By JC Poppe Special to Published Mar 22, 2011 at 12:22 PM

Today, March 22, 2011, marks the one year anniversary of this blog, Milwaukee UP. With a landmark anniversary like this -- for a blog anyways -- the writer has to look back on the year to assess the good and the bad, the fun and the suck, and look at the path from then to now to help calculate the proper coordinates for the future.

For those who've happened across this blog and have no idea how it got started, the short story is that I was threatened with a beat down by Unlooped creator Tarik Moody while he was at SXSW last year if I didn't finally pony up and start a blog. I had put it out there several times on Twitter before and after Tarik's gentle encouragement, and in addition to seeing the reaction to Dana Coppafeel's interview with the AV Club Milwaukee, I decided to jump off of the ledge.

What has taken place since then is something that I feel is important to Milwaukee hip-hop, and I'm not talking about the "success" of Milwaukee UP in regards to site views -- which are still over 1,000 a month though the blog hasn't been updated there since last November -- but rather the community that is building around Milwaukee hip-hop in regards to coverage.

Now, I'm not saying that I caused anybody to write about hip-hop more than they previously had, because that would be completely false and would only be founded in absolute egotism. Milwaukee music writers had been increasing their coverage of Milwaukee hip-hop long before I ever stepped into the writing game, and my goal was never to try to out-do their efforts, but to rather supplement their coverage.

With thousands of rappers in Milwaukee and the metro-Milwaukee area trying to get their music heard, it'd be impossible for a writer to feature many of them because they also had to deal with the rock bands, acoustic singer/songwriters, R&B artists, spoken-word poets, etc. So, if Milwaukee UP could help spread a little more light on the other artists that haven't necessarily risen to the top of the exposure ladder yet, that'd be great.

With all that said, let the assessment begin.

Over the last year, I have both loved and hated this investment of time. I've had people bitch and complain about my writing or the fact that I don't write about them, and I've had people praise my work with even a couple "job" offers (job is in quotations because I wasn't offered a staff position but instead the opportunity to freelance regularly).

The No. 1 frustration that I've had with the blog is the lack of submissions of music that I actually receive. If I really wanted to go back and count,, I think that I had only received around a dozen e-mails containing music or news from, or about, a Milwaukee hip-hop artist. The e-mail to submit music wasn't hard to find and with the amount of clicks per month the site received, it's safe to say that there was a good amount of people who knew Milwaukee UP existed.

I was left to glean information from Facebook or Twitter, which is fine in some instances, but if you are one of the people that complain about me never posting your music, maybe you now know why. I can't write about what I don't know about.

Since teaming up with, I've received a few more emails -- either directly or forwarded from my editor -- and that's a good thing. Here's something very important for people to know. Are you ready? Just because I don't post your music or your information doesn't mean that I don't care. What it means is that I'm just watching to see where things will go. Are you going to grow and get better? Is your event something that people will honestly grow to care about?

Bottom-line, now that I am not able to just post at will whenever I want, I have to be a lot more selective. So, it's not that I don't care, it's just that I'm waiting to see where things are going to go.

Or, I just don't like your music.

And, I will admit this because I am not perfect, sometimes I just plain old forget about stuff.

Lastly on this topic, a good presentation of yourself and your music or event goes a long way in helping me to want to discuss what you do. I have to present my writing in a professional manner, and when you are trying to sell me on the idea of what you do as being good and worth my time, typing out "dis be dat hottest shyt in da streetz!!" isn't going to get you anywhere.

I've had endless conversations with other bloggers about this very fact and we all agree on one thing, a professional presentation can help squeeze through something that we feel is mediocre but a sloppy presentation makes posting even the dopest music a hard task.

I took the time to write out a plan several months ago, actually explaining how I was able to get the amount of press that I do with my music. Regardless of whether or not my music is good, I manage to get positive attention and have helped a good amount of local Milwaukee hip-hop artists to also receive attention.

It's slightly dated and some things have changed I'm sure, but take a look at this, because it could help you out in your quest to be heard.

As far as something good, obviously having Milwaukee UP seen as something positive for the hip-hop community by a lot of people is great. But, the biggest thing that I take away as a "win" is the genuine interest that a lot of people have in Milwaukee hip-hop, and being able to write about the scene at-large is pretty fresh.

What I've realized about Milwaukee UP is that this is really acting as a scrapbook for people to look back on years from now just as much as it's a news source for the here and now.

I will never -- of course I say that now, but who knows -- have the energy or time to do what MKE Punk did, and does, and try to create a space for old hip-hop releases so that they hopefully never die. But, if I can just do enough writing on enough people, maybe when we tell our son's and daughter's about how things used to be, we can actually show them.

Honestly though, who knows if that's even too lofty of a hope with the youth already preferring YouTube over any other site for a search engine. I really don't care about Vlogging, right now.

The fun that I have with this blog really comes from the phone calls, text messages, and face-to-face conversations I have with people about Milwaukee hip-hop because they just want to talk about it. If every rapper and producer was able to take all their ideas that they've told me and actually do them, Milwaukee would be the center of the hip-hop universe.

The suck is of course the crying, whining and bitching.

There is no crying in hip-hop.

I'm not "hating" on you if I don't like your music. Playing the underdog card is fine, but when you play it while also playing the "most hated" card, you are honestly just coming off weak. Not liking is NOT hating. Unfortunately, there's a large contingent of people who will never get that, or admit that, because if they did they'd have to all-of-a-sudden accept the responsibilities of maturity.

If you get mad at me because I don't write about you and you decide to talk badly about me, you are wasting oxygen. I'm not going to respond, which is what you want so that you can gain some steam from the exchange. Just grow up and accept that some people don't like your music, and some do, and wear your big boy/girl pants because it's a tough world out there.

This leads me to looking back at what I've already done to see where I exactly want to take this, and if there is anything that I want to change.

Some of you know that I review albums for, and that I am brutal on music when I don't like it. The nice thing about Milwaukee UP is that it's more of an overall fanfare blog. I love Milwaukee hip-hop, so I'm not going to change my writing for Milwaukee UP to that more critical style. I want more community between artists, venues, writers, fans and all of that, so I'm going to keep Milwaukee UP as a fan blog. That's not to say that I won't call out stupidity from time-to-time either, but if you've kept up with Milwaukee UP, you know how I do things.

One thing that I do want to change is the writing that I do about outside "national" artists. I recently did a small interview with DJ Abilities before he came to Milwaukee and that got me thinking about doing more of that. So, from time to time, if an artist is coming to Milwaukee that I want to try to cover -- provided they agree to me covering them -- I'm going to do it.

Other than that, Milwaukee UP will be a hodgepodge of whatever I feel at that time. I might get back into doing a weekly feature on upcoming local shows. I might do more interviews. I might do more writing about the stuff going on around Milwaukee that touch on hip-hop. I might just 2dopeboyz and just post music. Okay, I probably won't do that.

Now that I have a year under my belt, and several months at, I feel good about things and I hope that year No. 2 is just as dynamically interesting. Thank you once again to for asking me to be here, because I love it, and thank you to you -- the reader -- because the idea of passing on information and building community is why I do this.

If you are an artist and you want to send me your music, please reference the link on how I suggest that you do it and send it over to I'm not hiding from you and yes, I am always listening.

I love Milwaukee hip-hop. Let's talk.

JC Poppe Special to

Born in Milwaukee and raised in the Milwaukee suburb of Brown Deer, Concordia University Wisconsin alumnus Poppe has spent the majority of his life in or around the city and county of Milwaukee.

As an advocate of Milwaukee's hip-hop community Poppe began popular local music blog Milwaukee UP in March 2010. Check out the archived entries here.

Though heavy on the hip-hop, Poppe writes about other genres of music and occasionally about food, culture or sports, and is always ready to show his pride in Milwaukee and Wisconsin.