McNally Smith College of Music’s Live at Five concert series is kicking off its 2013 programming with a bang. And so is its first guest of the new year — emcee/educator/community organizer Toki Wright. Even though Wright is McNally Smith faculty (Coordinator of the nation’s first Hip-Hop Studies Program), the school feels fortunate to have scored a date with the in-demand Rhymesayers Entertainment recording artist amidst his hectic performance schedule and numerous altruistic endeavors.
In January alone, Wright has:
- supported Doomtree in the hip-hop collective’s New Year’s blowout
- debuted his slick n’ scary new video for “No Gimmicks”
- hosted McNally Smith’s Deepwinter Bonfire improv festival
- headlined his own rousing gig at Augsburg
- supported Wu-Tang Clan co-founder Method Man at The Cabooze
- cameoed at Triplerock with local supergroup Mixed Blood Majority (featuring Doomtree’s Lazerbeak, Kill The Vultures’ Alexei Casselle and No Bird Sing’s Joe Horton)
- deejayed a set at Honey
- participated in MNWorks’ art + hip-hop event at Bedlam Community Design Center
Wright’s busy docket exemplifies why McNally Smith is the nation’s premier contemporary music college — its faculty are practicing artists on the music industry’s front lines. With the Live at Five Series, McNally Smith aims to celebrate these artists that make immense contributions — not only to the school and its students, but also to the Twin Cities arts community as a whole.
Thus, both the McNally Smith community and general public are very welcome to stop by on Tuesday, February 5th to enjoy a free concert performance by one of the Twin Cities’ best and brightest hip-hop artists. The evening begins at 5:00 p.m. in the McNally Smith Atrium with a social hour featuring free appetizers and performances by student ensembles. Beer and wine is available for purchase, with all proceeds benefitting Gillette Children’s Hospital and Instruments In The Cloud — an online effort to get musical instruments into the hands of music students in public schools. At 6:00 p.m., Toki Wright will take the stage in McNally Smith’s Auditorium for an intimate — and no doubt unforgettable — performance.
As for Wright’s plans the day after his Live at Five engagement at McNally Smith? He’s right back at it, leading a teen workshop at Rice Street Library entitled “Tell Your Story With Hip-Hop.”
Does the guy ever take a break?
About Toki Wright:
Raised in a Buddhist household, immersing himself in Black history, world culture, and community work, Toki Wright’s awareness of the diverse world we live in is translated through his content driven music. He has taken paths that run the gamut from a non-profit youth organization in North Minneapolis to work with war-affected children in Northern Uganda. As an artist, Wright’s travels have taken him throughout the United States and Canada as support and hype man for Brother Ali. Other performance credits include Soundset, Coachella, CMJ, Bumbershoot, Paid Dues, Scribble Jam, and South By Southwest.
Maintaining an active presence in the Twin Cities hip-hop scene, Wright has been featured on recordings by Atmosphere, P.O.S., and C-Rayz Walz, to name a few. With years of experience and numerous accolades (2007 Twin Cities Hip-Hop Awards “Best Knowledge Spitta” Winner, 2006 KMOJ Radio Artist of the Year, 2003 Star Tribune Artist of the Year - Honorable Mention, 2002 City Pages Hip-Hop Artists of the Year, 2002 Minnesota Music Award Nominee: Best Hip-Hop Artist, and more…).
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