Rapper, producer, Renaissance man and potential Kardashian Kanye West will be in Bend Saturday night to judge a rap battle at the Domino Room, according to the Power 94 radio station and the owners of two companies sponsoring the show.
The Underground Rap Event is scheduled to happen at 7 p.m. Saturday, with “select underground local and (non-local) unsigned artists … performing for a chance to win a single deal with Rare Individuals Ent.,” according to the poster, followed by performances by Soulja Boy, Young Sam, YG and HBK Gang.
Power 94’s page for the event promises a “VERY Special surprise guest.” On Thursday, the radio station teased further on Facebook, boasting that it would be bringing “the biggest hip hop star in the world – to BEND OREGON!”
That’s what got my attention, so I started poking around and found a comment on this Facebook thread by Valerie Goodew, owner of show sponsor ROYLT King&QueenPin Clothing, after she was asked who would be there: “Soulja Boy, YG, Young Sam, Kanye West and IamSu from HBK Gang”.
I like how Kanye is just tucked into the middle of this list, no big deal.
Two days later, Power 94 started hinting on the air at who the special guest would be. I heard hints on Friday afternoon; I don’t remember what they were, but they were obviously about Kanye West, and were followed by the Big Sean/Jay-Z/Kanye song “Clique”.
On Saturday, I wrote Goodew, Rare Individuals CEO Trip McClam and Kanye’s longtime publicist to try to confirm that West would be making the trip to Bend. McClam replied affirmatively. I haven’t heard back from the publicist. Goodew wrote back and said West, Souja Boy and the other artists will be there.
“My company and I wanted to put on something epic for our home town,” she said.
Last month, West performed at Madison Square Garden alongside the Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen and The Who as part of the 121212 Concert to benefit victims of Hurricane Sandy. In the past couple of days, he has been in Paris for Fashion Week, according to, well, my Googling ability.
So next weekend he’s hanging out in Bend, Oregon? I wrote back to Goodew:
“… please understand that this is not a mistrust of you, but simply a result of the mind-boggling prospect that Kanye is coming to Bend to judge a rap battle. I’d love to hear just a bit more about how this came to pass. Because it’s really hard for me to believe that it’s as simple as: ‘Hi Kanye, here is your ungodly fee, please come judge a rap battle in Bend, Oregon after you perform at Madison Square Garden and attend Paris Fashion Week.'”
Goodew replied that West is a “close friend” of the L.A. rapper Young Sam, and that it was that friendship that made this happen. Young Sam is managed by McClam, and Rare Individuals is helping to put on the show. Somewhere within all those connections, West ended up on the judging panel, along with McClam.
“Getting Kanye to come wasn’t difficult at all, I just happen to know all the right people,” Goodew said. “But the biggest struggle (has been) to actually get people to believe us is what we are dealing with. So yes we are putting on this event just to give love to the people here because living here my whole life, I personally know that there is nothing for my genre of people to be entertained by.”
Goodew is working on the list of rappers who’ll be competing for the deal with Rare Individuals, she said.
Three ticket packages are available at www.queenpinclothing.com: general admission for $30, general admission + backstage pass for $60, and general admission + meet-and-greet + free merch and drinks for $100. Click here to purchase. Limited tickets will also be sold at Ranch Records, Goodew said.
Now, it seems to me that getting Kanye West to Bend is the bulk of the battle. If he is at the Domino Room Saturday night, who out there thinks they can talk him into jumping onstage and doing a song or three? Can you even imagine?