a gloomy summer full of rain, school, and trying to get my money up at work every weekend. But this Saturday I chose to call off, grab my camera and head to the first annual 2×2 Hip-Hop Festival in Columbus, ran by Josh Miller.
Initially I just wanted to check it out and get some cool pictures, but attending this event ended up being a highlight of my summer. I arrived as soon as it began and was unsure of what to expect. It didn’t take long for me to realize that I didn’t want to miss a second of the action and I ended up staying until the very end.
It was held at Rice Paddy Motorcycles, which was a perfect location picked by Josh. There were motorcycles and random bike parts everywhere which added a very cool edge to the scene. Right when you walk in there’s a “Dock Stage” where multiple MC’s and DJ’s performed throughout the day and around the corner there were food trucks, sponsors, vendors, and even a tent where anybody could grab the mic and freestyle.
The event included rappers, DJ’s, B-boys and girls, and Graffiti artists. There were numerous blank canvases for the artists, including the entire outside wall of the building and another wall inside the vicinity. It was amazing to see the progression of the pieces throughout the day. My favorite part by far was the B-boy battles. I never would have thought I would get so hype watching these B-boys and girls duke it out.
The battles were held in a small, enclosed brick area that was roofless. 32 B-boys from various cities came to battle each other, and they were also of all ages. Youngins definitely weren’t excluded from the fun. The energy inside that room during every battle was electric. Everybody was so into it, watching their every move and screaming with joy when they did something amazing.
In between battles several rappers took the mic and spit some of their best songs. This kept the energy up but also gave people a chance to just sit back and enjoy the music. I was very happy with the performances. Nes Wordz ended the night with a performance that was so hype I felt like I was at an underground show in NYC or something. After a long day, Columbus native Kayin Glover aka “Sketch” was crowned the B-boy champion and got to walk away with a $300 value tattoo prize and a $250 cash prize from one of the sponsors, High Street Tattoo.
The best part of this festival was that it brought together so many different people with unique passions and connected us all. Whether you were there to perform on the stage, make art, or just be a bystander you felt comfortable and were able to converse with the most interesting and diverse group of people. Josh definitely knew what he was doing when he put this event together, and I’m glad he did because it showed me a side of the Columbus culture that I’ve never seen before and can’t wait to see more of!
Photographer: Anna Maconachy