This weekend marks the debut of a new Cincinnati Hip Hop festival, Overcast, which goes down Friday and Saturday at Northside’s Urban Artifact. The bar/brewery in a former church is fresh off of its successful two-day, multi-genre Bewilderfest event (check out some photos from the event here).
For many Hip Hop fans throughout the region and beyond, the words “Cincinnati Hip Hop festival” instantly conjures memories of Scribble Jam, the legendary locally-based festival that began in the mid-’90s and ran through the 2000s, emerging as one of the most popular underground Hip Hop events in the Midwest. From its lineup to its programming (including various “battles”), Overcast is definitely in the same wheelhouse as Scribble Jam and something of a tribute to its legacy. This year marks 10 years since the final Scribble Jam.
One of the top-of-the-poster performers at Overcast is Cincinnati Hip Hop legend Mr. Dibbs, who formed the DJ crew 1200 Hobos in the early ’90s and went on to work with Rhymesayers Entertainment artists like Atmosphere and a pre-Run the Jewels El-P. Dibbs was also a co-founder of Scribble Jam.
Dibbs recently made headlines in the international music press when Run the Jewels released “Run the Dibbs,” a mix of their sounds created by the Cincinnati Hip Hop DJ/producer. Dibbs has been known to join RtJ on stage in recent years and “Run the Dibbs” is a sprawling, head-spinning collage that recasts their music in his crafty, estimable style.
In an email sent out to Run the Jewels mailing list subscribers with a link to the free download, the duo called the “purpose” of Dibbs’ mix, “a reinterpretation where rules don’t apply, pitch becomes a weapon and production standards don’t exist.”
“The man goes way back with us and has been a heavyweight in the DJ/turntablist scene for years,” the email continued. “If you don’t know, we highly suggest you get acquainted.”
Along with Eyenine and Dope KNife (a Georgia MC signed to Strange Famous Records, the label founded by Scribble vet Sage Francis), Dibbs is joined at the top of the Overcast poster by another performer whose roots wrap around the base of the Scribble Jam family tree — Columbus, Ohio’s Blueprint, who competed in the Scribble MC battles and also performed at both the fest and its 2005 coast-to-coast tour, which help establish him as one of Ohio’s all-time greats.
Blueprint’s latest release is Two-Headed Monster, which includes guests like Slug and Aceyalone. Check out the latest single/video from the album, “Don’t Look Back.”
Blueprint headlines Overcast Friday and Dibbs tops the lineup Saturday.
The rest of the Overcast lineup is heavy on local Hip Hop artists. Greater Cincinnati performers include Raised x Wolves, Sons of Silverton, Eugenius, Audley, Xzela & Luna Bruja, Haskell, Trademark Aaron, Devin Burgess, Evolve and Triiibe, among many others. The fest will also feature plenty of non-locals, like Nashville’s Spoken Nerd, Milwaukee’s Taiyamo Denku, Philly’s ialive and Columbus’ Hafrican and Happy Tooth & Dug.
Overcast was created by the locally-based Grasshopper Juice Records, which was co-founded by musician Nick Mitchell, aka Hip Hop producer/DJ Juan Cosby, who is also the force behind the annual AYE Music & Art Festival. Juan Cosby will perform at Overcast with his various projects, including Counterfeit Money Machine and his collaboration with the duo WeirDose.
Overcast also features a “B-Boy Battle” and a Rap battle hosted by Noah I Mean of the famed Cincy DJ ensemble Animal Crackers, plus an open-mic cypher led by Stallitix, Senseless, Ronin and Audley.
Below is the full schedule for of Overcast events for Friday and Saturday.