MarKaus is Des Moines-based hip-hop artist and music label proprietor who has recently started putting on FreshenUP, a new monthly series showcasing local and regional artists involved in the Midwest’s rising hip-hop scene. The next FreshenUP will take place at The Basement at the Des Moines Social Club on December 12 at 9 PM. More information available from the DMSC website.
How did you come up with the idea for the FreshenUP series? What was the genesis of your desire to have a more hip-hop centric event in Des Moines?
The original idea was to start a monthly show built around the releases and artist on my label MediaFresh. After planning, I realized how much of an impact we could make on the city’s hip-hop scene. With that, I decided to include not only other hip hop artists in the town but rising talent from all over the region.
Tell us about who is playing this edition of FreshenUP on December 12. Why did you reach out to the artists on this bill?
The theme of this next FreshenUP is “Soul Sessions.” I’ve had the pleasure of working with most of these artists in one way or another and felt that they would hold down the tradition we’ve already set up. For this edition I have Steddy P, head of Kansas City’s Indy Ground crew, who is touring for his recently released album. DM Wright is the DJ for the night, along with The Illest Around B-Boy crew. My goal is to make sure the atmosphere is crisp and fresh.
What do you hope people take away when they leave a FreshenUP session?
A sense of completion. MediaFresh has been Des Moines’ most consistent source of dope albums and visuals. Now we also serve that purpose with live entertainment. I want people to feel like they’ve been blessed.
How has curating the FreshenUP events opened your eyes to new artists in Des Moines and the Midwest?
It is dope because I was already in tune with who was moving and where for the most part, but this gives me the opportunity to allow fans to see their favorite artists compete. It has opened my eyes to exactly how central of a location Des Moines can be regionally for art and especially hip-hop.
What can we expect of future FreshenUP events?
Each month’s theme will be new, fresh, and innovating. The sessions will lead up to a Fall hip-hop festival soon to be announced.
Lastly, why do you think it is important for everyone to be exposed to the culture of hip-hop? In a town that doesn’t support hip-hop like it should, does this event represent a push towards better representation of all genres of music as well as more awareness centered on hip-hop?
It’s interesting, but I think a lot of fans wonder why there aren’t more hip-hop events in Des Moines. Hip-Hop is the language of the people, the voice of your soul. Anyone breathing should take it in naturally. This event along with our commitment to making quality music will not only make the city aware, but the entire nation. dsm