One of the most anticipated hip-hop events of the summer will occur on Friday, June 1 at Locals Only. The event will showcase a great list of Indy's finest hip-hop artists coming together and helping out one of their own. Local hip-hop hero, Jason Mann a.k.a. WhoisLouis is undergoing treatment for chordoma, a rare bone cancer that is diagnosed in only about 300 patients in the U.S. each year. Mann's condition is very serious; he recently underwent a ten hour spinal fusion surgery to remove tumors from his spine. He is currently taking a highly specialized course of treatments at Indiana University School of Medicine in Bloomington.
Eric Brown, of record label collective Audio Recon and experimental hip-hop act Echomaker, recalls the day in 2007 when he was recommended by Proforms and Cut Camp artist member Joe Harvey to check out Mann for the Audio Recon label. Within that time, Audio Recon released several of Mann's albums including Rough Cuts, Scrapes, & Abrasions (2007), MannickSentiment EP (2009), TheFreeLease EP (2010)", and "Seldom Scene (2011).
In addition to Mann's Audio Recon music releases, he's been involved in producing tracks for C-Rayz Walz, Brad Real, Son of Thought, Freeze and Lorax, as well as doing a remix on Jookabox's Dead Zone Remixes EP that was a joint Audio Recon and Asthmatic Kitty release. Mann also collaborated on a track with national electronic artist and DJ Amtrac.
Due to the rarity of Mann's illness, most are unfamiliar with chordoma. The cancer develops at the base of the skull, in a vertebra or at end of the spine. The cells that give rise to chordoma come from the notochord, which is an important structure in the early embryo that disappears before birth. However, even after birth, some cells from the notochord remain in bones at the base of the skull, in vertebrae and in the tail bone. Rarely, one of these cells, which are called notochord remnants, undergoes changes that give rise to a chordoma. There are few effective treatments.
A few of the evening's performers recall their moments meeting Jason Mann.
"I met Jason at a show at Locals a few years ago and I've always been a fan of his, as a person and as an artist. Great dude. I had the opportunity to work with him on a song on Eratic's Post Eratic Syndrome on a joint named 'Reach.' I did the beat and gave a verse as well. I also have a joint on the s.a.i.n.t. RECON album with Jason on it as well. Jason has always been cool in conversation and a fierce emcee and producer," said Indianapolis-based performer Mr. Kinetik. "His emotion comes through when you hear his music and he's a great man. He's one of a few people I call a true friend."
Naptown Unite performer Grey Granite remarks, "I knew WhoisLouis for five years before I found out his name wasn't even Louis. Hell, it's not even close to his name! I just want to show my love and support."
Another Naptown Unite performer, Oreo Jones, spoke about his connection with Mann.
"Jason is a dope human being. My first live performance in Indy was at the Melody Inn. Grey Granite was on the bill along with WhoisLouis and random art projects. Grey actually let me do a song during his set. A couple months later, I was at the Vogue and I was able to actually talk to Jason for a while about where he was from and understand him more as an artist. He is very important in our scene. He genuinely cares about hip-hop and the community within."
The evening's Naptown Unite performers include Echomaker, Oreo Jones, Grey Granite, Eratic, Mr. Kinetik, DJ Deadrisk, DJ Dicky Fox, Creatures of Habit, members of Cut Camp (Scoot Dubbs, DJ Spoolz, Ace One, BlackEddie, DJ Jay Diff, Gritts, Lonegevity, Skittz, Joe Harvey), Freeze and Feeblez. Mann plans on attending and it's rumored that he may hit the stage if he is feeling well enough.
"People should definitely expect a phenomenal night of hip-hop from some of the best in the city and beyond," said Jones. "It'll be cool to bring all the dudes together under one roof for WhoisLouis."