When it comes to hip hop in the New York area, I personally enjoy some of the performance-based events, and several of them have a long-running track record, a testimony to the fact that I’m not the only one. One of these ongoing events is Hip Hop Karaoke, particularly the New Jersey edition, faithfully run by Mandeep Bindra and Afotey Annum. We’ve been to the HHKNJ event (as well as the New York championships), but always liked the New Jersey edition because it’s usually in a smaller venue, which makes for a slightly more intimate, friendly night on the mic.
Even more exciting than when we spotlight these events, is when deserving hip hop people, places and things that we’ve covered, find their way to a more mainstream audience. This happened on the weekend of December 15, 2012 as Hip Hop Karaoke NJ was featured on Spotlight NJ, a News 12 New Jersey program highlighting local goodness.
During the interview, Mandeep explained the catalyst for starting the event series. “For me it was a nostalgic way to keep connected the music that I grew up on,” he said. After attending the New York version multiple times, he caught the bug. “We decided to start a New Jersey chapter. The idea is to ‘give back’ to the music we all grew up on, and do in a way that’s not traditional karaoke.”
Asked why Hip Hop Karaoke doesn’t display the words for performers, Bindra explains, “It’s really just to give people the chance to honor and think about what they’re doing. You really gotta own the song and know it before you come and do it.” He tells Spotlight NJ host Della Crews, “Reading lyrics from the screen we feel takes away from the showmanship, and we want you to be every element of hip hop when you get up there for five minutes, the show, the act, the swag, everything.”
Hip Hop Karaoke NJ has been around for about three years, and currently takes place at Richies Sport Bar in Edison, NJ. For more information, including future shows, and to find out how to perform, visit the Hip Hop Karaoke NJ Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/hhknj.
Watch the full Hip Hop Karaoke NJ segment on News 12 New Jersey’s Spotlight NJ below.