In a new series from the Dorchester Art Project, New England hip-hop gets the tiny treatment.
Tiny DAP Concerts, inspired by the viral NPR Tiny Desk series, released its first episode Thursday, featuring Dorchester’s DJ WhySham. In the five-song video, she collaborates with three rappers: Brockton’s MonaVeli, Dorchester’s StarGyal Trippy, and Corey Patrick, who Zoomed in from New Hampshire to lend the video his rhythmic beats.
Four professionally produced, prerecorded episodes are currently slated to follow, to be dropped monthly, but Dorchester Art Project creative director Sam Hunt doesn’t want it to stop there.
“We’re hoping that it’s going to be an ongoing thing,” he said. “Because of COVID, it’s like, artists want to perform. They want a place to go.”
Hunt was inspired to start the series — cosponsored by Boston Compass Newspaper and funded by a Boston Foundation live arts grant — after seeing the NPR 2014 Tiny Desk Concert for T-Pain. It stayed in the back of his mind until he came to the Dorchester Art Project in 2019, when he noticed an office space he thought could work.
“I thought it was a good way to showcase an artist’s ability,” he said. “In its rawest form.”
The five artists were chosen from the roster of those who had performed at the DAP open mic, and the videos were produced by Hunt, who owns production company SmokeHouse Media.
“So many artists tell me how . . . disappointed they were that their shows were being canceled, that venues were closing, that they didn’t have places to record, that music studios are closing,” he said. “They’re really just looking for an outlet to perform, to get their music heard, and I feel like what we’re doing is allowing that — and a community.”
DJ WhySham defines her music as part of the “social justice trap movement,” which encompasses music about trauma, mental health, and public health. She is the founder of Boston Got Next, which she describes as a “one-stop shop” for resources for artists. She was nominated for DJ of the Year in 2020 by the Boston Music Awards.
“I just really want to make sure that the city, the world, knows we got artists here,” she said. “We’re overlooked.”
Dorchester Art Project, located in Fields Corner, is run by nonprofit Brain Arts Organization and aims to lift up Dorchester and Greater Boston artists by giving them studio, performance, and community space.
One of the goals of the project, Hunt said, was to figure out a way to “make the space work.”
“We only have an office or a room,” Hunt said, “but when you work together and you collaborate, you can make this room into a concert hall.”
Dorchester Art Project’s Tiny DAP Concerts can be found at www.dorchesterartproject.com/tiny-dap.