The 239 is a place where artists are chasing the hip hop dream through microphones in closets and judging success through YouTube hits. Motivations are plenty — money, a way out of the hood, therapy, communication, artistic collaboration.
In Naples and Fort Myers, Fla., an underground community of emcees, producers, DJs, and dreamers are pushing every day to create music in the genre they love.
Hip hop is a culture born of struggle and the lifestyle is as much about image as it is about music. Artists wear their riches around their necks to prove they’re legit. “Fakers” are called out through verse — challenged to put their lyrics in line with their actions.
Hip hop has spread from the streets of New York to every corner of the United States and continued its reach overseas. What is happening in The 239 is a microcosm of what is happening across the globe.
Hip hop culture and music is the vehicle delivering messages from an entire generation. It is a way for people to connect to others, a way to convey hopes and dreams or grievances. It gives voice, tells stories, opens dialogue. It allows people to enter a world they wish was theirs, or escape the one they are currently living.