Pubdate: Sat, 13 Oct 2001
Source: State, The (SC)
Copyright: 2001 The State
Author: Michael Miller
Bookmark: (Youth)


Instead Of Glorifying Guns, Booze And Drugs, S.C. Group Promotes Rap 
With A Good Message

By boasting of lifestyles filled with guns, alcohol and drugs, many 
rappers have given rap a bad name. But a new nonprofit organization 
in South Carolina is trying to put a positive spin on the hip-hop 

"If music can be used to glorify drugs and alcohol, why don't we just 
flip it and use music in a positive way to influence people?," said 
Curt Walker of the Carolina Music Group Foundation. "That was our 
goal in founding the organization, to use music as a positive 
influence on young people."

Tonight, the Carolina Music Group Foundation and the South Carolina 
Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services will stage the 
grand finale of its "The Message in Our Music Project 2001" series. 
The concert and competition will take place at the Columbia High 
School Auditorium, beginning at 7 p.m. The show will feature winners 
from three previous hip-hop competitions around the state in which 
students performed songs with positive messages they've written

Also performing tonight will be the major-label recording act Prophet 
Jones, a vocal quartet who've been called, "the second coming of 
Jodeci." Prophet Jones' debut album combines old-soul harmonies with 
a cool, hip-hop attitude.

At three previous "The Message in Our Music" events, middle school, 
high school and college students were invited to create and perform 
their own hip-hop or rap songs that depicted the negative 
consequences of substance abuse.

"We've had competitions in Charleston, Columbia and Greenville," 
Walker said. "Tonight, the winners and second- and third-place 
finishers from each region will perform their songs."

Walker said he was impressed with the music the students have 
created. Regional winners include Bilal Salahuddin, a student at 
Benedict College; Russell Thurmond, a graduate of Woodmont High in 
Greenville and now a freshman at the College of Charleston; and Ben 
Hayward, a senior at St. John's High School near Charleston.

"We've heard a wide range of songs dealing with drug abuse, the HIV 
issue and drunk driving," Walker said. "We're going to take the best 
of the songs from all three cities and record a compilation CD and 
make it free through the Urban League, YMCA and Boys & Girls Clubs."
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