A house fire took everything away from one St. Joseph resident. Several artists want to help get her back on her feet.
On Oct. 17, Alfreda Lammers’ house caught fire, killing four out of her five dogs. That’s when friends and artists like Nick Merrill and rapper Alec Smith swooped in to help.
Setting up a Facebook donation page, titled “Fund for Freda,” Merrill aims to raise about $1,500 to help. Meanwhile, artists like the reggae band Low Down Dirty Dirt Band and hip-hop artists like HGHRMNDS and Smith will throw “Freta Fest,” a concert at 8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 9, at Cafe Acoustic Concert Hall, 1918 Frederick Ave., to help.
“To have people do music and come together for something positive like that is amazing to me,” Smith says.
Like HGHRMNDS, Smith is a part of a new generation of hip-hop artists in St. Joseph. Inspired by artists like Outkast, Smith is a Kansas City native who moved to St. Joseph about a decade ago.
Writing rhymes since he was 8, Smith says it’s been a hustle since he was young.
“I had my own notebook and everything,” he says, laughing.
Coming from Kansas City to St. Joseph, one of Smith’s big complaints is the lack of support for the local hip-hop scene, from venues to DJs to radio stations.
“The people show support. But there’s no platforms at all,” he says.
Those venues that do show love, like Cafe Acoustic Concert Hall and The Rendezvous, are appreciated, which is why they wanted to hold the fundraiser at the former.
“It’s amazing because rap has a bad rap. Everybody, since the beginning, has put a negative thing to it. We want to push that away and say, ‘Hey we can do something great,’” Smith says.
For the past year, Smith was busy working on a new album, titled “The Outkast,” while releasing singles like “Chasin’,” a collaboration with fellow St. Joseph hip-hop artist Fly Boy Toine. After deciding to scrap the project, he says he’s pursuing an updated sound.
“It’s sounding more modern than ‘The Outkast.’ (That) was more deep, boom-bap-type beats. This one has a faster pace,” he says.
All of Smith’s songs are rooted in his triumphs and struggles with tunes like “Mind They Business” and “Why You Lyin.” He says he can’t fake it if he wants make it.
“It’s all based on real experiences, things I’ve seen and been through. I don’t like talking about stuff I don’t know,” he says.
It’s those struggles Smith has gone through that help him empathize with Lammers.
“We can build up a city instead of tearing it down. I think it’s amazing to see people come together,” he says.
Admission for the show is $5. To donate to Lammers, visit www.facebook.com/donate/942753299249405.
— Andrew Gaug | St. Joe Live