Josh Rowsey

From left to right: JAMM, Naima, J Rowdy, Lil Monsta, and Zone.
Amanda Magnus / WUNC

Two years ago, the Afrofuturist digital makerspace in Durham started offering hip-hop workshops. Local students gathered at Blackspace to learn about writing and met each Friday night in a public park to rap and make beats. Out of those gatherings, a group of students – who call themselves the Blackspace Afronauts – put together their first album: “Revenge Of The Afronauts.”

Josh Rowsey, known as J. Rowdy on stage, is part of a Chapel Hill hip hop collective called no9to5.
Kiersten Koenig

North Carolina is known for putting hip-hop artists like J. Cole and Little Brother in the national spotlight. But back in the mid-1990s, there was not much of a hip-hop presence in the mid-Atlantic.

Kevin Thomas (Kaze) was a student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill at the time and and his on-campus group Hip-Hop Nation helped spark the local hip-hop movement. Now Thomas is teaming up with a younger generation of rappers for a new Chapel Hill hip-hop festival.