Urban Community Arts Network (UCAN) and the Madison Area Music Association (MAMA) are coming together in a collaborative effort to increase the awareness and appreciation of Hip-Hop music in the Madison area.

Both organizations sponsor programs to help students gain access to music. MAMA, Inc. is a non-profit organization who holds an award show each spring that honors the efforts of local musicians. UCAN is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting sustainability in the Madison Hip-Hop community and advocating for equity in the local arts and entertainment scene.

UCAN has partnered with multiple middle and high schools to engage students by using Hip-Hop as a teaching framework. These programs create authentic connections between Hip-Hop and education and allow local Hip-Hop artists to become mentors for young students in their communities.

Karen Reece, president of UCAN, emphasizes the importance of equity in the music and entertainment scene as well as in educational programs. “UCAN has worked for nearly a decade to ensure there are spaces in our nightlife for Hip-Hop artists, particularly artists of color, to perform and hone their craft,” Reece said in a statement. “Our work with area middle and high schools gives not only an opportunity for these adult artists to add a professional skill to their resume, but gives students of color an opportunity to see someone who looks like them in a teaching capacity, which is rare in many area school districts.”

The MAMA has long provided musical instruments as well as music lessons to both middle and high school students. This has been done in the way of donations of instruments or grants to music teachers or community organizations. While the MAMA supports musicians and artists from all genres of music there has been a lack of Hip-Hop artists participating in the association. This collaboration with UCAN addresses this concern.

Curt Davies, the executive director of the MAMA, is working towards increasing the presence of Hip-Hop in area schools as well as the MAMA. “I believe that by supporting area Hip-Hop artists and Hip-Hop appreciation in our schools we all win; the kids win in the short and long-term,” Davies said in a statement. “From what I have seen in our own music programs kids are hungry for learning more about Hip-Hop as a means of expressing themselves emotionally and telling their stories”.

In addition to the aforementioned partnerships, UCAN and the MAMA are collaborating for UCAN’s upcoming Music Industry Weekend event series. Traditionally, UCAN hosts the Madison Hip-Hop Awards in the fall season, and this year have decided to focus on providing valuable professional development and community engagement opportunities for Madison’s urban musicians.

The weekend will kick off on Saturday, Dec. 1, noon with Level Up Music Industry Conference at Adorable IO, 123 E Main St. Attendees will learn industry strategies from local, regional, and national music industry experts such as D-Teck, A&R for Konvict Music, Roy Elkins, Founder of Broadjam.com, DJ Pain 1, Platinum Producer, Darwin Sampson, former owner of The Frequency, and many more.

The conference concludes with a Town Hall meeting on the “State of Madison Hip-Hop” where community members can discuss current issues. Following the conference, producers will go head-to-head in the popular Beatmakers Brawl next door at the Rigby starting at 8 p.m. The winner takes home a $200 cash prize. The weekend concludes with the Get Your Buzz Up showcase. Rappers will perform one song for a panel of industry experts. The winner will get a prize package valued at more than $3,000.

For more information or to buy tickets, click here.