Hip-Hop in Harrisburg: Big Mike The Hypeman
There’s more to it than the emcee. Producers, Djs, venues, promoters, managers, and of course — the hype man.
One of the more prominent and well-known executors of all things hip-hop in our town is Big Mike The Hypeman. A creative mindset to make his own path, build his own brand, all the while believing in Harrisburg and the city’s many talented hip-hop artists.
I met up with Big Mike on a Saturday afternoon to get his take on a hip-hop scene that is on the verge of blowing up and taking the city with it.
MJ: There is no other genre or scene going off like hip-hop is around here right now, you have a good pulse on the city and the music, whats your take on where hip-hop is right now?
Big Mike: The scene is boomin right now but, it’s on such a small platform. There are so many good artists that have such great material. I think Harrisburg needs to embrace it more as a city. When you are doing something you love in a city that is not really set up to love you it becomes a dogfight. Limited venues, promoters, and artists stepping on toes. It’s getting a lot better over the past few years, people coming together and venues are starting to take a chance on us now.
When did you become Big Mike The Hypeman?
I would take it back to 2012 when my best friend, DJ Showtime, he was doing a show and he asked me to pick up the mic and announce something. Then he said “Yo, do that again,” I asked him “what am I supposed to say?” He told me to just keep talking and really every since then I kept at it.
You get to see a lot of artists, who are some of your favorite in the area?
There are so many — CB is one of my favorites. We are good friends and get to work together a lot. Mazon is another one that I’m really digging. He has one of my favorite songs out right now called “Manana” so shout out to Mazon. I also like the kid Swerve he is out here doing his thing. Those three are ones that you would hear me listening to in my car.
You put on some of the bigger events in the city, what all goes into making a success out of your events?
I’m really big on production. I don’t ever want to half-ass any of my events and make sure it brings together the right crowds, the right community and speaks to the right crowds and community. There is a lot more respect now than there ever was because Harrisburg is a movable market and there are a lot of people working at it.
What do you want to see moving into the new year?
I don’t want hear any more trap. I’m good, let’s get back to partying and battle raps. The whole trap thing, I don’t know, I just think there are a lot more things going on in the world that can be spoken on. Rap needs to be personal again, call somebody out! That’s what I want to see, I want to see someone get called out. If I was a rapper I would have called someone out and battled it.
What do you love about hip-hop?
It is something that is forever. It might change or look different but it’s not a trend or a hot topic at the moment. It is sort of like its own government with the elders of hip hop and right now it’s a bit messed up if you think about it. We don’t really have a respect for leaders, everyone is in their own little lane trying to figure out how to be the most dominant. Kind of like our nation’s government right now.
What is it going to take for Harrisburg to take it to the next level?
We’re knocking on the door but, it’s all about how and who responds to it. We need to make sure we are going into these bigger venues and bigger businesses and giving them a good product that they are willing to be behind. We have to sell exactly what we are putting out. At the end of the day, we need to stick together and really be a culture. Country music, for example, that is a culture. Hip-hop has to be the same thing and I think there is a force in our city that can make this move for our culture.
Do you think people understand that from an outsider point of view? Someone that doesn’t listen to hip hop or embrace black culture why would they take a risk on it?
So many people miss the point. I’ll just be honest, some white people get it and some don’t. Some black people get it and some don’t. At the end of the day, if you don’t understand different cultures and embrace diversity with an open mind then you’re going to get left behind in 2018. Hip-hop is bigger than ever.
What does the future hold for Big Mike The Hypeman?
There are so many goals that I have. Working on my company right now, Hype World Entertainment, more shows, more branding, going out on tour in April 2018, putting out my own project on a production level with local artists and national artists as well. I really just want to put excitement back into music and I’m having so much fun being a part of it
Big Mike offered a different perspective about hip-hop in our city and proved to me once again that this isn’t going to stop. Guys like Big Mike are out here influencing the culture with a conscious mind working hard to shed a positive light on hip-hop in Harrisburg.
Follow me on Twitter @HBGMicah using the hashtag #HipHopinHBG to follow me and my adventures as I dig deeper into the hip-hop culture in our city. Until next time, keep it live and local.