It’s Monday again. You can’t shake the fact that the weekend is over. You should grab a quick bite to eat and some coffee with a side of hip hop.
For the past eight years, Austin’s Coffee and Film has been the host for an open mic every Monday night from 10 pm to 1 am, even holidays, for the all who love hip hop music. Austin’s Coffee and Film is located in Winter Park, FL off Fairbanks Avenue, which is right up the road from Rollins University. They are open every day, all day, and all year round.
Austin’s Coffee and Film is famous for hosting all types of music, poetry, and even comedy nights. They serve assorted coffee, tea, beer, and organic sodas. They also serve meals and desserts for vegans, vegetarians, and those that eat it all.
The owners and staff are very supportive and have been caught wearing some of the local artist merchandise who have performed for the open mic night. Their heads bob to the music as they serve up frappuccinos and flatbreads.
“I love that Austin’s Coffee and Film is the creative community’s green room to relax, connect, practice, and prepare for whatever stage they’re headed to,” commented Isaac Folch, previous host of the open mic night.
Originally, the night was founded by a couple of local DJs and rappers. They passed the baton off to other emcees like local artist Isaac Folch of local group, King’s Offspring. Since then, it has landed with its current host, Joshua Carrasco. Joshua Carrasco known as Madd Illz is currently CEO of Grind Time Now, one of largest rap battle leagues on the internet.
“My favorite thing is how diverse it is,” said Carrasco.
When you pull up to park in the back, you’ll notice something immediately. There are college students, older couples, people with dreads, friends with all different hats and clothing. The ages of the audience range from 16-60. This is not your typical hip hop event. People of all races and backgrounds have all made the decision to gather together to do what they love, rap.
The open mic features rotating DJs and a new artist features every Monday. The only thing set is the host. Rappers of all types rap on whatever instrumental the DJ spins. What makes this night so unique is that anyone can grab the microphone and there is no sign up list.
“The only place you can go and have the freedom of expression without being judged,” shared Carrasco.
It’s open format where all types, styles, and beliefs can be transposed on the microphone. Rappers can share what’s on their mind, heart, or just try to make you laugh with punch lines and blow your mind with all types of flows and rhyme schemes.
“The best freestylers in Orlando share the stage with the best platform for beginners,” commented Carrasco. Those who are starting get a chance to rap on classic beats and learn more about hip hop music.
“The diversity of the music that the DJs play and different style of rappers teach you that Hip Hop is not a genre. Hip Hop is a culture,” said Carrasco.
This is the best place to start in my journey to find what the sound of Orlando music is. This venue expresses that there is not just one voice, but a community that can gather to do what they love without judgment. Through the love of music, we can make a difference in the way we see each other.
“Come on Mondays not only for the entertainment, great people, and food, but to be a part of the city’s heartbeat and witness the journey of so many special artists,” said Folch.