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McNally Smith and Hip-Hop In the News and On the Stage

“Toki Wright: Ready for his Close Up” is the headline of a Minneapolis Star Tribune feature on the emcee, community organizer and, as the story points out, newly-minted educator. The story previews the May 24 Soundset ‘09 festival at which Wright performs and hosts. The wide-ranging article by Chris Riemenschneider also discusses Toki’s debut CD release on the Rhymesayers label coming out on June 9, as well as the new Hip-Hop Diploma program at McNally Smith. Soundset ’09, a high profile outdoor hip-hop Festival held at Canterbury Park in Shakopee, MN, also features Heiruspecs (whose bandleader is McNally Smith’s own Sean McPherson on bass), Brother Ali (for whom Toki Wright also serves as hype man), Atmosphere, P.O.S. and others.

The St. Paul Pioneer Press also featured hip-hop news involving McNally Smith. Ross Raihala’s column on local music discussed the upcoming Hip-Hop Diploma Kickoff concert being held by McNally Smith at the History Theatre. The free concert, which features Doomtree, Toki Wright, Big Quarters and comments by Davey D, will be held on June 6. For more information click here. Raihala also spotlighted Toki’s upcoming CD release in the column.

City Pages also covered the hip-hop scene in the May 20 edition, with an A-List pick for the Soundset ’09 festival. The issue also included a feature article on the group Big Quarters (who will be performing at McNally Smith’s Hip-Hop Diploma Kickoff concert). Big Quarters were also covered in the Star Tribune article that featured Toki Wright.

In addition to McNally Smith’s Hip Hop Diploma Kickoff concert, other upcoming events include the McNally Smith Hip-Hop Workshop from June 27 to July 2, 2009. Sean McPherson will head up the workshop, and other instructors will include Toki Wright, Medium Zach and Brandon Allday of Big Quarters, Jeff Lathrop (DJ Judo), Joe Mabbott (producer/engineer for Atmosphere and many others), and spoken word artist and educator Frank Sentwali. The workshop features instructor demonstrations and Q&A sessions, recording sessions and side trips to Twin Cities Hip Hop landmarks for a full week of instruction, insight and career guidance. The week ends with a final performance and a CD documenting each participant’s creations. For more information on the Hip-Hop Workshop, click here.