Twice each month, people from all over the East Bay gather in downtown Oakland at the Mary Weather Art Gallery to dance, perform spoken-word poetry and listen to hip-hop music. Aptly called the Kickback Show, this block party features talent from innovative young artists in a variety of forms. This type of street performance is known as a cypher: It provides the community an avenue to express its creativity within a supportive group. In a cypher, participants take turns rapping, singing, dancing and reciting poetry.
The Kickback Show was started by local Berkeley hip-hop artist Zaire Adderton, who teamed up with the creative minds at the Mary Weather Art Gallery to create a collaborative space for the Bay Area community and bring underground artists into the limelight. What started out as just a couple of friends who met in UC Berkeley’s Students for Hip Hop club rapping together on Thursday nights has now expanded into a communitywide arts and music event.