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PUBLISHED: 10:34 AM on Wednesday, July 6, 2005
Juneau DJ takes first place in hip-hop competition

Alaska's never been known as a hotbed for the hip-hop scene, but a recent competition in Anchorage showed that a growing number of rappers, DJs and break dancers are taking an interest in the burgeoning subculture-including Juneau's own DJ Astronomar.

"My main intent in going to the event was not to win, but to help the hip-hop scene in Alaska grow," said the disc jockey, otherwise known as 21-year-old Marlon Lumba. "I really wanted to interact with other members of the hip-hop community."

In addition to enjoying the company of other artists and fans, Lumba took first place in the DJ competition for the second year in a row. The contest was part of Juice 3, a hip-hop jam held on June 11th in the Tesoro Sports Centre parking lot alongside the second annual Drive Car Show.

Now in its third year, Juice attracts hip-hop talent from all over Alaska. Hosted by online site, illaska.com, which bills itself as the official urban Alaska community web site, the event allows rappers, DJs and break dancers to showcase their moves in front of a growing audience.

This year's DJ competition was a tight one, with DJ Astronomar going head-to-head with DJ Victamone of Anchorage. Tied after the final round, both DJs participated in a final 'scratch-off,' with Lumba taking home the title. "I think my sound is unique because living in Juneau, there aren't a lot of outside influences, so I've had to formulate my own style," he explained. "I've gathered what I could from CDs, but a lot of what I do is self-taught; I've had to develop my own methods."

Lumba works to spread the hip-hop sound throughout Southeast, hosting Monday Night Raw at the Alaskan Hotel and performing at other venues, including the Zach Gordon Youth Center. "I'm doing what I can to make hip-hop accessible-just like it got hold of me, it can get hold of others," he said. "Originally, there was only a small circle of us, but now hip-hop is beginning to branch out."

An employee of Capital Records, Lumba said that he first got into hip-hop about six years ago. "I was fascinated with the sound of scratching, and I loved it so much that I had to find my place in it," he said.

His place, as seen by this month's win at Juice, is at the top of Alaska's hip-hop scene.


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