Golden Age’s visit to the University marks an important step toward legitimizing hip hop in the academic world. The group, consisting of lyricists DLO, Mr. Parker of Dumate, Rob DZ and turntablist BroDJ, hails from Madison, Wisc. They’ll display their improvisational chops through a series of clinics, workshops and concerts, where they will showcase their unique approach toward audience interaction.
Today they’ll host a clinic during Prof. Ed Saraths’s Improvisational Forms course before taking the stage at Studio Four with members of the University’s renowned Creative Arts Orchestra. Tomorrow, Golden Age will appear at another workshop during Prof. Sarath’s Creativity and Consciousness class as well as performing a concert at the Canterbury House with the same members of CAO. Wrapping up their visit, the group will join the entire Creative Arts Orchestra for a highly anticipated show at Rackham Auditorium.
Golden Age attempts to place their audience in a “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” mind set, performing improvised songs consisting solely of audience suggestions of any person, place, situation or role play. “It’s completely improvised hip hop. Little is planned in advance; the only thing that is sort of planned is the music, because the beats have already been made. The beat selection and mixing of the music is improvised and we take topics from the crowd. The MC’s will rhyme about any subject or situation; sometimes we will do scenes and situations where the two other MCs and myself will act as different characters,” said MC Mr. Parker.
“We got together two or three years ago. It started off as BroDJ, Rob DZ and myself rapping about topics a crowd had given us. It went well, so we decided to make a thing of it. We invited DLO, the third MC, to join us about a year ago.” Mr. Parker said.
In addition to gaining a loyal local following, members of Golden Age have performed with such esteemed artists as Talib Kweli, Dave Chapelle, Sick Rick, and Afrika Bambaataa.
Mike Nickens, a Rackham doctoral student and a member of CAO, emphasized the significance of their appearance. “I think it’s a big deal that the School of Music is sponsoring a hip-hop group to come through and are giving them the same amount of respect they would any chamber or jazz group. It’s a milestone and a step in the right direction in breaking down some musical walls and being more accepting of things that can have a stigma in the world of academic music.”