"I don't usually do battles but it might be fun to just jump in, no one would expect me to do that," says JS-1, a producer who has released two acclaimed rap compilations, including last year's Claimstake. He plans to go to different spots, but "only hip-hop parties" such as the invite-only jams sponsored by car manufacturer Scion.
Eothen "Egon" Alapatt, DJ and general manager for Stones Throw Records, notes hip-hop and house have a lot in common. "Ask anybody who knows where all this stuff came from, and they'll say funk and disco. We at Stones Throw are into the roots of it all," he says. The label usually throws a funk/hip-hop jam, and this year is no exception, although their event with label head Peanut Butter Wolf, Madlib, Medaphor, and MF Doom is another exclusive, invite-only Scion affair. But don't be surprised if some of the crew pop up at other events around town, both behind the decks and onstage.
Old-school prankster rapper Kool Keith will be here, too. He says in a phone call from an Australian hotel that he'll be providing "lyrics and stage presence" for Fresh El Camino Part Deux. The MC legend adds that he's a novelty in this age of producer-driven rap. "I think I'm one of the last of the rappers like KRS, Rakim, and so forth that can make a producer," notes the man who helped Dan the Automator and Kutmasta Kurt achieve renown. Kool Keith says it will be his first time performing in Miami since 1991, when he played a club as one of the Ultramagnetic MCs "somewhere in Liberty City."
Marcelo "Karakter" Burgos, who is promoting the Kool Keith party with Andrew "DJ Contra" Nazaretz, says the convergence of hundreds of artists during the conference makes it possible to book acts he usually couldn't afford. "A lot of hip-hop acts," says Karakter. "Now's their chance."