Performers 2017

MC Lyte

First female to perform hip hop in the White House and first African American female to serve as the President of the Los Angeles chapter of the Recording Academy (Grammy Organization): these are just the first of many firsts.  Lyricist, inspirational speaker, dj, pioneer, icon, veteran and entrepreneur describe one of the most prolific and well-respected female Hip Hop artists of all time: MC Lyte.  She has consistently found ways to reinvent herself musically, while expanding her resume and gaining new fans. A current member of the Board of Trustees of Dillard University and reared in Brooklyn, New York, MC Lyte always has her finger on Hip Hop’s pulse. Many are familiar with her stellar music making skills, but over the course of her extensive career, MC Lyte has ventured out to other avenues that have allowed her to show the world just how talented she truly is.

A pioneer in the industry, she opened the door for future female Hip Hop artists by daring to do what had never been done while doing something she loved. MC Lyte is the FIRST rap artist ever to perform at New York’s historic Carnegie Hall, the FIRST female rapper to ever receive a gold single, the FIRST female solo rapper ever nominated for a Grammy and in 2006, MC Lyte became the FIRST solo female rapper to be honored/inducted on VH-1’s HIP HOP HONORS.

MC Lyte has graced network television as well as the big screen and she has been the voice behind the VH1 Hip Hop Honors and national campaigns for Wherehouse Music, Coca-Cola, McDonald’s and Nike.  She is the hot of Morning Cup on Centric and recently unveiled her lyrical talent, once again, to the world with the release of her latest album, LEGEND.

A role model to women and respected by men everywhere, MC Lyte never compromises who she is and consistently displays that a woman can turn heads fully clothed! Whenever possible, MC Lyte enjoys traveling across the nation to use her expertise and story of success to motivate others to take ownership of the world around them while striving to be the best they can possibly be.  Author of “UNSTOPPABLE:  Igniting the Power Within to Achieve Your Greatest Potential,” MC Lyte provides keynote addresses at educational institutions, community centers and corporations around the globe and has also been active in many social projects, including anti-violence campaigns, HIV / AIDs prevention, and Rock the Vote.  MC Lyte is also the author of “Living in the Lyte: Lessons in Life, Love and Truth” and “Fusion: Bridging the Gap between the Civil Rights Movement and Hip Hop,” a book she co-authored with Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr.

MC Lyte resides in Los Angeles, California, and reigns as the CEO of Sunni Gyrl, Inc. and the Chair of Hip Hop Sisters Foundation, which has presented over $750,000 in college scholarships ( She is a past President, Trustee and Governor of the Los Angeles Chapter of the Recording Academy (Grammy organization), a member of the Board of Trustees at Dillard University, and is a proud honorary member of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc.

Twitter/IG: @mclyte


Siimba Liives Long (Ethiopia/NYC)

Siimba Liives Long- nomadic warrior.

Art relies on duality. Creation happens between two extremes—light and dark, yin and yang, sad and happy, and so on and so forth. That brings us to Siimba Liives Long. Born in New York, raised in Ethiopia he’s just as familiar with the lions of the streets as he is with the lions of the jungle. His first “sonic series,” Zemenays Gemiinii, reflects a deep perspective fashioned by a life lived on opposite sides of the world.

“From an identity perspective, I’m very much African-American—in the literal sense of the term,” he declares. “Ethiopia and America are equally important to me. When you change your environment, you have to change your perspective. When you change your perspective, you’re forced to learn new things, adapt, and open your mind. My travels enabled me to not only open my mind, but my music as well.”

Siimba started rapping during grade school in Ethiopia. Inspired by the likes of everyone from Nas, 2 Pac, G Unit, The Fugees, DMX, and Outkast, he further honed his craft once back in the States at military school. He spent years silently carving out his style before officially emerging in 2015.

His introduction came with teeth—quite literally. After scraping together all the money he could, Siimba financed the production of a bi-continental music video for his debut single “Cocaine Bimbie.” Shot in South Africa, Brooklyn, and Ethiopia and starring locals and lions, it got the internet buzzing following its premiere on Noisey. Over jazz-y throwback production, he spits thought-provoking and energetic bars before a smooth, soulful refrain that will get you moving and thinking.

“I felt like I found myself as an artist, and this is the beginning,” he explains. “I wanted to come with a fully fleshed-out vision. The song is my announcement that I’m putting all my energy into music. I’m giving it my all.”

It also introduces Zemenays Gemiinii and gives a hint at what’s to come from Siimba.

“My mother’s name is Zemenay, and I am a Gemini,” he explains. “The Gemini is the twin sign, and there are two halves. I feel like I notice two sides to lots of things. I might rap about things other artists rap about but I’m not always glorifying it. It’s an accurate representation of the good and the bad. The whole project is based on true experiences.”

Seeing him live is the real experience. With kinetic and unforgettable presence, he “eats fire and tells stories.” Now, that fire is about to spread.

“My art is experienced on all levels,” he leaves off. “It’s not just sonic or visual. It’s everything. When you see me, I hope you feel that energy. That connection is the most important thing. I want to inspire people to be themselves and overcome fears. That’s my entire existence. I make the most of my time because time is the most valuable currency available. If you lose that shit, you’re not getting it back. I hope to share that.”


Escuadron Patriota (Cuba)

Raudel Collazo Pedroso (A.K.A. Escuadron Patriota or S4dron) is a leader of the Cuban Hip Hop movement and known throughout Cuba and Latin America as a representative of true hip hop and Afro-Cuban rights. Raudel manages a music studio in Mayabeque, Cuba.  Raudel is known for his socially critical lyrics and commitment to push Afro-Cuban rights and pro-democratic ideals in his music. In response to Raudel’s positive message and perspective, the Cuban Government censors him and he is not allowed to perform in any state venue in all of Cuba. Raudel is one of the most censored artists in Cuba. Raudel rose to fame with his hit song “Decadencia” which translates to “Decadence” in English.

MC Shooog Ray (Russia)

Shooog Ray (aka Shug) started his career in 97-98 as a b-boy and was a dedicated rap fan as a new culture appeared in Russia. In 2003, he started to participate in freestyle battles in the War and Peace club. he continues performing as a rap artist and also as a DJ and beat maker. He is an active member of the Hip Hop Union movement in Moscow, a collective that fosters the knowledge and development of hip hop traditions through events, music, dance and more.

DJ Kool Flash

DJ Kool Flash is a 10-year old DJ and B-Girl. She has been chosen by Ma Dukes herself to represent the James Dewitt Yancey (J.Dilla) Foundation as the foundation’s youngest DJ. Flash has been DJing for several years already and released her latest mixtape Underground Playground (download here) hosted by M1 of Dead Prez and featuring Sadat x (who declared her “youngest in charge!”). Kool Flash has opened for Lauren Hill, Smif N Wesson, Heltah Skeltah, Redman, Method Man, Masta Ace and performed at the 39th annual rock Steady Crew Anniversary.  Every Thursday Night “GLOBAL HEADPHONES” From 7-9PM (EST)

Marvalyss (Hartford)

Marvalyss’ flow, delivery, cadence and charisma are the reasons Mc’s have to prepare to go hard or go home. Scripting verses since a very young age, Marvalyss emerges bringing back that lost era of hip-hop true music fans yearn for. Honing his skills to diversify rap as a true MC, he has also added definitive r&b writing, vocal arranging and production to his already impressive catalogue and credit. Marvalyss is one of the most underrated, insightful and innovative platforms to showcase some of the greatest talent on earth! One listen and you too shall understand that this kid is what the world has definitely been missing and waiting on!

Leandra & The Dream

Leandra is a Queer Gender Non-Binary Ecuadorian/Dominican Rapper from Brooklyn, New York.

Keysha Freshh (Toronto)

In a historically male dominated industry, female MC’s have had a tough go trying to find their place in the spotlight. Keysha, born and raised in Toronto, Canada, has been able to make not only a name for herself, but a statement as well.

Also known as Keysha Freshh, the talented hiphop artist and songwriter has been honing her mic skills in an attempt to make her mark in the music industry.Since age five when she penned her first song which was published in a local newspaper, Keysha has been singing at events across the Greater TorontoArea.She has performed the Canadian anthem at several community events and was a member of the popular Toronto Children’s choir (TC3).With the encouragement of Canadian hip-hop and R & B producer T-Minus, Keysha’s first full-length rap song, Pardon my Swag, was released on August 8, 2008 (ironically, 8 is Keysha’s favorite number).The following year, Keysha – who enjoys writing – penned several songs and in 2010, released her first single, Hollywood Fresh, which received significant airplay on commercial radio stations. A few months later, the video and remix for Hollywood Fresh was released, both of which featured a cameo & verse from popular American hip-hop artist MIMS. Another single, Make it Look Easy, featuring Bassline & JB (a project put together by P-Reign) was instantly picked up by commercial radio stations, making Keysha the youngest Canadian female artists to have three songs in 12 months on the airwaves.Inthe past two years, Keysha has collaborated with several top artists, including Doug E Fresh who is considered the pioneer of 20th century American beatboxing, Mims, P-Reign, Darryl Riley, The Rezza Brothers and Ray Robinson.

With two mix tapes, one Demo an EP and 2 front-page magazine covers, accumulated in just four years, Keysha is well on her way to stardom. She recently started an awareness outreach initiative – KeysFORAutism — which uses social media to raise awareness about kids living with autism and an online blog – SpottedFreshh — which is an urban site that showcases events, videos, music, albums and youth talent.


Babaluku (Uganda)

Babaluku (aka Silas Balabyekkubo), is an award-winning musician, producer, community youth advocate and social entrepreneur. A founding member of Uganda’s legendary hip hop group, Bataka Squad, Babaluku is known for introducing Luga Flow to Uganda’s creative scene. This unique and powerful indigenous rooted style of positive Hip Hop music has inspired youth in Uganda to embrace and celebrate their native languages, culture and tradition. Babaluku is dedicated to changing lives and giving hope to young people from the ghetto slums of Kampala to Northern Uganda and other rural regions. Through the Bavubuka Foundation Babaluku supports projects that are calling forth the spirit of Ugandan people in creative arts, youth empowerment, education, community development, sports, fashion, journalism, and community-building events.
Born and raised in Uganda until the age of twelve, Babaluku’s creative spirit is driven by his desire to honor and highlight his musical roots while creating unique, fresh and relevant music which inspires unity and directs attention to the power of the spiritual.

Babaluku has shared the stage with many globally acclaimed artists, including Michael Franti, Shad K, Okai and KRS-ONE. In addition to his own album, Luga Flow Revolution, he has been featured on legendary international hip hop albums such as Close to My Roots by Black Star Line, Internationally Known by Nomadic Wax and Officially Offside by Khulumani Group.

Since 2007 Babaluku has amassed a multitude of awards including a Pearl of Africa Award for Best Hip Hop Single and taking home Buzz Teen Awards top honor for Best Hip Hop Artist. He also garnered international acclaim as the featured artist in the documentary Diamonds in the Rough which won the Audience Choice Award at Dances With Films Festival and Best Feature Documentary at Peace on Earth Film Festival. In 2010 Babaluku was honored by the Uganda Canadian Cultural Association for his Excellence and also chosen as Pioneer of the Year by the Words Beats & Life Remix Teach-In Awards.

It doesn’t end there. Babaluku is also responsible for creating Spoken Truth, a monthly event and the first urban spoken word movement in Uganda, which provides a platform for poets and artists in all areas to showcase their work and express their passion. In addition Babaluku has hosted and been the prime sponsor for the Uganda Hip Hop Summit which has been celebrated as the annual highlight of Uganda’s Hip Hop scene for the last twelve years.

2015 promises to connect global Hip Hop movements and organizations to his annual Back TO the Source Hip Hop On the Nile retreat creating a spiritual ancestral experience for indigenous hip hop practitioners and leaders committed to deepening their transformative Hip Hop Culture practices, unifying and rebuilding our communities.




DJ Boo (USA/Philippines)

The exceptional DJ Boo has held down the 1s and 2s for EVERY Trinity festival!

Born and raised in New York, the youngest of four children, Boo was exposed to everything from Mozart, Kiss and Donna Summer to Led Zeppelin, Beethoven and Brand Nubian. He had a strong affinity to all things rhythmic, and when he was given the choice of musical instruments to learn he quickly chose the drums. Throughout his middle and high school years the drums were his means of musical expression. During this time he was introduced to the sounds of Public Enemy, Boogie Down Productions, and a daily dose of Hip-hop from Yo! MTV Raps. It was also during this time that his brother got his first set of turntables and Boo was then introduced to DJ’ing. Throughout his college years he DJ’ed school events, house parties, and small events in Manhattan. Although he greatly enjoyed DJ’ing, the use of the turntable as a viable means of musical expression never crossed his mind until he saw Roli Rho of The 5th Platoon performing a routine using duplicates of the 45 Kings “900 Number”. It was that performance that enabled him to see the turntables in a brand new light, and he spent countless hours relearning the craft. The time spent practicing and listening to music paid off and has led him down a path that has allowed him to share the stage with the likes of Kool G. Rap, Ghostface Killah, Aesop Rock, Mr. Lif, Talib Kweli, Common, Uberzone, DJ Shortkut , and DJ Big Wiz to name a few. It has also allowed him to be involved with artists like Super Natural, Adagio, Consequence (of A Tribe Called Quest fame), Sharmaji and Quannum recording artists ApSci (Applied Science). Boo is currently working with The Juggaknots, Koba, Eternia and Nomadic Wax’s Global Underground All-Stars.

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