There are select times in the duration of our lives where we are fortunate enough to be given an opportunity to receive something that we didn't know we needed. We go day to day missing a person, or better yet a feeling that has yet to be found, but once we get our hands on it there is a spark that hits. It makes you feel whole, makes you feel full. For me, that feeling typically comes when I hear new music or I am at a concert. In that moment I am physically moved by what I am hearing or experiencing. It is that same feeling that pushed four gentlemen to create the Dallas-based event series Hip-Hop Book Club.

While having organic conversations around music as they usually do, Co-Founders Kenny Reeves, Attah Essien, Sobe Ibekwe, and Terrance Lee found that they had something good on their hands that deserved to be given to the public.

"Our friend Dominique made mention of a classic Jay Z album, and I thanked him for bringing it up because I told him and the group that I was going to begin my yearly binge of Jay-Z's entire discography," Kenny states. Attah then followed up by asking could they guys get together and do this as a family. Kenny replied, "I have something better. We can make a super dope event and call it Hip Hop Book Club," and after that, the rest was written.

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The fantastic four took the meeting of the minds to use their individual voices and brands to create a powerhouse event that would discuss legendary albums/projects in the same regard that one would discuss Shakespeare. After all, it is poetry in its own right. It evokes emotion, thoughts, and even heated arguments. For the guys, it was an incremental part of each of their upbringings.

"I'd have to give credit to my older sister for influencing me to listen to Hip Hop," expresses Terrance or T.Lee, as he is called by friends. "She wasn't really into rap but she'd always dance and clean listening to R&B. It made the chores look easy so I had to find the sound that made chores easy for me. Hip-Hop was the answer."

We have seen Hip-Hop change, develop and go through its teenage years to adulthood. Hip-Hop has grown up with us just as we have grown with it. Hip Hop has provided the soundtrack to our lives with the ability to trigger certain memories while having the power to create many more; effectively controlling the past, present and future. Duality in its rarest form.

The group worked vigorously to put together a format that would cover an album in its entirety. The event, also referenced as episode, breaks down a classic body of work which is voted on, then presented with the four pillars which represent the four founders: Influence (Kenny), Visual (Terrance), Production (Attah) and Lyrics (Sobe). They each take to their pillar to discuss opinions, facts, and questions for the audience. They set out to change the way people consumed music.

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"I think through a very unique 'curriculum' with the use of the pillars, Hip Hop Book Club has redefined the way people consume Hip Hop. Hell even for me, since I've been doing HHBC, interpreting an album has not been as simple as it used to be and I LOVE IT! It allows us to establish an all-new appreciation for the artist and the thought process behind creating an album," exclaims Kenny.

Having what they felt was gold on their hands, they brought on three other people to the team to make it complete: Ely Ibrahim (Resident Photographer), Kenny Hurst (Resident DJ), and Joshua Ellis (Resident Artist/Graphic Designer). Having their own connections to Hip-Hop, they saw the path that the men were trying to build.

Ely gives credit to his cousins for playing everything from mainstream to underground Hip-Hop around him, ultimately helping shape who he is as a person today. It made him realize how dope words could possibly be if structured correctly. Being a math guy he hated everything about literature but Hip Hop had a poetic feel to it.

"Trae the Truth 'Pop My Trunk' still evokes memories for me," Kenny Hurst states. "I just got my license & put a system in my car... it stayed on repeat lol. Couldn't tell me shit!"

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Josey Records, a small music store outside of Dallas, was willing to host the first club meeting. Everyone was bought in, but when Episode 101: Good Kid, MAAD city came Sobe had a small moment of doubt. "We had a couple of minutes before show time and there was barely anyone there. I thought to myself, we have to be stupid to think that people were going to come out on a Monday to hear us speak. Who do we think we are lol?"

Shortly after people poured through the doors right before it was time to start. Confidence was fully restored. During Episode 104: The College Dropout he knew what they created was more than just an event, it truly meant something to the people.

"The city came out for that show. So much love, so many people, so many shares of our content. It was surreal. We had just done Episode 103: Lord Willin and Malice from the Clipse liked our artwork from resident artist, Joshua Ellis. Big Krit liked two of our pictures after Episode 106. Just imagine putting all this work in and then receiving a like from the artist you just covered. As small as it might be, that is huge to us. A true blessing." Sobe says.

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The guys were shocked at the continuous support but as their event hit momentum, they were smacked in the face with the news that they could no longer host HHBC at Josey Records. Although there were many questions as of why the city of Farmers Branch, Texas would have an issue with the event that caused no issues nor was disruptive, they were able to see the beauty in what was intended as harm.

"It sucked, but it meant we were doing something bigger than ourselves," exclaims Attah. "It meant that we were growing and had to be 'moved' because we couldn't be at Josey Records, through no fault of their own. We love them and appreciate their continued support. I think it just made all of us hungrier and forced us to find another venue, even though we were not necessarily ready for that move yet."

This slight disruption was nothing but the fuel they needed to not just think about what they are doing right now but how they will create a legacy for HHBC. There will be continued arguments between the group on which albums are classics, My Black Dark Twisted Fantasy is one that they continually argue on being trash or classic, but they truly set out to shape the way that hip-hop is discussed. As Joshua Ellis puts it, HHBC is an "Intellectual Relaxation".

The group took the show on the road to DC which was a pinnacle point for Joshua, and one of his favourite moments. Expanding is on the horizon with the goal of the event going international and hopefully getting on a major network or streaming service to set them up with bigger book clubs and bigger business, all while continually keeping Dallas at the heart.

"HHBC is that cool nerd who knew everyone in school, played sports, and had all the girls," says the guys. "HHBC is a teenager just like hip-hop was. We are going to grow."

For more information on Hip Hop Book club, follow @hiphopbookclub on Instagram and the team at @thekennyreeves, @shoesshirtandattah, @sobechi299, @elytheethiopian, @carleetosway, @ill.tommie, and @jethevandl.