Wednesday, April 17, 2024


Big Brotha Sadi of the Wreck Shop Movement

Big Brotha Sadi of the Wreck Shop Movement performs at a Freedom Cypher in Harvard Square’s Democracy Center. (Photo: David Fanning)

Looking for a great gift for the city you love, but you just can’t decide what to get? How about guaranteeing it stays a center for musical creativity by turning the entire first floor of Harvard Square’s Democracy Center into a House of Hip-Hop for one night each month?

There are two weeks left in a $1,500 crowdfunding campaign to not just guarantee space for the monthly Freedom Cypher event, but to expand the event from a single room to an entire floor of hip-hop resources. The kitchen and other rooms on the first floor could become space for vendors and artists to display merchandise, the Solidified Sound Lab would have funding to keep recording participants and the organizers, the Wreck Shop Movement, can set up their “Vibrary” – a vinyl and cassette music library.

Update on Jan. 8, 2015: The fundraising has moved to this page on another crowdsourcing site.

“We’re confident we’ll be able to reach our fundraising goal,” said Justice Born, founder, organizer and promoter of the Wreck Shop Movement. “The Freedom Cypher has become a staple in the local hip-hop community.”

The event – which celebrated its three-anniversary in late November – provides a glimpse of the area’s vibrant hip-hop scene, and a chance to hear emcees, singers, beatboxers, musicians and DJs for free. It also showcases local merchants (after its founding at Park Street in Boston, the Cypher was hosted for a while by Harvard Square’s Kulturez shop), visual artists and broadcasters. It’s an open studio environment that lets participants try out ideas and engage in unique collaborations.

“We don’t plan to ever charge entry, but space costs money,” Born said. “The Democracy Center, which is a nonprofit venue, has been good to us by not charging us rent for the past year.”

Born continued:

As we move in to the new year we have to seriously consider how we’re going to pay for the space so we don’t get bumped out of our usual time slot. One of the major risks we face without funding is not being able to guarantee where and when the cypher will happen, whereas paying for the space upfront helps us secure our spot on the last Sunday of every month from 6 to 9 p.m.

In addition to paying rent, money from the Kickstarter campaign will go toward getting funders their rewards, which could be money extremely well spent for aspiring musicians. People giving $50 or more get not just recording and mixing time engineered by Wreck Shop producer Tommy Forge, but can get beats as well. (There are also stickers, social media shoutouts and USB wristbands from Producers United.)