Mystikal, Mannie Fresh & More: Interviews with local rappers now archived

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NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) - Interviews with New Orleans greatest rappers, now available in one place:

“They’re mesmerizing, these people are so interesting, their lives – they’ve gone through so much and achieved so much,” said Jeff Rubin of Tulane's Digitial Initiatives.

“Themes of death, themes of loss, themes of poverty are kind of a constant strain on the people who live here and the music that they make,” said NOLA Rap & Hip Hop Archive Founder Holly Hobbs.

The archive’s founder, Tulane PhD student Holly Hobbs, started off collecting video interviews for her dissertation in 2012 (focusing on how artists used music to rebuild) following Hurricane Katrina.

She kept on gathering more and more interviews and then had a realization.

“It seemed silly to do all these interviews and only have them accessible in my book – or accessible in a book that not many people are going to be reading – let’s just be honest. A kid might not necessarily sit down and read my book, but they will sit down and watch these interviews with people they admire, they look up to," said Hobbs.

So she teamed up with Jeff Rubin of Tulane’s Digital Initiatives.

Together, they created this online archive that contains hours of video, featuring nearly 50 local rappers. From lesser known to global superstars, musical pioneers to those -- trying to break barriers.

“In looking at all these, I have never seen anyone hold back anything. They’re completely open and honest about – the good, the bad – all of it," said Rubin.

“Rappers have trouble getting insurance for events, getting programmed at venues across the city. So this was a good step in the right direction, helping make the form legitimate in the public imagination,” said Hobbs.

“They’re going to realize what a rich addition this culture is to the city. It’s new culture, it’s a living, current culture and a lot of people can relate to it," said Rubin.