For Those Who Can't Sleep On Hip Hop


American Craft Retail Expo provides an amazing opportunity for artists of various mediums to showcase their creations for all types of buyers. The trade show, which takes place in Orlando and Las Vegas each year, is a wholesale marketplace where artisans can present their unique products to a variety of retail buyers representing everything from gift shops to galleries.  Display booths are lined with elegant handmade glassware, sleek apparel, cosmetics and a wide array of interesting goods.

(Above: The PoCo Paper display features beautiful pieces of tile art which is created by hand amazingly from recycled paper and apparel.)
(Above: The PoCo Paper display features beautiful pieces of tile art which is created by hand amazingly from recycled paper and apparel.)

The variety of wares represented throughout the expo is extensive. Some artists’ creations were transformed from everyday items, such as tin cans and tires, into beautiful jewelry. One creator displayed gorgeous looking instruments made from gourds. Other items resembled high end pieces, for example, glass art that one could envision on display within a museum. This marketplace is an impressive environment that enables entrepreneurial artisans to connect with buyers seeking to bring in unique goods into their places of business.


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Who doesn’t appreciate visiting a quaint gift shop that has an amazing treasure that will make the perfect gift for a special someone; or, coming across a funky boutique that has that brilliant piece of home decor that will make a bare space in your living room an attraction? It’s possible, those special finds wouldn’t have made it into retail without the business that takes place at ACRE. This years’ Florida event, from 1/25 – 1/27, was well attended by serious artisans and retail buyers.



(Above: These chic pieces of jewelry, created by designer Maura Cartwright, were on display in Uncapped’s booth.)

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(Above: These awesome necklaces by Julia Bray Garretson were once tires.)

(Images from both the 2013 and 2014 A.C.R.E. events at the Orange County Convention Center.)

 The ACRE Vegas show takes place from April 29th through May 1st.

by I. Vasquetelle

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As a freelance journalist, I’ve been fortunate to develop solid relationships with seriously talented artists. Black Silver is without a doubt one of those artists that I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing. Check it out and spread this info:

C73: You’ve always and still have dropped some of the dopest projects I’ve heard in a minute. You also seem to perfectly pick complimentary artists to work with. Please explain the process in creating this sort of vibe and what’s your mind frame like in the studio with these other artists.

Black Silver: Whenever I record with other artists I visualize the outcome prior to even giving them a call to see if they are interested. Recently I’ve been focused on collabs that haven’t been done and will still mesh conceptually.

C73: I meant it when I wrote in the review of “Slang Banging (Return to Analog)” that you were/are a severely underrated emcee. What has stopped you from conforming and selling out and writing about the same stuff that everyone else is spittin’?

Black Silver: I’ve never been the average MC. However I have some records out there that some would say are an attempt to sell out or are not real Hip-Hop. To me it just establishes my well-rounded ability and flexibility as an MC. I have been referred to as underrated so much in my career that at this point as long as people still feel that way I’m doing my job.

C73: I don’t know if you’ve been asked this ad nauseam, but why was there no Ice-T on this project and why was there only one track featuring Kool Keith? [click to continue…]

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Check out the full line of Cypher 73 apparel at Conceived and brought forth by Hip Hop writer, designer, Cypher 777. There’s fresh fashion that you’ll want to rock.



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Rap music has moved a universe away from the philosophy that Hip Hop was built upon. No amount of perceived street cred will make some of the drivel that’s been co-opted by the masses authentic Hip Hop. When in doubt, check in with the caretakers and true masters- go back to the essence. Every era has had its share of true Hip Hop, however, mostly, it’s overshadowed by rap void of substance. During the early nineties when the masses bought into acts like MC Hammer and Vanilla Ice as the real thing, a group called Poor Righteous Teachers flew nearly unnoticed by mainstream media. Since those days, fluffy rap has lost it’s Hip Hop card, and instead, for the better part of the last two decades, what’s passed off as Hip Hop has evolved into a culture of flaunting wealth, overt debauchery, and a constant air of illicitness. Once again, check in with the originators. Go back to GrandMaster Flash and the Furious Five’s “The Message.” It’s as relevant today, as it was three decades ago. Check in with Run DMC’s “You’re Blind” or “Hard Times,” those songs’ meanings not only still hold up, but speak volumes about what Hip Hop was born to do- speak for the voiceless and uplift, not degrade.

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