The Beat Goes On

This bimonthly hip-hop gathering is everything that battle rap is not.

Lauren LaRocca - May 2018

The Beat Goes On

This bimonthly hip-hop gathering is everything that battle rap is not.

Lauren LaRocca - May 2018

-Justin Tsucalas

Under a dramatic black light inside The Windup Space in Station North, MCs are called onto the small stage, two at a time. The packed crowd hoots and hollers as these novice and veteran rappers are given the task of rhyming over beats they’ve never heard before. However daunting, each rapper approaches the mic like a jazz artist, taking turns freestyling and testing new bars as if trading fours. “This is what it’s about!” shouts host Eze Jackson from the stage. “It’s about building the culture.”

This is the latest installment of the Bmore BeatClub, a hip-hop open-mic series, now in its third year. The event is a platform for emerging artists who want to step up their game, as well as for producers who are scoping out new talent and people like its founder, Brandon Lackey, who want to help the Baltimore hip-hop community grow.

“BeatClub is really a family,” says co-producer and EDM DJ Marat Buberman. “Everyone here is supportive. . . . We know what it’s like to be struggling artists.”

With the help of dedicated staff and friends, Lackey, a producer himself, and his Lineup Room Recording Studio have been producing BeatClub since it was a free, BYOB event at the now-defunct Shockwave Records store in Parkville. What began as a way for young producers to show off their beats has evolved into an open-mic with MCs rapping over tracks and drawing hordes of hip-hop fans from Baltimore and beyond.

BeatClub has grown out of its former venues, including, most recently, the basement of the Maryland Art Place—a setting Lackey describes as Cheers meets 8 Mile—and into a bimonthly series at the larger Windup Space that also includes an epic all-night dance party. “I wanted to kill it or grow it,” says Lackey. “I didn’t want it to get stale.”

The most important thing to understand is that BeatClub is not a battle. The stage acts as an even playing field, with national legends like Bobbito and Psycho Les standing alongside fresh-faced up-and-comers, some of whom have gone on to bigger things, like creating collaborative EPs, opening for big-name acts at Baltimore Soundstage, and performing at Artscape.

Those incentives create the hungry edge that keeps artists coming back. As Lackey puts it, “That’s the competition.”





You May Also Like


On The Town

Can’t-Miss Attractions at the Maryland State Fair

Check out these eats, exhibits, and events at the annual fair returning this weekend.

Arts District

True Laurels Hits the Airwaves

Lawrence Burney’s new weekly radio show launches tonight.

On The Town

The Big Baltimore Playlist: September 2018

The top five local songs you should download right now.


Arts District

Culture Club: Fluid Movement, Surf Music Showcase, and Art/Sound/Now

Our monthly roundup of openings, events, and news from the art world.

Arts District

Putin On Ice Brings Laughs and Lies to Single Carrot Theatre

Playwright Lola B. Pierson helps break down exactly what’s going on in her Putin-centric new production.

MaxSpace

Movie Review: The Miseducation of Cameron Post

Indie film looks at the inhumanity of gay conversion therapy, with mixed results.

-Justin Tsucalas

Connect With Us

Most Read


Baltimore Police Mounted Unit to Add Horses and State-of-the-Art Stable: City officials broke ground on $2.5 million stable at B&O Railroad Museum.

Maryland Film Festival's Jed Dietz to Retire: Dietz shepherded the growth of the festival and the launch of the Parkway Theatre.

Governor Larry Hogan Tops Ben Jealous by 22 Points in New Poll: More than half of likely voters say they support the incumbent Republican governor.

Are the Orioles and Adam Jones Headed For a Bad Breakup?: Fan favorite benched again last night as forgettable season nears end.

Gundalow Juice Stops Production to Focus on Catering Services: CEO and founder Dana Sicko discusses the next chapter with Gundalow Gourmet.