Hip Hop Congress promotes networking, talent development

Lifestyle Reporter

Members of a Texas State student organization use rap music as a tool to encourage social activism and networking.

Hip Hop Congress is a nationwide society focused on the advancement of hip-hop artists’ careers, said Ray Cordero, founder and adviser for the organization.  

Cordero said Sherri Benn, assistant vice president for student affairs, approached him in 2004 with the idea for the organization.

“At first there were just five of us trying to put something together,” Cordero said. “But once we started moving and shaking and getting the word out, it just grew on its own.”

Jade Lewis, Hip Hop Congress president and mass communication senior, said a welcoming atmosphere and networking opportunities initially brought him to the organization.

Lewis, a rapper who goes by the name Aye Cue, said he first served in Hip Hop Congress as an ambassador before assuming the role of president about a year ago.

Lewis has been the opening act for mainstream hip-hop artists such as Big Sean, Action Bronson and Bun B.

Lewis also serves as the chapter head over every Hip Hop Congress group in the state of Texas in order to inspire his peers and spur growth among fellow artists.

“It is cool to be a leader, but it is also cool to impact others to the point where they want to follow in your footsteps,” Lewis said. “They want to do better with their lives and be successful.”

Lewis said he is responsible for managing disagreements amongst the group’s members. He said at times the conflict can be frustrating, but the problems are solved quickly with open communication and dialogue.

“Once we put some of the problems we have aside and work to the greater goal of Hip Hop Congress, things work out,” Lewis said. “(It’s) just like any other family.”

Hip Hop Congress meets every Tuesday in the LBJ Student Center, and membership is open to any Texas State student, Lewis said. The organization regularly hosts events to bring unity and positivity to all audience members—hip-hop fans or not.

Aarom Whalon, member of Hip Hop Congress and accounting junior, said he is close to making a career on the turntables under the name DJ Fat.

Whalon joined Hip Hop Congress after being invited by Lewis. His decision to become a member has produced networking opportunities.

Whalon believes hip-hop artists should surround themselves with people who can help push their brands forward.

“You can be as good as you want to be, but if you are not around the right group of people, it will not even matter,” Whalon said. “You will just be doing it all for yourself.”

Different personalities, backgrounds and skill sets in Hip Hip Congress make it an influential group, Whalon said.

“It is a powerful group, even outside of the music,” Whalon said. “It is basically a diversity group, and with the direction we are going, we will help keep Texas State diverse.”