Theater & Arts

Artists you should know: Diego Redd

Around here, Diego Redd is best known as the rapper behind hits like "In the 'No" -- but this weekend he's building bridges.

Redd organized "Rhyme and Grind," a concert and conference aimed at networking in Fresno's hip-hop scene. It's happening noon-6 p.m Saturday at 860 Fulton Mall. Admission is $5.

Along with Redd, big Fresno rap names like Planet Asia and Shake Da Mayor will be a part of the event. We talked to Redd to learn more.

Where did the idea come from for this conference? This was something that I've been wanting to do. I felt like the first month in the new year would be perfect. We always make resolutions like, "This year is my year." Why not start the year off pushing the 559's movement the right way?

It's more than just a concert I know -- what else can people expect? Fans can expect to be up close and personal with the artist they listen to on B95 (88.1) and MySpace for a price that you could never get anywhere else with so many talented acts. Artists can expect to get face-to-face tips from radio stations, record labels and magazines. Producers can get their music to artists in the area and bring their creations to life. Artists can also learn tips on retail sales, ring tones, and distribution.

Why is something like this important for Fresno's hip-hop scene? Other areas have done it for years. We don't support our own. The out-of-town acts come through and sell out. It's time our community understands we have what everyone else does right here in the 559.

Aside from this, what's up with you? I have a new album I'm dropping in March, "Another Day. Another Dollar." It's bigger than anyone ever imagined. A few videos to go along with it. A new distribution deal for it. The soundtrack for this show, Rhyme and Grind, which features 17 tracks from the artists that perform, will be released in February. I have my artists on Rebel Entertainment dropping this year as well, SKS, Aplus, Stuart Webb, Young Skeam and Andy Reyes.

I know you dabble in other stuff. What else should people expect from Diego Redd in '09? Greatness. Success. Everything they got from me in 2008 multiplied by 10. I slowed down near the end of '08 to prepare all of this in '09. Also, outside of hip-hop, I'll be having a similar conference for all the bands in the Fresno area as well. I'm hoping to have Rademacher, Circles and Circles, Eva Scow, The Super Lucky Catz, Clouded Vision, Flight 409 and more.

It's really about the 559 with me and not just hip-hop. Some people know I did the Fresno Rebels Basketball team and helped some of the local basketball players get back up and playing again. Since then, a few of them are feeding their families from basketball. We just want to help the 559 movement as a whole.

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Know a local musician that more people should be familiar with? Send the who and why to Mike Osegueda,