$18 in advance/$20 at the door

10:30pm doors/11pm showtime


Hosted by Big Wiz and Niles






Pete Rock:



Pete Rock was born in the birthplace of hip hop—the Boogie Down Bronx, and raised IN MONEY Earnin’ Mount Vernon. Music was a constant for the young man who would get his START supporting Marley Marl in the mix on WBLS at the age of 16. Inspired by the Godfather of Soul. Driven to put his own soul on record. Destined to nourish the souls of any and all within earshot. When a Pete Rock production comes on, it doesn’t matter if you’re Kanye West or an everyday fan in Amsterdam: you will be changed.


Pete Rock is among the most beloved music men in hip hop. He is loved like a brother by the world’s best-known producers. All the hitmakers who flex competitive MUSCLE in rap’s arena all acknowledge that when it comes to Pete, there is no competition. Pete is equally lauded by musicians and recording artists. Pete was brought into the rap GAME by the late great Heavy D, his cousin. His bond with CL Smooth gave the world three classic albums: All Souled OutMecca & The Soul Brother and The Main Ingredient. He has joined musical forces and toured with legends as different from one another as Roy Ayers and DJ Premier. As producer, he has recorded several albums that expand and deepen the mosaic of hip hop music, confirming him as an artist in his own right. Solidifying him as a global treasure to lovers of modern Black music worldwide.


Eleven albums spanning a 22 year recording career that includes a GRAMMY® win for Rap Album of The Year (for his contribution to Kanye West’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy). 25 years of DJing, producing and remixing. Career album sales at 25 million and growing.  Production for 31 artists crossing 5 genres: hip hop (The Notorious B.I.G., Public Enemy) R&B (Mary J. Blige, TLC, Monica) Rock (Mick Jagger), Pop (Madonna, Lady Gaga) and jazz (Robert Glasper). Dozens of remixes, some of which eclipsed the original songs in popularity. His latest project, 80 Blocks From Tiffany’s, a collaborative mixtape with Camp Lo, posted over 100,000 DOWNLOADS, streams and plays in less than 3 months.  Touring on 6 of 7 continents. And when there’s a party on Antarctica, Pete Rock will either be asked to spin—or be played by the DJ who does.


His name answers the question of who has the illest baselines, horn blares, and ad-libs on the hip hop boards. His blend of jazz, soul, and rap music unites people across race, class, gender, nationality, and geography—Pete Rock has never been part of hip hop beef.  He greets one and all with a pound, a smile, a snapshot or an autograph, grounded regardless of all his accomplishments. His sound laid the foundation for how rap songs are structured, how remixes are measured, and how crowds are moved. And now, there is a destination to house all of his greatness and experience his craftsmanship; a central place for all things Pete Rock. Welcome to PeteRock.com. You are here.

Thembisa S. Mshaka (@putyrdreams1st) is a filmmaker and the author of Put Your Dreams First: Handle Your [entertainment] Business (Hachette). She met Pete Rock during her tenure as Rap Editor at GAVIN in 1994.




Sun & La:


Sun Chi Som and T La Shawn, both Minneapolis based artists, have combined forces as Sun & La. Thier first golden era inspired project together, Ill Collage, was birthed in a hospital room where T La Shawn had just undergone emergency heart surgery and almost died. Sun began bringing in his gear and crafting tunes for T La to write to and recover with in hopes of producing an EP. The two soon discovered they had a solid musical chemistry and decided to make a full length project. It is entirely produced by Sun Chi Som and there are no other vocalist besides T La Shawn. The pair, both heavily influenced by NYC Hiphop, felt it was important to focus on giving the listener an experience similar to one that might have taken place in the 90's before features and guest appearances were commonplace. Both have a love for their crafts of crate-digging beat making and emceeing in their purest forms. Order or pick up your physical copy now from Fifth Element OR Download now






Espada (aka Damien Vasquez) has been a mainstay in the Minneapolis DJ community since the late 90s. He came up with notable Rhymesayers artists Atmosphere, Brother Ali, Eyedea & Abilities and was one of the original DJs of RSE Radio. Espada also was involved in some of the seminal hip-hop and dance nights of the scene—notably Rhymesayers’ "Essential Elements" and "Let's Get Electric" with Mike the 2600 King along with helping co-found the Wants Vs. Needs party and crew.  

Espada brings a deep mix of hip-hop, funk, soul, and disco to the table while maintaining an ear to contemporary dance music while playing at venues across the country. He’s opened for Mos Def, Mayer Hawthorn and DJ Shadow and DJ Maseo of De La Soul just to name a few. The legendary First Avenue night club called upon Espada to DJ the all night tribute to Prince and currently has his dj residence of 15yrs.






Kanser is Big Zach (New MC), Unicus Harry, Alicia Steel, DJ Gabe Garcia

Kanser was established in 1995 making Hip Hop music for underground heads. Originally a 12 man crew while Zach and Unicus remain as original members. Kanser has released numerous albums which can be found on ITunes and various streaming platforms. Currently Zach and Unicus have been in the lab recording songs hoping to have a release summer of 2018.




Hakim Bey:


Rewriting the rules of Hip Hop and Calling it Sotahop Mr Bey is virtually unparalleled. His flow is smooth and liquid he is a pioneer of mafioso unapologetic/reality/hardcore
content and multisyllabic rhyming Most of his lyrics focus on controversial issues in global politics.inflected with coldfusion rhythms and carried off with an intelligent cool that makes it sound as though he’s not even breaking a sweat. He raised the bar for MC technique,and writing intricately crafted lyrics packed with outspoken stance on issues of Justice and Human Dignity clever word choices and metaphors political, socioeconomic and cultural
suffering in urban life, as well as a declaration of hope and possibility for a brighter future. The views expressed in his lyrics are largely  commentary on issues such as class struggle, socialism, poverty, religion, government, imperialism and institutional racism.Coming of age at the height of Minnesota crack epidemic in the 1980s, a young Hakim Bey found himself
surrounded by violence, addiction and crime. Yet even as a child, Hakim bey was determined to overcome the circumstances of his upbringing:Despite the dangers surrounding him, a young hakim bey managed to survive of violence and drugs, pursuing a different path to prosperity through now he takes that colored past and piants lyrics pictures of the struggle like a basic intrution before living earth






Chadwick "Niles" Phillips was born and raised in Lansing, MI. He is the CEO/Founder of The Avant Garde, LLC. He is also a renaissance man within the world of the arts. He is a hip-hop artist, director, producer, actor, host, motivational speaker and teacher of his own curriculum entitled "Hip-Hop, History and The Arts". He graduated from Michigan State University in 2006 with a Bachelors in Communications. After graduation he moved to New York City to pursue a career in music, film and education. He is the son of the legendary jazz/symphony orchestra bassist Sam Gill.

Upon moving to NYC he accomplished the following: He won the "Who's Next"/HOT 97 Talent Search in 2006 which enabled him to release a single on Major Label/Koch Records, won the Harlem Rapathon contest, performed in HOT 97 Summer Jam (07', 08'), opened up for artists like Talib Kweli, KRS One, DJ Premiere vs. DJ Scratch (Summer set 08'), Raekwon (Wu-Tang) and many more, He worked in film for BET News (transcriber/Production Assistant), CBS (Broadcast Associate), MTV (Production Assistant/"The Real World Brooklyn"), a production assistant for major movies ("Julie and Julia", "Sorcerer's Apprentice") and NYC Fashion week (Camera Assistant/Fashion Television Canada). 

Upon moving to the Twin Cities he hosted the legendary "Poet's Groove" open mic in Minneapolis for 2 and a half years along with many high profile events throughout the Twin Cities. He founded his curriculum "Hip-Hop, History and The Arts" and started teaching it at schools all around the Twin Cities. His curriculum has released 2 youth music recording projects ("The Next Move" album with the "High School for Recording Arts" and the "My Generation" EP with FAIR School Downtown). With The Avant Garde he's presented successful events at the Bedlam Lowertown, Como Dockside, The Dakota Jazz Club and The State Theater. He will be releasing his debut album entitled "To Remain" in 2016. 






Big Wiz, aka Nic Swisher, was born and raised in South Side Mpls. He has lived in MN all his life. He's been a Hip Hop student since the 80's. Wiz, as his good friends call, him started free style'n in the basement with Lyrical Productions and linked up with SP Styles in the late 90's, when he had just begun writing, recording and performing. Around 2000 he formed a group with life-long friend Tony Bones. He released his solo album, Words of Wizdom, to much fanfare in the first quarter 2009.

In 2002 he formed Long Doe Records, LLC. Together they built a strong presence in our local music scene and are ever expanding. Since starting they have independently produced 9 full length albums, 15 music videos, had features in magazine like WWS & 4Seen, done a number of local radio appearances , opened for a plethora of major artists, and peformed many major artist song features. They have secured a large arsenal under their belt working with the best producers, engineers, graphic artists, directors, photographers, club owners, the list goes on... all on an independent level.

He has seen a few accolades in his time on the scene: Big Wiz & Tony Bones received the best white rapper award in the First Annual Twin City Hip hop awards (2008). He was nominated for best album in the second annual Twin City Hip Hop Awards (2009), He received the 'Minneapolis Mayor' award in the 3rd Annual Twin City Hip Hop Awards (2010). A big photo shoot of the local Hip Hop legends will be featured permanently in the Minneapolis Art Institute. He has worked with names like Triple Seis of Terror Squad fame, a number of the Chicago legends like Twista, Do Or Die, Grammy award winning R&B singer Johnny P., Psychodrama, Devin the Dude, platinum selling artist Bizzy Bone and many more.




Ma Dukes:

(Dilla's mother)


Maureen Yancey-Smith also affectionately known internationally as "Ma Dukes" is the mother of two talented sons, by the name of John Yancey aka "ILLA J" and the late James Dewitt Yancey aka Jay Dee (J Dilla). Her household was built on the basis of Love, Art, Soul and Music. Her oldest son James Dewitt Yancey is acclaimed as one of the most prolific artist and producers of Hip Hop, Neo Soul, Jazz and other genres of music. 

Ma Dukes has always believed in her children's early developments of becoming up and coming artist. She noticed that her son James, had the ability to pick up different instruments and master them at an very young age. Through her own experiences this has inspired and motivated her to create a foundation in honor of her sons name.


The J Dilla foundation was changed to the James Dewitt Yancey Foundation in January 2015 to honor her son for his legacy and to coincide with the induction into the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture. Ma Dukes has dedicated her life to the upliftment of youth and encouraging their interest in education through music and the arts. Ma Dukes is an advocate of the Hip-Hop Education Center@ NYU. Ma Dukes and the J Dilla foundation was presented with the "Extra Credit Award" for "Best National Organization in 2015.

The James Dewitt Yancey foundation has expanded with chapters in Minnesota, Atlanta, Chicago, London, Australia and Orlando. Madukes is currently in the process of establishing foundation ties in Puerto Rico where she currently resides.

There are many gifted children in our midst and the charge is ours to take notice and believe in the special gifts that our youth behold. " Where you see the need the responsibility becomes yours"  This was a gift of phrase that I was blessed with many years ago by the late Katherine Fitzgerald, it's truth shall forever bear witness.


If we don't take charge of opening doors for our youth, their future will always be at risk. The mission is very simple: It's  for and about the Children! The James Dewitt Yancey Foundation and all it's members will strive to make a better tomorrow for todays youth. Ma Dukes is at work daily in keeping the legacy alive.

Ma Dukes is working diligently on her next issue of her children's book: The Life Story of James Dewitt Yancey v2. Also finishing her memoirs that will be available on her son's next birthday celebration. She has also established an official online store for her son at jdillamerch.com