True fans of hip-hop culture love to debate which albums qualify as classics. Now imagine taking these intense conversations to a public setting, outside of your apartment or group texts. Josey Records is hosting just such a gathering at a new monthly open forum called the Hip Hop Book Club. It imitates a book club only in its structure, by fostering a deep discussion of a single work.
The organizers behind this event are Kenny Reeves, Terrance Lee, Attah “A.T.” Essien and Sobechi “Sobe” Ibekwe. The idea came about in a text message chain between the group of friends, where they were debating the merits of different albums.
“This is what people do all the time — in the barbershop or just sitting around,” Ibekwe says. “It always helps when you’re in a like-minded community sharing your thoughts.”
The Hip Hop Book Club held its first event Monday. About 50 people turned out for a conversation about Kendrick Lamar’s album good kid, m.A.A.d city.
The organizers divided the discussion into four segments: influence, visuals, production and lyrics. “These four things stand out the most when needing to understand an album,” Reeves says.
Throughout the event, people came to the mic and shared their thoughts. While not everyone saw eye-to-eye, the conversation was friendly.
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After the program concluded, guests continued to chat. “The best thing I liked was hearing the different perspectives of the album. We were all able to come together for this and I liked that,” said attendee DJ Tobi Adboyejo.
“Listening to everything here, it’s really dope that this is happening in Dallas,” said another attendee, Sandi Iro. “It’s about time we had the discussion about hip-hop.”
The founders also take the early success of the event as an indication of the health of Dallas’ music scene. “I think this event shows a city that appreciates the art of music,” Lee says.
The next Hip Hop Book Club session will be April 17 at Josey Records, 2821 Lyndon B Johnson Freeway, No. 100, Farmers Branch. The discussion will center on Jay Z’s first album, Reasonable Doubt.