words by Floco Torres, photos by Shane Wynn
Your grandmother knows who Snoop Dogg is.
In 39 years since it’s creation, Hip-Hop’s culture has socially and economically grown into the most influential and shared culture on the planet today. However, social and economic growth usually comes with some sort of separation from it’s origin. Akron based organization Keepers of the Art are here to bridge the gap between Hip-Hop’s rich past and it’s fruitful future.
Formed in 2006 by Ismail Al-Amin, Brandon Buckner, Monty Buckner, Donovan Rogers, and Bay Shaun Seay, Keepers of the Art started as a Hip-Hop advocacy organization. Having grown up on “Golden Age Hip-Hop” like Grandmaster Flash, (whom they came to work with in 2016), they noticed a void in outlets representing Golden Age Hip-Hop in Akron. From creating the first indie ALL Hip-hop format radio show called “Hip-Hop Flavors” in 2006, to an Annual Hip-Hop festival in Lock 3 where they worked with the Mayor to bring legends like Dougie Fresh and Slick Rick, KOTA has taken on the responsibility of re-educating the community on Hip-Hop’s history.
In 2016, KOTA was one of the Knight Foundation Art Challenge Winners and on March 18, they’ll begin an Indiegogo campaign to raise the matching funds for the “Hip-Hop Preservation Project” with Hip-Hop legend Edo G performing at the Stage Door at EJ Thomas Hall. The “Hip-Hop Preservation Project” will feature concerts, lectures, discussions and more at select venues in Akron for an entire weekend in September. Founding member Ismail Al-Amin says “In the Hip-Hop community it’s our duty to tell the story of our history” and KOTA continues to do just that.
(featured photo courtesy of Keepers of the Art)