The CIAA Tournament always brings new life and a fresh vibe to center city Charlotte. Locals and out-of-towners alike take full advantage of the plethora of social events going down in and around the city.

With so many events and parties going down within the span of four days, this Charlotte-bred and Carolina-feed gal has put together a Tourney Guide for my die hard Hip Hop Heads. If you love that Boom Bap just as much as I do, then this is the list for you.

Thursday, Feb. 25

Hipstory Instagram Promo

HipStory Black History + Hip Hop Gallery Walk
5:30 p.m. – 7 p.m.
@ImaginOn Library, 300 E. 7th Street
Classic Hip Hop + Family Friendly

ImaginOn Library has teamed up with the education nonprofit Hip-Hop University to put a fresh spin on Black History events. Hipstory will be displaying black-history-influenced teen artwork, while a graffiti artist booms a wooden wall live. DJs and dance performances will occur throughout the event as patrons explore black history facts at vendor tables. This family friendly event will conclude with a Hipstory Panel featuring 2014-2015 North Carolina Teacher of the Year James Ford, Hip Hop Caucus Charlotte City Coordinator Brandi Williams, and uber connect Philly Hip Hop music businessman Biz Porter. During the panel there will be a tribute to one of Charlotte’s living legends, Dorothy Counts, one of four black students to help integrate Charlotte schools. Counts will be celebrated by the Hip Hop Generation as they learn about black history. There will also be a side panel focused on exploring careers in hip hop. RSVP here >>


Nas Live Thursday Night at CenterStage
Doors Open at 9 p.m.
@CenterStage,  2315 N. Davidson St.
Tickets starting at $21.49
Classic Hip Hop

One of the Kings of Hip Hop culture, the God Emcee who called the New York Queensbridge Housing home, is coming to the Queen City during Tournament Week, thanks to Blac Diamond Entertainment.

The rapper acts (not emcees, trust me there is a difference) that usually work the Tourney Circuit could never fathom reaching this man’s lyrical level. So, this event is truly for those hip hop heads who won’t mind getting into a NY State of Mind before the Tournament turns all the way up. If you are looking to get your B-ball week-long party started with a Hip Hop King, consider coping some tickets to see Nasir Jones face to face.

Get your ticket here>>

Friday, Feb. 26


The Legends Ball
9 p.m.
@Studio Movie Grill, 210 E. Trade St.
Tickets starting at $20
Old School Hip Hop

With The Ruler, Blackanova, and the freshest hypeman around in the building with one of Charlotte’s proven DJs on the 1’s and 2’s, you can pretty much bet you are going to be well entertained for the night.

With the beatboxing and crowd interaction know-how of Doug E. Fresh and the classic narratives of Slick Rick The Ruler, many in the crowd will be moving to the beat and reciting every line to one of The Rulers tales. And, Big Daddy Kane will be sure to draw out the New Jack dancer in you. Kane’s music will inspire you and others to hit those classic Kane and Scoop & Scrap’s dance routines. Wanna kick it with the legends? Get your tickets here>>


Rakim Friday Night at CenterStage
9 p.m.
@CenterStage,  2315 N. Davidson St.
Tickets starting at $21.49
Classic Hip Hop

So what is a Classic Hip Hop list of events without the No. 1 God MC himself, Rakim?

R. -to the- A. – to the K.I.M. will be the master of ceremony at CenterStage in NoDa as a part of Blac Diamond Entertainment’s The Lyrical Kings of Hip Hop Tournament Weekend nightlife series.

You can party with your favorite emcee’s favorite emcee at CenterStage. The night will be rounded out with Special Ed, EPMD, and the creator of The Ultimate Rap League media outlet Smack White.

With Smack in the building, fingers-crossed that this means new acapella stanza coming from the God MC will be captured on camera and posted on the Ultimate Rap League YouTube page!

Get your tickets here >>

Saturday, Feb. 27


Legendary Part I: Chubb Rock & Doug E. Fresh
12 p.m. (noon)
@ The White House, 4809 Wilkinson Blvd.
Tickets starting at $11.54
Old School Hip Hop

Although the first African-American president is on his way out of the White House, Charlotte’s black nightlife scene just got a new nightclub venue with a very patriotic name. Throughout Tournament Week, the Wilkinson Boulevard venue will host a bevy of well-known names, but one for old school Hip Hop Heads not to miss is Legendary Part I. Two fellas who know how to keep the party going will be feeding the Tournament party socialites just what they need — tons of party music with two high-energy hosts.

If you are ready to get on the dance floor and “Go, go, go, go, go, go, go” with Chubb Rock and Doug E. Fresh, then grab your ticket today.

Party people Rock and Fresh are ready to “Treat ‘Em Right” on the dance floor. So give yourself a Tournament Week treat and think about checking out this nightlife fun at the White House.

Get your tickets here >>


Jadakiss Live Saturday Night at CenterStage
9 p.m.
@CenterStage, 2315 N. Davidson St.
Tickets starting at $21.49
Classic Hip Hop

To finish out The Lyrical Kings of Hip Hop Tournament Weekend nightlife series with an East Coast Hip Hop bang, Blac Diamond Entertainment brings Jadakiss and Celebrity DJ Envy from the NYC down to the NC.

This event is billed as the official after party of The Celebrity Charity Basketball Game, so there is a good chance you will run into even more celebs than the folks listed on the flyers. You wanna keep on dancin’…Knock Yourself Out…Wanna sit in VIP…Knock Yourself Out.

Get your tickets here >>

Sunday, Feb. 28


“That’s My DJ” Day Party @ Whisky River
12 p.m. (Noon)
@Whisky River, 210 East Trade St.
Tickets are FREE before 4pm
Hip Hop

When it comes to the unofficial Tournament nightlife events, the Most Valuable Players who make it all possible are the musical mood setting maestro, the DJs. The DJs during Tournament Time are grinding it out from venue to venue and set list to set list. Promoter Bestfriendz Entertainment  make it a point on the final day of Tournament Week to celebrate the DJs!

The DJ is the foundational element of Hip Hop Culture; so too is the DJ the foundation of the Tournament party scene. If you got nothing but love for the DJs and want to salute these hard working men and women of the wheelz of steel, you may want to check out “That’s My DJ.”

Get your tickets here >>

Do you know of any Tournament Week events that should be posted on Visit our events calendar and Submit An Event.

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Kia O. Moore has a passion for the power of media and culture. She has worked as a freelance writer since 2008. Her love for all things hip-hop culture, and her innate need to create harmony and understanding,...