Free conference?! Did someone say a FREE conference?! How good can it be? Well, the inaugural Made in the DMV Conference challenged that very question.
On a very rainy Saturday of December 6th, 2014, DMV’s elite music artists, producers, DJs, executives, media, and supporters, came out to the first Made in the DMV Conference (which was put together by Will Rap 4 Food & I Got it 4 Free). The conference (held at the R.I.S.E. Demonstration Center in SE DC) was a melting pot of uplifting, empowerment, education and networking. The conference kicked-off bright and early (at 9am) with a Town Hall meeting, featuring a powerful panel of local community leaders and philanthropists, including Will Rap 4 Food CEO, Pro’Verb, Santa Cause Philanthropist, Mo Betta, community activist, Tony Lewis, Jr, and Dreamswork Inc. leader, Dan Bradley.
After the Town Hall meeting, there were a wide array of panel discussions, as well as interactive workshops. The workshops (which were led by a Who’s Who’s of the local and national music industry) ranged from Record Breakers DJ (covering the secrets to success as a DJ and as an artist trying to break through on the radio), to Writing Your Story: New Leaders Writers/Bloggers Panel (in 2 parts), to Deal or No Deal (covering being an indie artist vs. being signed to a label), to Evolution of the DMV Music Panel (which discussed the various reasons why some DMV artists have broken through to mainstream thus far – vs those that have not but probably should have – and what we as a community can do to help our local artists to achieve success beyond the DMV).
The interactive workshops included photography, videography, production, engineering, as well as PR techniques (which was led by 2 of the event’s organizers, Angela Byrd – I Got it 4 Free – and Natasha Brown – Think Brown Ink).
After the conference portion wrapped, everyone had just enough time to rest a bit from all of the serious dialogue, freshen up & head to Cafe Asia for The Show, which is where everything came to life! This portion started with the Producer’s Showcase, which was hosted by the always energetic Paperboy Prince of the Suburbs. The tracks, which featured beats from local DMV producers, definitely turned up the crowd, and got this portion of the party started off right! Next up, was the Artist Showcase, which featured both rappers & singers of local area talent. The judges from both segments included from WPGC 95.5, DJ Heat, from MTV News & Sway in the Morning, Rob Markman, Baltimore Hip Hop Journalist, Jay Holzman, and host of PUV Radio on Blis.FM, Ms. Kitten.
Kerim the DJ blessed the speakers with some unlikely, but dope, mixes during the transition to our featured local artist performances. PUV Radio hosts Ms. Kitten & Jus Paul hosted the featured performances and kept the crowd live! Backed by The Legendary Cloud 9 band as the house band, the local hip hop performances included the likes of Laelo, Jacob Sinatra, Black Cobain, Pinky Killacorn & Visto. Needless to say, this became one of THE biggest DMV Hip Hop concerts of the year, to date!
When we checked-in with Pro’Verb, he noted that “this was only the 2nd full-out concert that [Will Rap 4 Food] has done thus far”, and he was “surprised that there was a crowd of people to come out to the conference, AND to have a crowd of people to show up [at The Show] too…it [was] amazing”!
For all of these reasons, and more, if you did NOT make it out this year, you SHOULD NOT miss Made in the DMV next year! Also, to see what you may have missed this year (and for more details about next year), be sure to follow @MadeInTheDMV, @WillRap4Food & @IGotIt4Free, and show some love/support to OUR DMV artists, producers, DJ, and media, also.