Berklee and Award Online Scholarship at Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival

Liz Burg
July 8, 2011
Trumpeters Emile Martinez and Joseph Streater perform to a large and enthusiastic crowd at the 2010 Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival.
Vocalist Jonquel Donte Holiday performs at the 2010 Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival.
Vocalists Jonquel Donte Holiday and Anna Wise at the 2010 Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival.
Photo by Deneka Peniston
Photo by Deneka Peniston
Photo by Deneka Peniston

Berklee College of Music and, Berklee's online extension school, are teaming up with Brooklyn Bodega, event producers of the Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival (BHF). Together they are presenting a scholarship to an up-and-coming MC in a freestyle challenge at the Festival's Bodega Education Initiative (BEI) on Wednesday, July 13. BEI will focus on encouraging dialogue on the various disciplines of hip-hop by going beyond the mic: from business to law to writing to production and everything else in between. Participants will include Marcella Runell Hall of NYU, Dru Ha of Duck Down Records, and MC Homeboy Sandman.

Brooklyn Bodega will choose five finalists from the MCs who apply for this opportunity via The finalists will perform alongside Berklee's J Dilla Ensemble, a 14-piece student ensemble, during the group's performance at the close of BEI. The winning MC will earn free enrollment in a course of his or her choosing.

The Bodega Education Initiative starts at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, July 13 at the Higgins Hall Auditorium of the Pratt Institute, 65 Saint James Place, Brooklyn. Following the closing remarks by Larry Simpson, senior vice president for Academic Affairs and provost for Berklee College of Music, the J Dilla Ensemble will perform leading directly into the freestyle challenge.

Berklee's J Dilla Ensemble, returning to the Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival for the second year, examines J Dilla's repertoire in the classroom by deconstructing and performing the breadth of his iconic catalogue. The group's director, MC, producer, DJ, and Berklee graduate Brian "Raydar" Ellis, developed the course to meet student demand. He organized the class by asking students what they wanted to play, demonstrating that the study of hip-hop has a place at a preeminent music school. Inspired by a J Dilla Ensemble performance at Berklee in 2009, J Dilla's mother, Maureen Yancey, refocused the J Dilla Foundation's initiative to concentrate on educating young, aspiring musicians.

The Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival (BHF) returns on Monday, July 11 and runs through Saturday, July, 16. This premier week-long, all-ages event attracts over 20,000 fans to Brooklyn annually in a celebration of hip-hop music and culture. Brooklyn Bodega, producer of the festival, is especially proud to announce that hip-hop legend Q-Tip will headline the 7th Annual Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival on Saturday, July 16 by curating Q-Tip and Friends, a celebration of hip-hop through the lens of his 20-plus-year career.

In addition, fans can look forward to the return of the Show and Prove Super Bowl, Bodega Education Initiative, Salute the DJ, Family Day and Main Day performances; plus new programming such as Under the Influence and the Bodega Recognition Awards.

BHF '11 tickets have gone on sale to the general public online via

Follow @BrooklynBodega and @BKHipHopFest on Twitter.

Brooklyn Bodega is a multimedia content production and branding company. The brand extends into event production, journalism and critical media analysis, digital and grassroots marketing, radio, video, and content distribution. While the Bodega is best known for producing New York's largest hip-hop event, the Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival, its expertise also manifests in Brooklyn Bodega Radio, Bodega TV, its blogazine and online home, and most recently the Bodega Agency, its boutique marketing and branding operation.

For year-round updates, visit and YouTube Channel- Bodega TV.