July is the month for local rappers to prepare their unique summer musical rhymes and hooks, as Cayman’s music-industry leaders begin a new search for a Caribbean version of Fresh Prince or Snoop Dogg. A “National Rap-Off” is being held by the Cayman Music and Entertainment Association (CMEA) during this time, to identify those locals with “mad skills on the microphone”.
To enter, interested persons must submit a recording of an original rap-song that is less than five minutes long. It must be submitted by or before Sunday 14th July, 2019, either as an mp3 audio file or as a video. Song entries may be delivered in two ways: either emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or submitted on a jump-drive to the Cayman Craft Market office (upstairs the Cayman Craft Market (CCM), George Town waterfront). There is a CI$50 entry fee to participate which includes membership into the CMEA.
CMEA President Jeån - eric “Notch” Smith explained the rationale behind this unique venture into this most popular foreign genre: “This will broaden, and compliment, our efforts to develop our local talent especially the new generation of musical artists many who seem to gravitate toward this genre. We devised this plan after we collated the information and feedback required for the National Cultural and Heritage Committee 2018 Survey, and realized that the majority of current local musical production is leaning towards the hip-hop and rhythm and blues (R&B) styles of expression.
Local judging and selection of July’s winner is only the first step in an exciting travel-and-development-opportunity for the winning rapper. Mr. Smith noted, “The actual prize, in addition to the bragging rights, is an all-expenses-paid trip to Los Angeles in September 2019 for a development and mentorship programme which will include professional training, industry-exposure and demo-production.”
The trip will offer exposure and training at a music symposium, which will include participating in panels which will feature top international artists, major label execs, A&R representatives, managers and publishers. Partner agencies in this mentorship are the Ministry of Culture, the California-based Fuel Concept House, and 1500 Sound Academy.
This summer’s hip-hop talent search is part and parcel to the CMEA’s previous efforts to revive the National Song Competition, which was reintroduced to the Pirates Week National Festival last year but which is limited to Caribbean styles of music. Even so, other local talent who will attend the Los Angeles event are performer Matt Brown, who won the 2018 National Song Competition; and producer Ben Hudson who was responsible for producing the winner and third runner up songs.