Gift rap

A Reno Christmas Story

Rapper Mic-Rob catching the holiday spirit and formin’ like Voltron.

Rapper Mic-Rob catching the holiday spirit and formin’ like Voltron.

Photo By audrey love

Speak Your Mind presents A Reno Christmas Story at the Knitting Factory, 211 N. Virginia St., 323-5648. For more information, visit

Knitting Factory Concert House

211 N. Virginia St.
Reno, NV 89501

(775) 323-5648

While a “Christmas in Hollis” is probably familiar to hip-hop fans, because of Run DMC’s 1987 seasonal track of the same name, celebrating a Christmas in Reno old-school hip-hop style just got a little easier, and a whole lot merrier.

Thanks to local promotion group Speak Your Mind, on Thursday, Dec. 16, the Knitting Factory will host an all-ages celebration any good hip hop fan can appreciate—appropriately titled: A Reno Christmas Story.

Featuring more than 15 local acts covering classic hip-hop songs, including the occasional Christmas cover, the showcase is meant to not only celebrate the roots of the music style, but also to encourage community support and charity during the holiday season. The optional $7 cover goes to the local charity group the Holland Project—which provides musical opportunities for teens.

Speak Your Mind is also teaming up with the U.S. Marines in sponsoring a Toys for Tots toy drive. Anyone who brings a gift to the show gets in for free. An additional present to the community is that those who wish to attend but can’t afford the door charge gain entry regardless. The goal isn’t to make money, but simply to spread some cheer this holiday season.

“I really just wanted to have fun with it,” says Speak Your Mind promoter Daniel Hubbard of the Christmas themed showcase. “We’ve wanted to do something like this for a long time. We were just waiting for the right chance to do it really big, involve some charities, and get the hip-hop scene involved.”

Solid performances can be expected as the acts involved aren’t novices to the scene. They’ve performed around the city long enough to draw a solid crowd each their own. “I would say this line-up is one of the bigger name line-ups of the Reno hip-hop artists,” says Hubbard. “Most of these people have been doing shows out here for 10 years.” The performers include local favorites Locus, Emic and The Apprentice.

While the show’s title is A Reno Christmas Story, not every act involved is set to perform a seasonal ditty. In fact, only about three of them are. The spotlight is more centered on bringing back the hip-hop oldies.

“We’ll have some hip-hop Christmas songs,” says Hubbard. “[But] it’s just a fun name so we can involve the toy drive and then redo it every year around the holiday. Most of them are doing one of their favorite songs from when they were growing up. The performers are in their 30s, but the fans are going to be 25 and under, so it’s a good way to show music to [them].”

Of course, some of the acts are choosing to do both. Artist Michael Robinson, a.k.a. Mic-Rob, who also had a hand in organizing the event, is performing both a 20-minute set of classic covers, as well as throwing in a Christmas song at the end. He’s excited for the occasion because it’s a chance to show a different side of hip-hop.

“Usually people get the idea that hip-hop is one type of show where we just walk around with a mic and rap,” says Robinson. “That’s not the case with this show because it’s for a reason—for Toys for Tots and bringing the Christmas spirit to the community.”

For others, it’s a chance to teach young fans what the current acts were inspired by.

“I want the youth to understand where the history comes from,” says event organizer and performer Iain Watson, a.k.a. Emic. “If you don’t know where you’ve been, you don’t know where you’re going. … Everyone likes to do covers, that’s why karaoke’s so big.”