Hip-hop benefit for Interstate 35W collapse

Hip-hop concert series aims to raise money for the victims and heroes of the I-35W bridge collapse

Who said hip-hop was all about shameless self-promotion and greed?

In an outpouring of support following the collapse of the Interstate 35W bridge Aug. 1, the Twin Cities hip-hop community quickly gathered together a group of shows around Minneapolis to raise money for the victims and heroes of that tragic event.

A Time to Build

What: Hip-Hop Fundraiser featuring Trama, EMS, True High Class, I.L.I.C.I.T., DJ Verb X and more
WHEN: 9 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 6
WHERE: 7th Street Entry, 29 N. 7th Street, Minneapolis
TICKETS: $7, 18-plus, www.first-avenue.com

Navarro, a local musician and organizer, said he decided something needed to be done within hours of hearing about the catastrophe.

As the news flew from person to person, Remo Williamz, a local rapper, was surfing MySpace at his mother’s horse ranch near Cambridge, Minn. He said he received bulletins on the networking Web site looking for missing people and also started getting bulletins from other hip-hop artists and community insiders about pulling together a benefit concert.

So overwhelming was the response from artists and venues, Navarro said, that he was able to organize four concerts instead of the single concert that was originally planned.

The last of these concerts is Thursday at First Avenue’s 7th Street Entry. Ill E. Gal, half of the MC duo True High Class, who is on the bill for Thursday’s show, said she and Miss Tress jumped at the opportunity to help out.

“If there is anything I can do with my music to help the families and people in the hospital, I’ll jump on that,” she said.

Navarro said attendance to the first concert, held at the Dinkytowner Café on Aug. 17, was impressive.

“We didn’t have the flyers in time, so everyone who came to that first concert was through word-of-mouth,” he said.

Although attendance to the second concert at the Foundation on Aug. 26 and the third, which was Sunday at the Red Sea, was not as good as he had hoped, he said everyone who came demonstrated the love and support of the hip-hop community.

“I hope more people show up,” Remo said while waiting outside the Red Sea on Sunday night. “But even if there are just a few, those are the people who really love this community and really love hip-hop.”

Ill E. Gal said she hoped attendance to Thursday’s show would be large, since everyone has a “close call” story.

“I don’t know why but I was really affected by it,” she said. “I mean, everyone uses that bridge every day. I used it all the time.”

Komplete Da Supreme, who opened with KB and Knamelezz at Sunday’s show, had the news hit close to home. He lost his high school football coach in the accident.

His partner KB was quick to point out that, while Komplete knows the loss more personally, everyone in Minnesota was affected by the collapse.

“We’ve gotta think about everyone that lost their life,” he said. “And everyone that survived because I bet they still have nightmares about it. People somewhere are still crying about a loved one who died.”