by Charles Nugent
arts & life editor
From January 10th to the 17th, local artists gathered in Jackson to put on the first ever Jackson Indie Music Week. Independent artists of many different genres, including hip-hop, blues and alternative, were given the opportunity to showcase their talents all around Jackson. Some of the popular venues included OffBeat, Duling Hall, Big Sleepy’s and Thalia Mara Hall, which hosted the Jackson Hip-Hop Awards to end the week.
On Saturday, January 16, OffBeat hosted a hip-hop showcase that included solo hip-hop artists, groups and producers. The lineup consisted of local rappers M.D.O.T.T. (not the Mississippi Department of Transportation) and Antwone Perkins, followed by the group Scraper Gang. Although the event started at 7 p.m., most of the crowd did not arrive until closer to 8. Since OffBeat is such a small venue, it presented a good opportunity for the artists to get involved with the crowd and connect with them. At one point, as Antwone Perkins performed his song “Music Avenue,” he laid down in the middle of the floor singing the chorus, “When I die bury me on Music Avenue.”
Millsaps alumnus Alex Fraser was among the group of new local artists that played at the new venue Big Sleepy’s, and felt the weeklong event was a great step for Jackson. “It felt like the beginning of something really important for the musical community,” Fraser said. He also commented on the sense of camaraderie between artists and promoters, noting the many new connections this event helped him make. Fraser said, “The Indie Music Week not only connected artists with the public, but also connected artists with other artists.” Fraser seemed optimistic, promising that “if it happens again next year, you can bet that it will be bigger than before.”