Damn, it feels good to be environmentally conscious.
City officials called on local artists to write rap lyrics about pollution this year for the first-ever Boston Water and Sewer Commission Hip Hop Competition.
The commission was screening submissions this week, and winners were set to take the stage on City Hall Plaza Friday night, joined by Dorchester rappers Akrobatik and Fran-P and Berklee seven-piece Biscuits & Gravy.
There were about a dozen submissions by the July 31 deadline, each responding to one of four prompts on waterways issues, said Elie Saroufim, the commission’s special projects coordinator. The most popular, he said, was the one about keeping dog doo off the street (where it can end up polluting water and spurring unwanted algae growth).
“’Scoop the Poop’ is definitely the most popular,” Saroufim told Metro. “’Wipes and Pipes’ is rhyme-y too, so we had some rhymes about that. But ‘Scoop the Poop’ is a big one.”
"Wipes" is a campaign to keep people from putting sanitary wipes and other paper products in the toilet – only toilet paper goes there, Saroufim said. (Ain’t nothin’ to flush with, you might say.)
The idea, Saroufim said, was to relate to Boston on important issues and provide a platform for musicians, all at once.
“Outdoor hip-hop hasn’t been represented in Boston, and in the meantime at work we were coming up with ways to reach out to people in Boston,” he said. “I was like, ‘Wow, we could try to marry these two things together.’”
The city teamed up with Leedz Edutainment, a concert promoter and major player in the local rap scene, to put on the community event.
Saroufim said first-place winners would get the chance to perform at the Middle East in Cambridge, where Leedz books shows. Whole Foods also contributed gift cards.
The event is a launch pad for a new initiative called “We Are All Connected,” aimed at helping Boston become more aware of protecting the water supply. Coming soon is an interactive web page, Saroufim said. And if all goes well, he said, the rap contest could become an annual event.
The way Akrobatik sees it, he told Metro, blending beats and pro-Earth lyrics is the perfect way to reach Boston’s youth.
“The younger generation are the people who are going to inherit this issue and I think that’s a good way to bridge the gap,” said the Boston native (born Jared Bridgeman), who also teaches hip-hop history at UMass Boston. “A lot of music that’s out there doesn’t call attention to the most important things. What’s more important than water? Water conservation is pretty much everything.”