By JC Poppe Special to Published Dec 08, 2010 at 11:15 AM

You can't help but love the way that the holiday season brings out the best in people. The desire to give and help a fellow human being is increased, or at least appears to go up around this time of the year, and it doesn't matter whether or not an individual participates in the rites of a specific religion.

Giving happens, and it's great to see, especially in today's struggling economy. Local hip-hop label EMP Entertainment, in collaboration with Milwaukee's House of Peace, isn't going to let the season pass without making sure that they do their fair share of giving.

In a reaction to seeing the effects of the struggling economy all around them, EMP decided that it was crucial to give back to the community that supports them through a toy drive and concert extravaganza at Hyde Bar, 906 S. Barclay St., this Sunday, starting at 9 p.m. Although the venue is currently closed, it will re-open for the night especially for this event.

"The thought of our city being the fourth poorest city in the country sparked the idea and with the unemployment rate for Milwaukee being so high, we said, 'let's step back and do something for our youth'" Streetz, of EMP's flagship group Streetz and Young Deuces, told me.

"I see it (poverty/unemployment) affecting everyone around me. Things aren't the way they used to be and to be honest, things won't ever be the same, but it's up to us to be better and not put all the blame on the government. We have to be better in all aspects, from saving our money, to how we raise our children in these hard times."

The concert event features a who's who of Milwaukee hip-hop artists with performances by Ray Rizzy, Prophetic, Scott Knoxx, SPEAK Easy, Misen Lync and others, in addition to EMP veterans like Payroll and
B-Easy. DJ Infotek will be providing the music for the night.

Admission to the event is free for those who bring a toy and $5 for those who do not bring a toy, before 10 p.m. All toys must be new and still in their original packaging and they have provided a suggestion /wish list to help guide those interested in donating:

Basketballs, footballs or soccer balls, skateboards, RC cars, scarf and glove sets, picture frames, jewelry, bath gift sets, beading kits, hair comb sets, watches, hats, sweatshirts with team logos, CD Walkman, gift cards, movie passes, bedside lamps, radio / alarm clocks.

If you aren't able to stay for the show, you can drop off a toy at the door, or you can also donate directly to House of Peace, 1702 W. Walnut St., any time between now and the end of the year.

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.