Vienna Teng at The Power Center


August 22, 2011

Ann Arbor, Ypsi and Detroit’s Booming Hip-Hop Scene II



Detroit rapper and activist Invincible has been praised by The Austin Chronicle as being “what the rap world needs right now: forward-thinking lyrics, insane rhymes, full composure” and by for being “a fiercely talented hip-hop emcee.” She’s also been banned by MTV after submitting a music video for her song “Ropes,” a song that deals with suicide in an empathetic way, to mtvU. (Although the network’s content department approved the video, its standards department rejected it for “suicidal undertones.”) This is the kind of thing that defines Invincible, though. She is a sometimes controversial yet socially conscious gay Jewish woman who is as much a musician as she is a political activist. It’s how she’s always been—even back in 6th grade when she punched an 8th grade boy at synagogue during Yom Kippur for calling her a “wigger.”

Raised in Israel and Ann Arbor, Mich., rap has been a part of Ilana Weaver (Invincible)’s life from a young age. In fact, it was through listening to rap that she learned English at age seven, and she began writing her own rhymes at age nine. By the age of 15, she was doing shows in Ypsilanti and Ann Arbor, and by the time she was 17, she was living in New York (she moved back to Detroit in 2002). As a member of the Anomolies, Weaver has a long history of making music that includes working with MTV as a sketch writer for “The Lyricist Lounge” in 2000. She founded her own label and media company, Emergence, through which she released her debut album “ShapeShifters” in 2008. She has produced several award-winning videos and directed “The Revival,” a short documentary series about women in hip-hop and works with Detroit Summer, a Detroit youth program. During live performances, she is a show-stealer that raps with energy and intensity. Whether it’s her music or latest political statement, Invincible continues to be one of the most exciting and engaging local artists to watch.


Isaac Castor, better known as “Gameboi,” is the area’s latest hip-hop sensation, despite the fact that he isn’t even old enough to drive. A native of Ann Arbor, he began writing songs when he was just nine years old and released his debut mixtape, “The Posterchild,” in 2010.  Since then, he has performed in nationwide tours with artists including Twista, Mac Miller, OneBeLo, Big K.R.I.T., Yelawolf and more and has worked with many notable names in the industry. He has also appeared on MTV, Shade 45 and 2DopeBoyz and recently performed on the Vans Warped Tour. His follow-up EP, “Freshman of the Year,” was produced by 14KT and Astronote and received critical acclaim. Keep an eye on him, as he is one of the hottest rising stars on the horizon.


About the Author

Amanda Slater
Amanda Slater
Amanda is the Editor in Chief at iSPY. Not only does she over see content and production, but she's also a fan of some great music and movies. If you want to know what's the next BIG thing, ask Amanda.

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