The House Party: Bringing Life Back into Des Moines Hip-Hop

One wouldn’t assume that the hip-hop scene in Des Moines is thriving; but Station 1 Record’s House Party is working on changing that. The non-profit label for local artists has had concerts at the Drake University neighborhood venue, Lefty’s, in the past year with more of an alternative-rock vibe. With recent rap/hip-hop signee, MarKaus, Station 1 is making the bold move to reinvigorate the hip-hop scene in Des Moines.

When Station 1 Records signed MarKaus, Director Tobi Parks and label realized “It’s important to create a space for hip hop in the Des Moines music scene…. it’s there but limited.” And the outline for The House Party began.

The Army Behind the Party

Designed and planned to draw upon the classic 80’s house parties with dancing and DJs and nothing but a good time, Station 1 Records had their work cut out for them. With only a venue, a few performers and an outline as to what they wanted the event to accomplish, they recruited a Drake University School of Journalism and Mass Communication class on the recorded music industry. These young students were able to provide a fresh, unbiased perspective on the current music scene around Drake University, and were responsible for all of the ideas and executions of what made The House Party’s first event successful. “House Party focuses on the philosophy of conscious hip hop to create a space for artists of color but is welcoming to all,” said Executive Director, Tobi Parks.

The versatility and different strengths of the students is what was able to make the first installation of the monthly event, The House Party, as fun as the students and Tobi Parks could have hoped. These students came from various educational backgrounds:

  • Journalism
  • Public Relations
  • Marketing
  • Advertising
  • Broadcast Journalism
  • Law, Politics and Society
  • Computer Science
  • Sociology

But no matter their educational background, these students had one thing in common: a passion for music. Whether it was music journalism, photography, advertising, composing, songwriting or just jamming out to their favorite music; these students were in the right place.

MarKaus recruited some of his fellow Des Moines hip hop artists to perform at The House Party, but some of the other acts might have seemed a bit unconventional for a hip hop concert. Drake University students Anthony Pawnell and Sam Fathallah, performed some of their own spoken word poetry at the event.

Not Just Another Rap Concert

Station 1 Records didn’t just want The House Party to breathe life into the hip hop scene, but they wanted The House Party to be a socially conscious event that was a safe space for artists of color that was open to all. Tobi Parks and the Station 1 team plan on bringing in other acts of different genres of music to broaden the audience and generate a message of solidarity among Des Moines residents, “Though hip hop is at its core, we’ll be incorporating a variety of artists and genres.” In fact, at the first House Party, starring act and emcee, MarKaus, released and performed a collaboration with other Station 1 artists including, folk, singer-songwriter Lily DeTaeye, drummer, Graham Howland, and pianist, Dylan Sires.

The House Party will continue on as a monthly event for Station 1 Records. Proceeds go towards keeping Station 1 Records going and also towards local charities: YESS, Urban Dreams and Drake Crew Scholars. Continually starring their artists and other local acts as well. The last House Party was a hit, and you do not want to miss the next one. Come out on March 3, 2017 to Lefty’s in the Drake Neighborhood for the show.