Play Fair Cypher

The Urban Community Arts Network (UCAN) will present the sixth annual Madison Hip-Hop Awards (MHHA) show Saturday, Nov. 7 at the Barrymore Theater on Madison’s east side.

“It’s a fun gathering of the Hip Hop community. It’s an award show with great performances.

Lots of great local artists who will be honored for their work,” says Urban Community Arts Network, Ltd (UCAN) President Karen Reece. “There will be artists, producers, fans, DJ’s, Dancers. People come in their best dress-to-impress outfits all the way down to their usual t-shirt and jeans. Everyone is welcome. All ages. It’s always a nice mix of people.

UCAN is a non-profit organization dedicated to fostering and sustaining the local Hip-Hop scene through education and live music events in the community. UCAN’s mission is, in part, to empower and unify youth and adults in the Madison area using urban arts, specifically Hip-Hop.

“The Madison Hip-Hop scene overall is still struggling a bit. We’re picking up steam and there is some new energy,” Reece says. “There’s still no regular venue here to book Hip-Hop. And the venues that do book Hip-Hop are focusing primarily on white artists or what they deem as ‘safe’ Hip-hop. There are very few places to book artists but we’re doing our best to keep collaborations going and energy going.”

UCAN and others have been making their own venues to perform Hip-hop. “Community centers work fine but when it comes right down to it, people want the nightlife,” Reece says. “They want to be able to dress up and go out to a bar and listen to music that they like on a Saturday night. If you can’t do that, it really cuts down on the sense of community and maximizing the number of fans. Performing in a professional venue and having that experience as an artist is very important.”

People that won the top awards last year will perform at the event including K.I.N.G. Kronos, Play Fair Cypher, Amy Alida, Trilogy, and East Madison Community Center (EMCC) Madison Breakers.

K.I.N.G. Kronos took home the Male Artist of the Year at last year's Madison Hip-Hop Awards.
K.I.N.G. Kronos took home the Male Artist of the Year at last year’s Madison Hip-Hop Awards.

UCAN will be giving out 17 different awards at the event. Mark “ShaH” Evans will emcee.
In previous years, proceeds went to the Boys and Girls Club of Dane County. This year, they will go to the EMCC Madison Breakers.

The Madison Hip-Hop Awards (MHHA) were founded in May of 2010 based on an idea by Andy “Mr. Paparazzi” Huynh, Mark “ShaH” Evans, and Dexter “Tefman” Patterson as a response to the need to bring positive attention to Madison’s talented and dedicated Hip-Hop scene.

“It started out with a meeting on Memorial Day with about 30 different artists and fans and journalists and we realized that we have enough talent to put on our award show,” Reece says. “We talked about the possibilities of things we can do to show unity in the Hip-Hop community and to show the greater Madison community that Hip-Hop was positive and can do good things.”

“That first Hip Hop Awards was planned in six months and was a huge success … way more successful than we expected,” Reece says. “We had over 300 people come and it was really a great time.”

UCAN was born out of the process of planning for that first MHHA when organizers recognized multiple areas where the Hip-Hop community can use their art to enhance the general community. “It didn’t make sense to start a non-profit just to run an award show so we developed a greater vision,” Reece says.

UCAN is really growing and evolving and people in Madison are taking notice. Recently, they made Madison Magazine’s M-List which was focusing on social innovation in Madison. “We’ve been growing these last few years and really working hard on increasing capacity. We’re always looking for volunteers. We welcome any ideas and any participation from the community who wants to see the Madison Hip-Hop scene grow.”

“The night will feature awards and performances by winners from last year’s award show,” says UCAN President Karen Reece. “We are really excited about the event and are looking forward to putting on a good show.”

The MHHA ceremony is a vehicle to showcase and celebrate the local Hip-Hop scene’s talent, continuity and teamwork. In addition to the awards ceremony, where awards will be presented to local artists in more than a dozen categories.

“Our goals moving forward are to keep fighting in Madison for Hip-Hop to be equally represented on the stages – not only in nightlife but on festival stages and local concerts,” Reece says. “When people think of a diverse music scene, we want that to include Hip Hop.

“We also want to continue to debunk the myths about Hip-Hop that it is violent and scary,” she adds. “We want to show people that it is a broad and diverse and creative art form that can be used for positive things in the community.”

The Urban Community Arts Network (UCAN) will present the sixth annual Madison Hip-Hop Awards (MHHA) show at 8 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 7 at the Barrymore Theater, 2090 Atwood Ave. For more information, visit