Underground rap artists showcase their work in Mount Pleasant


Self-made producer and rap artist Damien Montgomery Jr., known as DGMJ, raps to a beat he produced at a music showcase on Oct. 26 at The Cabin. 

Underground rap and hip-hop artists are making their way to Mount Pleasant with the help of Lyrically Gifted Downtown (LGD), an independent music promotion company spearheaded by a Central Michigan University student.  

On Oct. 26 LGD hosted "A Night in the City," a music showcase at The Cabin that featured artists SNAFU, Isan and DGMJ. 

The event was hosted by JoJo Dolomite, radio personality for Power 96.5 – a Lansing radio station for hip-hop and R&B. Dolomite kept the rhythm for the night by welcoming guests, introducing artists and closing the event.

Flint rapper and sophomore Isan Francis performed first with a sample of spoken word poetry, quickly kicking off into an original song.

According to Isan’s artist bio on LGD’s website, “Isan worked expeditiously in the city of Flint."

He performed at Justice4Flint, a musical showcase that was held in Flint, and his poetry has led him to activism and collaborating with other artists like Danielle Horton and Mama Soul, according to the website. 

Isan views himself as “the people’s artist,” trying to uncover topics that are not normally talked about, helping to relate to his audience. 

Following Isan’s performance, self-made producer and rap artist Damien Montgomery Jr., also known as DGMJ, took the stage. 

Inspired by his father, Montgomery aspires to be the best producer in the industry and has taken initiative to bring that dream into reality. 

“I make beats, on top of beats, on top of beats," Montgomery said. "Some of them I sell to other artists, others I put out for free. I’m going to get my name out through the artists that use them."

The closing performance at the showcase was aspiring rapper Ayinde Pulliam, also known as SNAFU. 

“Coming from Lansing his sound in music is very uncommon but it is still influenced by a lot of well-known artists from the east side,” SNAFU’s bio stated. 

Pulliam said he values the importance of being a locally grown artist, a value that stands as part of LGD’s mission statement.

“I believe it’s good to be locally known first because if you can build on a foundation of where you’re from, people will ride with you anywhere,” Pulliam said.

LGD's editor-in-chief is Detroit sophomore Kiyanna Johnson and Friday night's event was LGD's first showcase of the year.

“My main purpose is to make sure their music is showcased,” said Johnson about the event.

Aside from creating and managing LGD’s website and networking with various artists, Johnson also plays a large role in planning and organizing the showcase events.

“First is the location," she said. "Many of the artists are from the larger cities. If it’s far out of the way, like it is here, I make sure they have a way to get up here. That means having transportation or gas money."

For information on upcoming performances presented by LGD in the Mount Pleasant area, follow their regularly updated Twitter @LGiftedDowntown and Instagram account.