From the Editor’s Desk 71
Durham Hip-Hop
in the Streets


I have heard this story twice now, and as friends and comrades in the media know, the stories we don’t print are often as interesting as the ones we do. When I heard the story a second time, I figured it was official permission from the deities that manage such things to share with the public.

So if you are in the DURM/Durham hip-hop know, you are already aware that the Skewers Open Mic is killing it. I have been hearing this for many moons now, first at Durty Durham meetings, then from Pinhook open mic goers, and soon after from my roommate.


Of course, if you are trying to “Google it up” instead of following the #DurhamInsiderTip you are going to end up at Skewers’ horrific webpage which doesn’t even mention they have an Open Mic night…or their even less appealing Facebook page. They aren’t on Twitter.

Then again, maybe social media is a waste of time.

Reality is all about the content. Bringing the noise and the heat.

Skewers does that right. Their Open Mic is Wednesday night and word is they are attracting a mad deep roster of talent. Names I have heard included Trandle, the Durhamite, and the recently moved to Durham and introduced to me, Dille 2 Step (pronounced Dill-E). In the last year he migrated from Raleigh where he had been spending mad time at their fantastic cypher. Check some of his flows here.

Dille 2 Step from his Twitter

Dille 2 Step from his Twitter

I barely know from what happens in Raleigh. But our bad ass story took place in Durham, last Wednesday, out in front of Skewers on Main Street near the end of Open Mic night, at maybe 1.30am.

A bunch of the crew had wandered out to the calle, the names were so deep on the list for the mic, they knew they weren’t getting on before the evening was over. Dille, a cypher veteran and several other street ballers started going-in with some freestyle and beatbox. Talent loves talent loves music loves making it.

But then straight out of a movie, as Durham would have it, up pulls “I Gotcha Transportation.” This brother rocks a mini-van cab. But in the back of that mini-van cab, he rolls with a karaoke machine and two live mics! What, what! Yes, yes, y’all.

And he whipped those wheels over to the side of the curb, pulled up in front of Skewers, tossed those live mics to a couple of the crew who were already freestyling, and no shit, (I heard this story from two different sources) there was a sesh that went on for 30-40 minutes at the curb, on those mics with some dope ass rappers right there on the Streets.

‘Cause, you know, Durham is dank.

Aaron Mandel

Aaron Mandel is a writer and an accomplished public speaker. He is the publisher of the Clarion Content. For more than a decade, the Clarion Content has covered Durham’s arts, politics, music, and cultural milieu. From breaking news stories to the hottest local acts, the Clarion Content is on the scene. The Clarion Content published more than twenty distinguished guest columnists and garnered nearly a million views. Mandel is a volunteer for the Durham Mighty Pen Literacy Project and serves as the President of the Board of Sustain-A-Bull Durham, a local small business collective with more than 200 members. He writes regularly on the Clarion Content and has been quietly writing fiction since the 4th grade. Mandel has been published in the Raleigh News and Observer. He has also produced numerous art shows, including, “Durham under Development”. He was a featured speaker at “The State of Publishing” conference. He has presented to Durham Chamber of Commerce, “Chamber U” on the “New Media”. He has also served as the play-by-play announcer for the D.B.L., a Durham youth basketball league. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in History and Religious Studies from Indiana University in Bloomington. An avid policy debater at Indiana and a Nation Debate Tournament qualifier, Mandel was also a member of the New Jersey State Champion two-person Policy Debate Team. He has lived in North Carolina, New Jersey, California, Texas, Illinois, Colorado, Indiana, and Baja California, Mexico.

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