Gem City Get Down’s charity dance party
By Josher Lumpkin
Everybody knows Dayton is a city that loves a good party; but what if I told you there is a hip-hop dance party, complete with the requisite DJs and breakdancers, you could really feel good about supporting? That would be the Gem City Get Down, an old-school blowout that gets people together to dance, and donates all of the door money to various causes.
“It’s a party we like to think hails back to the foundation of hip-hop,” Mike Cooley, of the local hip-hop duo Trunk Bound Regime, the group responsible for the Gem City Get Down, said. “DJs playing music for people to get down to. Taking hip hop back to the essence of just having fun. And it’s all in the name of charity.”
Since 2011, Cooley and rap partner Bezus Christ have been throwing the Get Down at Blind Bob’s in the Oregon District, where they spin their favorite funk, Latin, hip-hop and soul grooves for their audience’s eager eardrums.
This time around, the Gem City Get Down will be hosted by MC Picket Fence, DJ’d by Trunk Bound Regime and DJ Pluto, and proceeds will go to El Puente, a local after-school program for Hispanic youth.
“We like to alternate as much as possible between local and worldwide charities,” Cooley said. “On a local level, we’ve raised money for the East End Community Center, Team Brenden (a local child battling cancer) and the Mobley family (victims of a recent house fire in Kettering). We did a Get Down for the victims of the Alabama tornados a few years back, and one for the Typhoon Haiyan victims. We’ve also raised money for Kiva.org, which is unique because that money gets paid back eventually when donated and then we donate it back out again.”
Kiva.org is a crowdfunding web site where prospective lenders can go to make loans to would-be entrepreneurs who live in poverty around the world.
“We’ve made a total of 82 loans, and we only have a 3 percent delinquency rate, so almost all of what’s been loaned has been repaid,” Cooley said. “Kiva is great because you come to one party, pay three bucks, have a good time and then your donation makes a difference worldwide for years to come.” Currently, the duo has about $1,000 in repaid funds from Kiva they are about to lend to other projects on the site.
So, what made Cooley and Christ want to start the Gem City Get Down? After all, there is money to be made throwing parties that could go directly into the promoter’s wallet, instead of to charity.
“For one, we were fed up with local rap shows in general,” Cooley explained. “Where other styles of music may have five acts tops, local rap shows will have 15 and each act does two songs. We were getting booked on a decent amount of rap shows in the area at the time, and they were more of a headache than anything else. So, we got together with some of our local rap counterparts and said, ‘Why not have a show with no rappers?’ Take it back to the essence. And make it so any friend of ours, regardless of their financial situation, can afford to come out and party. And then, while we are bucking trends, let’s donate all the proceeds to charity.”
So, the Gem City Get Down was born. Nate Mendenhall, general manager of Blind Bob’s, is proud to support Trunk Bound Regime on their charitable party endeavors.
“I like that the get down is a real back-to-the-roots kind of hip hop event with a focus on community,” Mendenhall said. “It’s always a fundraiser for a good cause, and often they bring in amazing dance crews. And the DJs are all top notch.”
As if a righteous party supporting El Puente were not enough, this time around the Gem City Get Down will have a cherry on top: Jägermeister will be at the Get Down from 10 p.m. until midnight providing shots and other goodies to those in attendance over the age of 21.
As for Trunk Bound Regime, the hip hop and DJ collective responsible for this altruistic event, what’s new for them?
“We’ve released a few projects online recently,” Cooley said. “One is a collaborative mixtape with our buddy Seth Rock called Strikes & Gutters (also available on cassette). We’ve also been doing a web series called True Note Sessions where we remix some other songs; put our spin on them.
“We’d like to give a shout out to Blind Bob’s for letting us have the event there and we hope the Gem City Get Down can continue to grow and help out as many people as possible.”
The Gem City Get Down, hosted by MC Picket Fence and DJ’d by Trunk Bound Regime and DJ Pluto will be at Blind Bob’s, 430 E. Fifth Street, on Saturday, May 24. Admission is $3 for 18 and up. Doors at 9 p.m. For more on Trunk Bound Regime, please visit soundcloud.com/trunkboundregime. For more on El Puente, please visit facebook.com/elpuentedayton.
Reach DCP freelance writer Josher Lumpkin at josherlumpkin@DaytonCityPaper.com.