For the last six years, Joey Grihalva’s Holiday Hip-Hop Party has served as a means of providing the city with quality holiday-adjacent entertainment that raises funds for a noble cause along the way. The annual December showcase—which returns to Cactus Club on Friday, December 23—raises funds for Milwaukee Public Schools.
“I started it in 2010 when I was living in Montreal. My mom worked for Milwaukee Public Schools, I’m a product of MPS, and I know that MPS is perpetually underfunded,” Grihalva says. “I have rapper friends from Milwaukee, and I figured we could put together a show while we were all home for the holidays and raise some money for MPS teachers. Those first few years, I donated the funds to different classroom projects through DonorsChoose.org.”
For this latest iteration, Grihalva decided to make his benefit affiliated with Arte Para Todos (which he co-organized this year) to expand his event and spread the funds to area art programs.
“Arte Para Todos came along in 2015 with a similar mission, but on a much larger scale. Also, they are focused on arts education,” Grihalva says. “It made sense to team up, so now the Holiday Hip-Hop benefit is an Arte Para Todos-affiliated event.”
The 6th annual benefit brings about the triumphant return of Brooklyn (by way of Milwaukee) emcee Queen Tut, the Milwaukee debut of Chicago’s SoloSam, Taj Raiden, Dad, and DJ duties handled by Turtle Sooup and Domonique.
Unlike previous years, the Holiday Hip-Hop Party will be preceded by a Freespace Holiday Fundraiser at Jazz Gallery. The event features Genesis Renji, along with performances by youth rappers riQo the menace, Jxst Dame, Dread Sxott, A.D.H.D., Young Epic, and D.J. The Jenius being backed by Rhythm Changes. Poet Kavon Cortez-Jones will host the show.