Despite promising a boutique hip hop event headlined by rap luminary Talib Kweli that would buck Australia’s supposed ‘hip hop curse’, the Rap City 2013 mini-festival has been cancelled, just weeks out from its October kick-off.
Arriving off the back of his latest release Prisoner Of Conscious, Kweli was to headline the Rap City 2013 bill topped by Stones Throw MC Homeboy Sandman and New Orleans rapper Trademark Da Skywriter through Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane, and Sydney in the lead-up to the Queens Birthday long weekend, but the event has been entirely scrapped, as FasterLouder points out.
There has not been an official statement from festival organisers as to the reason for the cancellation at the time of publication.
UPDATE: Rap City 2013 promoters issued a statement this afternoon that reads:
The promoters of Rap City regret to announce that Rap City 2013 will not be going ahead over the October Labour Day long weekend, due to unforseen complications with scheduling that were beyond control. However, in the coming weeks Australian solo dates for Talib Kweli, Homeboy Sandman and Trademark Da Skydiver will be announced.
We sincerely apologise for the disappointment to anyone who currently has a ticket to Rap City. Full refunds can be obtained from the place of purchase.
Stay tuned for solo tour announcements coming soon!
The Rap City event hasn’t been without its troubles. After first launching in 2010 with a lineup that feature DJ Premier of Gang Starr and Masta Ace, but the 2011 edition of Rap City was called off. The hip hop mini-festival returned last year, with a lineup that featured DOOM and Wu Tang Clan’s Ghostface Killah.
Rap City promoter Trent Roden told FasterLouder in April that he was keen for the event to grow naturally as a smaller scale festival with international drawcards. “The idea is a boutique concept event with merchandise, visuals and quality hip-hop acts so if we can maintain that focus we will grow it when and where we can,” he said. “We are happy to continue the brand and excited to see where it can lead in the future for us.”
Despite treading to avoid the major pitfalls faced by other promoters and bookers with their own hip hop tours which have had an extremely patchy track record in Australia of late, Rap City has now been added to the toll of failed hip hop events.
Live Nation’s inaugural Movement hip hop festival, curated by rap legend Nas, was cancelled in April following a string of problems in the lead-up to the April event, with the all-ages Supafest – which was set to compete with Movement – announcing its own postponement amidst controversy over being dumped by venues and owing ticket-holders refunds.
More recent debacles that have shown hip hop is a risky business Down Under include Urban Vibe, billed as “the biggest hip-hop event Mildura had ever seen,” that had the plug pulled hours before its kick-off after most of the lineup failed to show up.
Likewise, Coolio’s recent Australian Tour that fell apart the day before it was to commence, abruptly “postponed”, reportedly due to unforeseen circumstances with the ‘Gangsta’s Paradise’ hit-maker’s visa. Neither story is anything new, with last year seeing Aussie hip hop tour debacles involving Flo Rida, Mos Def (nee Yasiin), and the ongoing legal stoush between the promoters of Fat As Butter Festival and Flo Rida over the rapper’s 2011 no-show, which climaxed in promoters Mothership Music entering into voluntary liquidation after losing the court case against Flo Rida.
Many would be forgiven for thinking that there’s some credence to the ‘hip hop curse’, but the promoter of the stricken Heatwave festival called it all superstition, becoming an unlikely defender in the wake of the embattled Supafest and cancelled Movement festival announcements in April.
“Hip-Hop as a genre [shouldn’t] be pigeon holed as impossible to tour or pull off in the format of a festival in Australia,” wrote Patrick Whyntie in a long-winded open letter that signposted his intentions to sue D12 after citing the Eminem-associate rap group for being responsible for spectacular financial crash of Heatwave.
Rap City 2013 Dates & Tickets
MELBOURNE – Thursday October 3 @ The Hi-Fi PERTH – Friday October 4 @ Villa BRISBANE – Saturday October 5th @ The Hi-Fi SYDNEY – Sunday (Long Weekend) October 6 @ The Hi-Fi