The show is a genre-bending experience blending variations of hip-hop into something new
The soulful sounds of a live jazz band, hip-hop acts and spoken word artists trending in the Las Vegas arts scene and from around the country will come together to perform at Mike Xavier’s Hip-Hop and Poetry Night on Saturday, January 8, 2022.
Get to Know Mike Xavier
Mike Xavier, a creative force in the Las Vegas arts community with LA roots, curates a lineup of about 10 seasoned performers to showcase their unique talent. Each artist owns the stage for about 5 to 10 minutes with DJ breaks in between. The show is a genre-bending experience blending variations of hip-hop into something fresh, lively and unlike anything audiences have seen before.
Hip-Hop and Poetry Night is like a local version of XXL Freshman Class meets Button Poetry, which are two widely respected platforms that embrace new voices representing this generation’s most influential and groundbreaking up-and-coming artists.
Xavier has opened up for several trailblazers in the Hip-Hop industry including Mobb Deep, KRS-One, Tech N9NE and Rakim. Back in July 2021, his song “Dream” was featured in an ESPN special on professional basketball player, Giannis Antetokounmpo.
His music continues to reach a large audience through his TV appearances and interviews on national networks such as FOX, NBC, and ABC News. Plus, he’s shared a bill with many legendary artists including The Weeknd, Florence + The Machine, and Travis Scott at The Life Is Beautiful Music Festival. Easily, he could keep the Brooklyn Bowl stage all for himself, but instead he shares the spotlight with seasoned newcomers.
After experiencing homelessness and living out of his car, he’s never forgotten the struggles he’s endured along the way to the top. Xavier remembers when he first started out at open mic nights and the hustle that led him into making a name for himself.
Hip-Hop and poetry Speaks to the Soul
“It’s not about me, but about giving artists the opportunity to share their art and connect with people that love the art they create,” Xavier tells Off the Strip. “People reach out after the show saying it really touched their soul. People thank me for putting the show together [and] say they needed it and connected [to it] on such a deep level. I’m grateful for that.”
When the production took off in 2019, the “Dream” artist intended to give exceptional performers an opportunity to grace a stage at a venue they usually can’t like the Brooklyn Bowl.
“When I first did this, people were into it and showing up to it. Just before COVID hit, it began selling out. It’s been cool to see everyone perform and give them the opportunity to perform at the Brooklyn Bowl,” says Xavier. “At the Brooklyn Bowl, I’ve never seen poets perform live. It’s new and it hasn’t happened before.”
Hip-Hop and Poetry Night will also take place this year in San Diego on Saturday, January 15 at Soda Bar, which offers some of the Vegas artists slated to perform here in town a chance to travel and reach new people in another city.
“I started performing at open mics myself and it’s cool to just go see these different acts and other acts that aren’t local coming in. It opens the door for collaborations,” explains Xavier.
Good vibes Only at Brooklyn Bowl
Vegas isn’t short on venues, but the Brooklyn Bowl offers the high quality level of production he wanted the entertainers to experience. The lighting, the sound and the ambiance combine to spark something special that he says is only achievable through a team effort.
“It’s such a large scale venue from what I’m used to. On my side, it’s great to see it grow to that level because it’s a much bigger production. And I also know from the performer’s side, it’s incredible to perform there and it brings me joy to be able to bring local artists on the same stage that takes on national acts.”
Local artists Take the Spotlight
As the show grows closer, local talents such as Jamila “JAM Poet” Wimberly and Tanna Marie have announced that they are looking forward to performing on Hip-Hop and Poetry Night.
Jam also performed in the 2019 show and expresses excitement about returning.
“Hip-Hop and Poetry Night gives me the opportunity to present art on an iconic stage that most poets could only dream about. Plus, Mike Xavier always puts together a fun evening of entertainment for everyone involved,” says Jam. “I’m really stoked for this experience and can’t wait to get on the mic.”
Another artist that has gained a growing audience in the Vegas music scene is Tanna Marie. On her Instagram, she also revealed that she’s on the curated list of artists set to perform at the Brooklyn Bowl. Xavier asked the local arts community to tag an artist on their Instagram that they wanted to see that night. The comment section blew up with Tanna Marie fans.
“Y’all really be showin’ ya girl love and it was received! I will be performing at Brooklyn Bowl for Hip-Hop and Poetry Night (Insert high pitched scream). The fact that I saw Mac Miller there, RIP, for the first time makes this extra special to me,” writes Tanna. “And to be sharing the stage with some of my favorite Vegas artists, some who I call close friends, takes it to another level.”
The Future of Hip-Hop and Poetry Night
Xavier wants to expand the talent showcase to include additional cities in the future like New York City, Seattle, Atlanta among others and eventually take Hip-Hop and Poetry Night on tour. Since the show’s conception, he continues to work on improving the quality of his productions.
From his previous experiences of curating these events, he’s learned since then how to find the right balance between acts, how to work with more performers on a larger scale and how to keep a smooth flow consistently going throughout the evening.
“My goal is to always improve the quality of the show and gravitate towards it,” says Xavier. “A fun fact [is that] after the last show, we posted on social media asking how we can make it better and that I’m open to feedback and we got no responses.”
The outpour of positive reactions and feedback only reassures him and the artists that their performances resonate with the crowd.
“I would love for people to take away that there is talent in the city and it’s more than just the Strip. And there are cool things in the culture of Vegas happening here,” says Xavier.
What: Mike Xavier Presents: Hip-Hop and Poetry Night
Where: Brooklyn Bowl, 3545 S. Las Vegas Blvd.
When: Saturday, January 8. Doors open at 7 p.m. and the show begins at 8 p.m.
Must be 18+ to attend.
Cost: General admission starts at $18 (week of the show)