How to Make a Museum Hip Hop Series

May 17, 2012

Tonight marks the launch of Through the Mic: LACMA x Hip Hop, a new monthly concert series taking place on the third Thursday of every month from May to October, co-curated by LACMA and hip hop artist Murs. The inaugural show—3MG, aka Murs, Scarub, and Eligh—is sold out. But you can buy tickets now for next month’s performance, Dumbfoundead and Medusa. Jason Gaulton, who heads LACMA’s Muse programs, details how the concert series came about.

Step 1: Dream It
It’s the classic L.A. story, kind of. Maybe not Boy meets Girl, but Museum meets Rapper. We teamed up with Murs a few months ago to create the first live music series dedicated to hip hop at a major arts institution. Now, it's ready to launch.

Step 2: Name It
Through the Mic stems from hip hop’s mode of expression. Microphones are to hip hop as brushes are to painting. The relatively simple tool unlocks a world of gripping truth, vivid imagination, and a wide range of emotion. Life stories bad and good take on greater meaning when amplified and accompanied by a beat. They become more than words; the mic makes them anthems.

Step 3: Frame It
Through the Mic is not only about hip hop—it’s also a celebration of Los Angeles. The genre is the perfect showcase for our city’s talent, diversity, and spirit. Through the Mic’s performers span L.A.’s various neighborhoods, each bringing unique sounds and messages.

Step 4: Place It
Location. Location. Location. LACMA happens to have one of the best. The stage set up in front of Chris Burden’s Urban Light gives any outdoor venue this side of the Hollywood Bowl a run for its money. The 202 streetlamps provide an incredible backdrop in the heart of the museum. Hip hop will have never looked so good.

Step 5: Rock It
Any concert series is only as good as its music and, as we’re trying to launch a series that will flourish for years to come, we thought we better have some damn good music. Through the Mic co-curator Murs takes the stage this Thursday as part of the reunited 3MG: Murs, Eligh, and Scarub, originally formed a few miles away at Hamilton. In June, Koreatown icon Dumbfoundead shares a bill with the high priestess of underground hip hop herself Medusa and the rising star Gizzle. Announcements for July through October are coming very soon so don’t stray too far.

Jason Gaulton, Muse Coordinator