Tyler Barnes

Tyler Barnes

Artists rap for holiday toys

NANAIMO - Second annual Hip Hops Toys for Tots event aims to help deliver Christmas toys to Nanaimo children.

Hip hop artists are rapping for toys to make some children’s Christmas a little bit cheerier.

Tyler Barnes, a.k.a. Jinx Tha Konstrikta, started Hip Hops Toys for Tots last year and is bringing the event back to Nanaimo during a Saturday (Dec. 19) performance at The Cambie.

As a father, he realized how hard it can be for some families during the holidays. It spurred him to create the event.

“I want to build this up so it becomes an annual thing that Nanaimo is known for,” said Barnes.

He said there are some negative stereotypes about hip hop artists being mixed up in the drug and alcohol lifestyle or with violence, but he said that’s not the case for the majority of the artists.

“A lot of us are very positive,” he said. “The hip hop community here is about creating change. Hip hop as a culture is supposed to represent the community and build it up.”

It’s a community of artists that focus on “self-growth” and taking stock of your morals and what “you are capable of doing,” said Barnes.

The events entertainment lineup includes: Jinx Tha Konstrikta, Evil Ebenezer, Alexander Reyes, Konfidential and Supa Dan. The party’s host is SirReal and people can enjoy the comedic stylings of Malcolm (Party Gramps) Wright.

Barnes created the inaugural event last year, with co-organizer Jade Fleury, and helped four families with nine children. This year, 14 families have signed up as recipients of donations. There are about 30 kids on the list in need of toys.

Hip Hops Toys for Tots also features a silent auction and raffle to raise money. Barnes said he couldn’t have done it without the generous support of sponsors. Non-perishable food and clothing donations will also be collected.

Hip Hops Toys for Tots is Saturday (Dec. 19) at The Cambie. The show starts at 9 p.m. Tickets are $20 in advance from www.eventbee.com/event?eid=146438483 or at the door.

arts@nanaimobulletin.com