Hip-hop isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when you picture a small town in West Virginia. Morgantown, however, nods along to a different beat. This small Appalachian community houses a unique spot for genre’s of all types, especially hip-hop.
Morgantown fosters a unique music climate – Morgantown locals and the West Virginia University student population. This mixed audience draws in a varied pool of artists, ranging from local bluegrass to mainstream rap acts. It’s evident that the University brings a bit of urban flair to Morgantown, with students attending from more metropolitan areas. With this metropolitan pull, comes the interest in hip-hop music.
“I think Morgantown benefits from the diverse student body,”said senior WVU student and avid hip-hop fan, Corey Elliott. “Young hip hop fans are implanted from all over the country on to campus.”
While it hasn’t always been so in with the urban music scene, Morgantown has made major strides recently to make hip-hop a priority. When polling students about their feelings on the surge in hip-hop, most agree that there has been a noticeable increase.
“I’ve definitely noticed an increase,” Elliott said. “Especially with the addition of Mainstage Morgantown, I think it’s making hip-hop shows more prominent here.”
Numerous acts, ranging from up and coming to mainstream have left their print on Morgantown’s quirky music community. Starting as early as FallFest in 1998 with a set from Biz Markie, hip-hop has slithered it’s way into our lineups. Since then artists including Kanye West, Busta Rhymes, Wyclef Jean, Young Joc, Akon, Snoop Dogg, Wiz Khalifa, Chance the Rapper, J. Cole and Kendrick Lamar. Even that extensive list though is still not enough to settle the craving for rap fans in the area.
Upcoming shows however are sure to make a dent in the need for hip-hop concerts. Riff Raff and MGK are scheduled to pack Mainstage this month, with many already anticipating a sell out.
“I’m most excited for Riff Raff just because of how entertaining he is,” explains Elliott. “Obviously, he’s toured through Pittsburgh, but his stop in Morgantown is a good alternative from your typical artist.”
For more information about upcoming shows at Mainstage Morgantown, click here.