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How Bars on The Bay Boosted Baltimore’s Hip-Hop Culture with King Los

Bars on The Bay King Los

In the 8 years that I’ve been in this business, Baltimore has never had its own Hip-Hop festival before Bars on the Bay, a celebration of Baltimore’s Hip-Hop scene.

On Saturday, July 15, Artist Compound in partnership with 66 Raw Radio brought King Los home along with AZ and DJ Doo Wop. Hip-Hop heads also got to see performances by TT the Artist, Yang Swag, Dyson Alexander, Billy Lyve, Bossman, Starrz, MC Bravado, Eze Jackson, Bond St. District, Bmore than Dance and others to Malibu Beach Bar.

Wild Child DNA, of 66 Raw shared with me in an email that the vision behind Bars on The Bay was to create a festival engulfed in Hip Hop and open to enthusiast outside of Baltimore. It was an invitation for others to witness the city’s culture unlike anything seen on television before.

“This was the first year since I can remember that the city did not have the African American Heritage Festival, [we wanted] to give the region a new historic event, but on a different level and open it to all facets of the Hip-Hop culture,” DNA said.

DNA mentioned his ultimate long term goal is to strengthen the industry in Baltimore and the DMV so that it competes with other major markets.

“In this region you see the open mics, artist showcases and more of the celebrity based concerts…, but never all that in one, combining the indy world, the old school, new school and the lost celebrated elements of hip-hop culture, such as the DJ, Dance, Art, Fashion and Graffiti, ” DNA said. “[Our] strong relationships along with an impact in Hip-Hop culture for more than 20 years…and Artist Compound having a direct relationship with some of the cities most promising independent artist, it just made sense to combine our efforts…”

The 12-hour event was full of non-stop entertainment from the main stage on the lawn to the sand side stage behind Malibu Beach Bar. This event aimed to celebrate the four elements of Hip-Hop culture, including MCing, Turntablism, break dancing and graffiti art. Of course, I was there for the MCing, but when I got to the event, there was so much more I walked away with.

It was a great opportunity to network with DJs, other artists, and media.
I arrived with one of our 300 Entertainment and AMG artist, Montage and we chopped it up with a number of local DJs, artists, and media professionals. DNA pointed out to me that for the first time everyone from open mic mc’s, underground artist, newly signed artist, dance artist, and national artist were all involved in one collective Hip-Hop atmosphere.

If you weren’t hip to new talents bubbling in the scene, you were after the event. The event was far from the typically Hip Hop scene. The trap and the artsy fartsy MCs were under one roof. Along with headliners, King Los, AZ and TT the Artist, so I enjoyed watching so many more artists who were a part of the festival.

It was all love in the building. After national attention from Freddie Gray, and a skyrocketing homicide rate, The one thing Baltimore needs is an event that’s all love. The festival brought together Hip-Hop fans young and old. It ended with positive vibes and words of encouragement during King Los’s performance.

If you missed Bars on the Bay. Here’s the recap video from King Los’s Freestyle performance with Chief Rocker Busy Bee by his side.


“We have a lot of work to do to make improvements as any team does when doing their first event of this magnitude, but I think Bars on the Bay can become the A3C or SXSW of the Baltimore, DMV & Mid-Atlantic region…,” DNA wrote.

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