Sol Festival Black Cap Conscious Hip Hop Show Los Angeles 2001

I did some searches and couldn’t find much about the Sol Festival in Los Angeles in 2001. They also happened down at Macarthur Park in later years.

This is making me pretty sad, because it was a huge event up in Griffith Park, featuring a lot of locally well known artists like Aztlan Unearthed, the Che Guevara All Stars, Burning Star. I think Medusa also performed.

I don’t know much about the hip hop scene, but there was a huge conscious hip hop period in LA that spun out a few bands like Ozomatli, Jurassic 5, and Black Eyed Peas. It was also connected to the Good Life in Leimert Park and their open mic, and the Luna Tierra Sol restaurant in Macarthur Park. Yeah, I know Ozo and BEP aren’t really hip hop, but, it was a kind of crosscultural style that was a mix of hip hop, Latin, and a little punk.

So it ended up coming out sounding like “party music”, I guess.

The irony is that the scene had a base in the left politics of Los Angeles, and many of the bands were playing lots of benefits for organizations. They got behind the scenes support from Rage Against the Machine, particularly via Zach de la Rocha, but also Tom Morello. I think Serj Tankian from System of a Down was also hooked into things.

It’s kind of trippy that this stuff isn’t that well documented on the web.  It was a small scene, but it was real. I guess it’s a real twist, though – it was rock and hip hop, but, mainly, it was Chicano in outlook, with a heavy dose of loving the Zapatistas in Mexico, but was multicultural.

This hat is from that era. I volunteered at one of the Sol Festivals and got a shirt and hat. The shirt is long gone and was worn out, but the hat is pristine, because I don’t wear hats too often.

Source: Sol Festival Black Cap Conscious Hip Hop Show Los Angeles 2001

More links:

I don’t know if Ollin played the Sol Festival, but they were a well known band during that period. They later became  on NPR for covering an album by The Pogues. This was from their folk-rap period. I think they started as a jazz and punk band.  This is on a period compilation from BYO (Youth Brigade’s label).

I don’t think Los Angeles really gets proper recognition for its local musical scenes.  Wouldn’t it be cool if these artists had longer-lived careers? It seems like people need to fit into marketing categories all the time, but people really don’t fit into those categories.


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