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Austin Mic Exchange

Tuesdays are hip-hop open mic night at Spider House
Zoe Cordes Selbin, 9:07am, Fri. Nov. 23, 2012
Happy day after Thanksgiving! Thanksgiving means the end of November, which means we’re nearing the end of the year, which means that Internal Affairs is almost a year old! And what a wonderful year it’s been. I’ve really enjoyed writing about the local scene and various music industry issues. Nevertheless, this will be my last weekly column.

I’m about to make some big changes with school and pursue some new musical projects, so it’s time to hit pause on this specific symphony. I’ll still show up here and there in print, and blog Internal Affairs when something of note comes up in the business world.

For my last column, I want to showcase something that embodies everything I wanted to write about when I began Internal Affairs. There have been consistent themes in my writing: unity in the scene, supporting young, grassroots acts, respecting people with different backgrounds, and trying to be savvy about promotion. All of these things are reflected in a new weekly event: Austin Mic Exchange.

The weekly open mic began earlier this year as the brainchild of Miss Manners, host of Hip Hop Hooray on KOOP Radio, and P-tek, a local rapper. A rotating cast of established and aspiring MCs hit the stage Tuesdays after the poetry slam at Spider House 29th St. Ballroom, roughly 11pm-1am, to show off their wares and/or collaborate.

P-tek, who I know as Adam Protextor, sat down with me recently to discuss Austin Mic Exchange.

“AMX was really this thought, ‘What if there was a centralized place for hip-hop to commune and convene in Austin?’ I kept going to different shows, and playing with different people, and I realized they were all parts of different social scenes in the hip-hop world here, but none of them knew each other.”

Recognizing a need, P-tek teamed up with Manners.

“We wanted to do a free, open event where people could do a verse or track, and especially if they were new, they’d have a jumping off point. It’s somewhere you can feel comfortable performing in front of a live audience and networking with people who are doing the same thing.”

I went to a recent Austin Mic Exchange, and was heartened to see a goodly amount of hip-hoppers, men and women, all performing and supporting each other. Even as a hip-hop novice, I could appreciate the talent and courage these people have. Although the Austin hip-hop scene has been notoriously scattered and odd, I have a feeling that’s about to change – for the better.

“It’s been getting bigger week after week,” enthuses P-tek. “I want to see it become a beacon of the hip-hop community in Austin, where new artists come to show off their stuff and established artists come to debut a new track.”

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