Hip Hop and Heritage 

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Two big local music events are on tap for downtown Memphis this weekend.

Conceived and organized by MemphisRap.com, the Memphis Hip Hop Weekend and Expo will comprise a variety of events over the course of four days.

But before moving downtown, the Memphis Hip Hop Weekend will begin out east, with an all-day seminar Thursday, September 2nd, at the Macon Cove campus of Southwest Tennessee Community College. Panelists for the seminar, which begins at 11 a.m. and runs into the early evening, are scheduled to include MemphisRap.com founder and event organizer Hosea Mays, Memphis-bred producer Drumma Boy, Memphis Music Foundation's Cameron Mann, Grammy board member Kurt Clayton, and Yo Gotti manager and former Def Jam South executive Peppa Williams. Panel topics will include marketing, radio, songwriting, and legal issues, among other topics.

On Friday, the two-day expo opens at the Memphis Cook Convention Center with an industry trade show and all-day performance slates.

The Memphis Hip Hop Weekend and Expo has been designed to create connections within the local rap/hip-hop scene and between that segment of the music community and the city's industry infrastructure. In addition to the panels on Thursday, the expo Friday and Saturday is geared toward letting members of the local rap and hip-hop scenes get direct exposure to industry resources the city has to offer.

The expo will also serve as a showcase of local talent, with scheduled performers including Kia Shine, present or past Three 6 Mafia associates such as Lil Wyte, Gangsta Boo, and La Chat, up-and-comers Teflon Don, Yung Kee, and HillKrunk, Christian rapper Mr. Del, six-year-old P-Nutt, and "hip-hop violinist" Lila.

Other weekend events include celebrity baseball and basketball games; a hip-hop art, tattoo, and fashion show; and a BMX bike show. Additionally, the Southern Entertainment Awards, an annual event that recognizes regional, independent rap/hip-hop-connected entities and which relocated to Memphis from Tunica this year, will announce its 2011 award nominees at the expo.

General admission single-day passes are $10 for adults and $5 for kids ages 6-12. Single-day VIP admission is $30. An all-event pass for the entire weekend is $75. For information, go to memphishiphopweekend.com.

While the Memphis Hip Hop Expo is going down Saturday at the north end of Main Street, a few blocks away one of the city's best annual music and cultural events will be getting started. The 23rd Memphis Music & Heritage Festival will take place in and around the Center for Southern Folklore at Main and Peabody Place on Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Always a terrific sampler of regional culture — with music only the chief calling card — this year's Music & Heritage Festival will pay tribute to one of its greatest friends, late musician and producer Jim Dickinson, who was a regular performer at the festival over the years and who passed away last year.

Music will be distributed across four stages each day. On Saturday, potential highlights include: indie pop faves Mouse Rocket (2 p.m.), jug-band specialists the Bluff City Backsliders (7 p.m.), and soul-blues legend Bobby Rush (10:15 p.m.) on the ArtsMemphis Stage; vintage country performer Roy Harper (1:15 p.m.) and blues/roots artist William Lee Ellis (9:15 p.m.) on the Folklore Store Stage; garage-rockers Jack Oblivian & the Tennessee Tearjerkers (7:45 p.m.) on the Comcast Folklore Hall Stage; and the classic soul band The Bo-Keys (7:30 p.m.) on the Tennessee Arts Stage.

On Sunday, highlights might include: first-generation rockabilly performers Sonny Burgess & the Pacers (6:30 p.m.) and Dickinson's son Cody's Hill Country Revue (10:15 p.m.) on the ArtsMemphis Stage; the Dickinson-inspired Sons of Mudboy (7:15 p.m.) and blues pianist Eden Brent (9:15 p.m.) on the Folklore Store Stage; honky-tonk vet Eddie Bond (5:45 p.m.) and folk/alt-country songwriter Kate Campbell (9 p.m.) on the Comcast Folklore Hall Stage; and former International Blues Challenge winners the Homemade Jamz Blues Band (9:30 p.m.) on the Tennessee Arts Stage.

The Memphis Music & Heritage Festival is, as always, free. See southernfolklore.com for more information.

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