Locals: Summer Jam 614 is a 2013 snapshot of Columbus’ hip-hop talent

By Paul Meara
From the August 8, 2013 edition

It’s not every day that a single venue can be a one-stop shop for a large portion of a city’s talent set. This weekend, that’s the case with Summer Jam 614, and it will be a competition as much a showcase.

Saturday night, Skully’s Music Diner will feature 11 different acts, including multiple groups. Rapping won’t be the only thing showcased either. DJs, singers and more will also be on hand during a night of debauchery and city pride.

Summer Jam 614 show promoters and Elevator Music heads Dion Thompson and Rashad Thomas, who is also performing Saturday, said the event began because precedent was limited.

“We started it out of necessity of not having a good show with all the [musicians] we thought were the best local Columbus talent,” Thomas said. “It kind of started as us wanting to do our version of Summer Jam.”

Saturday’s show will feature performances by Rashad and The 3RD, Hodgie Street, Young Wise, Ellastarr, Trek Manifest, Fabrashay A, Luxury League, Wezzee, King Vada and Supanatra and will be deejayed by DJ F.A.T.E.

The show title “Summer Jam” typically refers to the New York version where artists, mostly from The Big Apple, are showcased. The 614 interpretation may not be as wide-scale but the show is still formulated as a natural competition, bringing out the best in all of the artists featured.

“I love the idea of having competition, and this is a competitive night,” Thomas said. “Everyone wants their show to be better than the last person on stage. Everyone brings their A-game.”

The showcase was on hiatus last year, and the last time the event was held was in 2011 at Club Icon, featuring the largest audience the show had ever had.

Sponsored by The Pulse Radio, 2013’s edition expects another packed house. Previous to the show’s beginning five years ago, little in the way of hip-hop concerts were thrown at Skully’s, which has become a haven of late for urban music.

“Before we threw a show there, Skully’s was untapped,” Thomas explained. “There really weren’t any local artists performing there, and it’s become that.

“I think we pride ourselves on having our ear to the streets to what’s poppin.’ I think our city can be proud of this.”