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Friday, March 30, 2012

Skate Away the Hate 

The men behind the benefit and the music, Toon and the Real Laww.
Photos courtesy of Scenes from my Lunch Hour

Skate Away the Hate
By Ned Phillips

Spring has officially sprung and on March 30th there’s a perfect way to shake those winter doldrums. Up and coming Durham rappers Toon and The Real Laww have put together what they describe as a rap/skate extravaganza, happening at Wheels Fun Park, with the proceeds benefiting victims of domestic violence through the Durham Rescue Mission.

This one-two combo of beats, rhymes and good times have produced music together for years and interestingly enough, it all began with the raiding of a refrigerator. Bound by a heretofore unknown a mutual friend, Laww discovered Toon in his kitchen perusing the perishables in his icebox! What could have immediately become beef changed direction when Toon noticed Laww’s microphones and recording equipment- conversation ensued and musical friendship spawned.

Though both artists had been working on music individually, there was an evident mutual benefit from the collaboration. Laww, a Marine reservist and a veteran of both Iraq and Afghanistan, had been writing and rapping before starting to dabble in the more technical side of production. At this time, Toon was passing out mixtapes of his own during breaks while working at Duke.

Toon describes his early style as fun and comedic. But beneath Toon’s upbeat tracks were painful memories and emotions stemming from his mother’s nasty divorce out of an abusive marriage. After the split, Toon and his mother relocated from Baltimore to Durham, where Toon credits Laww with helping him get in touch with his personal story- a thing he is now comfortable approaching in his music.

Now, the duo makes beats for one another, rap on each other’s tracks, perform, and even live together. Toon’s high pitched animated delivery provides amazing counterpoint to Laww’s deep baritone and their chemistry is so tight that they perform individual sets on a single stage and it flows as one show.

While it seems many rappers today are concerned with stackin’ cash and acting hard, Toon and The Real Laww focus their energy and ability on giving back to communities and causes they support. Having already put on a successful fundraising event for the Wounded Warrior Project, they have now set their sights on raising awareness and support for victims of domestic violence and the Durham Rescue Mission.

Once described as “fashion philanthropists” Toon and The Real Laww are establishing a new model for how rappers can engage with their communities- leave it to Durham- by using their talents to aid local charities dear and personal to them. And though these two have fun, wild personalities that are infectious to be around, they are very serious men and deeply committed to the community and the causes they support.

At Wheels, this Friday night, DJ Shahzad will spin tunes on the decks and three different skate crews, including the Infamous Skate Freaks of NC, will bust moves that make you wish you’d spent more time at the rink in your youth. Rounding out the party with possible guest performances by Toon and The Real Laww, and it’s an evening not to be missed.

Whether you are planning to glide hand in hand with your sweet thang or cruise the circuit to your own groove, it’s going to be a sick time for an important cause. There’s no reason not to go so lace up those quads, roll bounce over to Wheels and "Skate Away the Hate."

When: Friday, March 30, 10pm
Where: Wheels, 715 N. Hoover Rd. Durham, NC, #919-598-1944
Why: Good times, good cause!

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