Last summer, local musician and hip-hop activist Brimstone celebrated four successful weeks of his inaugural P.A.T.H. School of Hip-Hop Culture. As Brim told New Times last year, the camp was an outgrowth of his attempt to start a hip-hop history and culture program through Miami Dade college. That didn't work out, so instead, he finally set up a month-long intensive creative boot camp of sorts for deserving local teenagers, thanks to generous funding from sources like the Miami Light Project.
A scene from last year's P.A.T.H. session
This year, as we all know, arts funding is down everywhere -- but P.A.T.H. is still happening, albeit in a condensed, one-week version. Not to worry, say Brim and his partner in the project, Amit Regev. It's forced them to be creative in designing this year's program, which will have an especially timely focus. "We're focusing this year more on teaching the youth, with hip-hop, how to turn the art they like into some sort of business," says Brimstone.
Regev says it was a natural angle to take after she and Brim noticed a common thread among the talks given by guest speakers at the camp last year. "We had an attorney come who was on the board of Miami Light named Marlon Hill. He exactly broke down the steps for everyone on how to start a business and copyright their work, and do trademarks and logos," she says. "And then every guest last year that came to talk, no matter what they were speaking about, it always turned into following that route. So we decided to take that further and give the kids the tools they need to be independent artists, and show them they don't have to cater to big clubs and labels or whatever to do what it is they're trying to do."
Campers, known at P.A.T.H. as "hip-hoppas," will each pick two elements of hip-hop to study during the week -- MCing, DJing, breakdancing, and urban art. After an open cipher each morning, the campers will spend a couple of blocks studying and practicing those elements before hearing the day's guest speaker. The goal, by the end, is that campers will each walk away with self-created professional electronic press kits to use to promote their art.
And, of course, as with last year's camp, Brimstone and Regev are dedicated to making their camp accessible regardless of finances. Of the 40 available slots at the camp, 20 will be paid for fully by scholarships. All campers get a free lunch every day.
The camp will be held from July 13 to 17 at the Miami Light Project space at 3000 Biscayne Blvd. Registration is open now, and continues until June 30. Scholarships are first-come, first-serve, so apply soon. Full details are at pathtohiphop.com.