It never hurts to be reminded how close to home hunger can hit. In Pennsylvania, 19.3% of all children are food insecure, as are 12.9% of PA seniors. But you can help! In fact, this very weekend, rapper T-Real offers an easy opportunity to lend support.
Friday, T-Real (a.k.a. Tajah Russell) will celebrate the release his debut mixtape, After 11
, with a performance at the Smiling Moose, in the South Side. All proceeds benefit the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank. Russell, who was born and raised in Pittsburgh says he wanted to lend support to an organization that "is helping out the community I grew up in."
Russell says he developed an interest in hip hop at a young age from his brother. "He would freestyle; I learned to rap from him." It wasn't until late last year that Russell started making his own beats, which over the last few months turned into After 11
. "I woke up and told myself, 'I can make beats.'' He borrowed a beat-making machine from a friend and spent many late nights learning how to use it.
Russell takes inspiration from artists like Jay-Z, but also draws inspiration from all over the map, including Bob Marley, Prince and the Beatles. "I just love music."
T-REAL"S HOUSE PARTY. 10 p.m., Fri., June 17. The Smiling Moose, 1306 E Carson St., South Side. $10. 412-431-4668 or www.smiling-moose.com