A Hip-Hop Lesson - and a Party, Too

Article excerpt

Byline: Serena Markstrom The Register-Guard

If aliens were to descend on Earth in 200 years they would find the United Nations obsolete, replaced by a world council.

Ethnicities would be so intermixed that racial divisions would be a thing of the past. People would eat Earth-healthy cuisine, and schoolchildren would only have one flag to learn.

And the music would sound a little something like the brand played by Marv Ellis and His Imaginary Friends and D-Fault - two large local bands fronted by MCs. The groups dive deep into the waters of hip-hop history and come back with a handful of something green and funky.

But that's a good thing. Ask Garrick Bushek or Hanif Panni, who are transforming the WOW Hall into one giant "green room" tonight.

"There's no limit," Bushek said of the music he's creating with a rotating supporting cast of fiddle, trumpet, conga, slide guitar, bass and cello players, along with backup vocalists, a drum kit and a DJ. "There's no ceiling to where this can go. ...

`The hip-hop scene, after you've done it for a while, gets repetitive."

Bushek, aka Marv Ellis, and D-Fault's Panni, aka HanifWondiR, remember what it was like growing up here and not having a whole lot of live hip-hop to get excited about. Panni, a teacher, and Bushek both worked the youth Hip Hop Hope day camp during spring break, so they remain attuned to the frustrations of the younger-than-21 set.

"It's giving folks something to do," said Panni, 28. "We both grew up in Eugene, so we know how hard it is for underage kids to see a really dope show. Because it doesn't happen that often, and when it does it's like 20 bucks."

So the two put their heads together and came up with this idea for a uniquely Northwest hip-hop show for all ages, of course featuring their own projects. But they also have drawn in visual artists, interior decorators and lighting technicians so as to change the look of the WOW Hall. …