Interview by Nathan Cary
With the busy life of running three popular local bars in Jacksonville I appreciate Ian taking the time to sit down and have a brief interview. Here’s a few questions I asked the innovative music promoter himself.
When and Where did Hip Hop hell begin?
Hip Hop hell started in 2003 at the Imperial Lounge Downtown on Forsyth by the Greyhound Station
Who was part of your early crew that got Hip Hop Hell started?
The early crew is me and my co-host Autrell AKA Cynical Mind and my DJ’s were DJ Kid User and Razor Ramone. That was the original four
Did you draw inspiration from previous shows or music scenes?
Yeah, big time… I drew inspiration from going to the voodoo lounge and seeing Paten Locke and Willie Evans Jr and those guys do their thing, and also the graffiti yard behind five points. I grew up back their doing jams with RCA (River City Artists) and the CSB crew and shit, so… I came up with a model to follow before me.
Where did the name “Hip Hop Hell” come from?
ehhhh… You know, I’m not exactly sure it kinda came out of the blue but me and Autrell used to just yell as loud as we could on the microphone we’d just yell “HIP HOP HELL!” “HIP HOP HELL!” so it’s started as a joke being abnoxious I guess.
What’s the first major hip hop act that you booked through Hip Hop Hell?
The first major National act I booked was Tame One from the Artifacts crew. I booked him on our one year anniversary, but before that we already Paten Locke, Willie Evans Jr and Astronautalis and all the local scene. But the first National one was Tame one.
You self-created the “Boycott Hip Hop Hell” flyers when the shows started growing steam. Do you have any funny stories from that?
I mean people really thought it was real, and people really thought that the other crews in town were making these flyers was the funny thing about it. So we did this a kind of a joke but they assumed the rival crews did it, but it was actually just us doing it on ourselves (laughs)
If you could do anything different back in the day, would you? And if you did, what would it be?
I don’t think there is anything. I think we did exactly what were were supposed to do and we’re still doing and it’s went from me just promoting the shows and DJing to owning the bar over the years and I’m still working with a lot of the same guys so I think everything went kind of as planned.
The outside bar area at NightHawks. Ian’s most recent bar.
Yeah, judging by your success I figured you would answer that way (laughs). Things seem to be going really well! What are your future plans for Hip Hop Hell?
We’re gonna keep booking the national tours and the underground hip hop shows when they come to town and keep building with the local guys like Tough Junkie and Paten and Willie and just keep building the foundation of local hip hop, also taking in the touring shows as they pass through our area.
Right on! Any last words, thoughts, shout outs?
We’re still doing the OG thursdays at NightHawks with DJ ShotGun and Paten Locke the spirit of Hip Hop Hell is still alive. Open Mics , DJ shit, all that.