The Inner Harbor has long been what many people outside of Baltimore picture when they think of the city’s culture. However, anyone with their finger even somewhat on the pulse of Baltimore culture knows that there is so much more to the city than the Harbor, which is hardly representative of what most of the city feels like. At the same time, it’s where most of the money and tourism end up going in Baltimore. Consequently, many in the city understand that this drawing power makes the Harbor a potential hub for culture and art, not just sports and water taxis. Harnessing the Harbor for culture and art seems to be one of the goals of the Baltimore by Baltimore festival, which held its hip-hop focused festival day on September 3, 2022.
Just as it may seem from the name, the festival seeks to use actual Baltimoreans to plan and coordinate its events. As a result, the hip-hop day was stacked with many of the biggest and most important names in Baltimore hip-hop. Hosted by Eze Jackson and Tiara LaNiece, two pioneers in their own right, the event featured acts such as Mumu Fresh, Lil Key, Ill Conscious and many more. The entire day felt like a cultural reunion of sorts for Baltimore hip-hop. Throughout the day, the hosts gave flowers, or more literally plaques, to those in the scene that have contributed the most, including studios, journalists and others just outside the scene that do so much work to keep it relevant.
The Inner Harbor conversion to a space for the city’s unsung heroes of hip-hop and beyond was heartening to many involved. Watching audience members gather from their walks to check out the music, food, and vendors available showed the power that these events can have when given the proper room to flourish. The event was the fourth put on by Baltimore by Baltimore this summer, each with different themes. The next event is being held on October 1st, again at the Inner Harbor Amphitheater.