Elementz Wants Cincinnati's Hip-Hop Scene To 'Thrive'

Nov 14, 2019

Cincinnati may not be top of mind when people think of innovative hip-hop music, but some local artists are hoping to change that with "Thrive," a series that celebrates the local hip-hop scene.

Hip-hop may have started in New York, but Cincinnatians are working to leave their mark on the genre.

On Thursday night, Elementz hosted an event at the Woodward Theater to amplify artists' voices.

"I think hip-hop is so unique because I don't know what could follow it," says Cincinnati artist Grandace, or - as he's known to the government - Jody Jones. "You can take a little bit of country, jazz, big band, soul and you can put it all into hip-hop in a way that I don't know you can do with other genres. The main thing about rap is that you're being authentic. That's like the crucial thing."

Taylor Jones, known as Joness, isn't from the city, but she uses local producers who give her music a sound she describes as eclectic, progressive and full of stories - think of artists like Isiah Rashad or H.E.R.

"It's certain people in the city that I kind of lean toward making my beats because it helps me tell my story a little bit better," Joness says.

Elementz hosts its series at the Woodward Theater located in Over-the-Rhine.
Credit Ambriehl Crutchfield / WVXU

Grandace says Cincinnati producers use major and minor seven and eleventh chords to make their beats sound dreamy.

"A lot of the artists here are very good writers, very good social commentators," says Alexander Stallings, who is curating the series. "We aren't afraid to speak our minds." He says over the last two years, collaboration has helped local artists thrive.

The next Thrive event will take place Feb. 20 at Woodward Theater.