Night Life

Benefit for DJ Comp 1

Admittedly, it is a tad early for a Nightfly. It is 9 o'clock on a Friday night, and of all places, I am pulling into the parking lot of a church, Fellowship Christian Church, to be exact. I'm here to attend a benefit for DJ Comp 1, a.k.a. Joey Hernandez, who was involved in a serious car accident that landed him in intensive care at Ben Taub Hospital. He is currently undergoing rehabilitation — and watching his medical bills stack up.

Well respected in the Houston hip-hop community, Comp 1 first established himself in the mid-'90s as a battle DJ and promoter with Reprogram Music. Victories at major DJ competitions helped put his crew Mathmatech Turntable Collective, which included familiar names Witnes and Ceeplus, on the map. Since then, Comp has been a mainstay of the Houston hip-hop scene. He DJs for local rappers Nosaprise and V-Zilla, and also with Houston's world-renowned break-dancing crew Havikoro. Comp and the Havikoro crew lend their talents to American Voices, a nonprofit organization that promotes global cultural exchange; they've performed in 35 countries. In addition, Comp hosts two monthlies — All City at the G.R.A.B. Bar and The Bench at the Proletariat with BBC (B-Boy Craig).

It's no wonder, then, that in Comp's time of need, the local hip-hop community has rallied together. I walk into what looks to be the church banquet hall. Members of Comp's family are serving up Mexican food for donations. I make my way toward the music upstairs, stopping along the way to drop some money into one of the donation buckets. That's what this is all about, after all, Comp's medical bills. I look around the church's recreational center: Joe B. of the Rebel Crew is spinning from beneath a basketball hoop. People sitting in rows of folding chairs fill the gymnasium. Children play in the aisles. Break-dancers jam on the court. Graffiti art pieces by Article are on display for auction.

Comp's mother is seated in the back row. I chat with her for a bit. "I thank God first and all of these people — all of Joey's friends. They just came together, and they're doing so many things for him. Look at all these people," she says.

Now it's Ill-Set's turn onstage. Havikoro follows, wowing the crowd with an amazing combination of breaking, lyrical and house routines. Proving that they are not to be outdone by the big boys, elementary-age b-boys take a turn. And Joe B. and son Scorpio take the stage as a father-and-son emcee duo. Friends and family close out the presentation with well-wishing and anecdotes about Comp.

DJ Ill-Set says of Comp: "He's taught me a lot. He is the reason I am who I am today as far as DJing. I could go a different route and be a club DJ, but I'd rather play soul and funk. He's introduced me to so much music. And because of him, I'm contributing to the culture here."

B-Boy Joel Martinez of Havikoro says: "We grew up in the same neighborhood. Comp [is] like a brother to all of us. He was one of the first guys to show me how to do some break-dancing. He taught me a 90 way back when he used to dance."

Joe B. says it best: "People came here for Comp, but more than that, people came for what Comp represents. I think he represents hip-hop, which automatically means that he represents me, he represents her, he represents them. It's not so much the great things we're doing for Comp but what Comp did for us. He threw it out to our eyes that we do stand together as one body, not just in the clubs or in the bars, but in real life. We all see how strong the hip-hop family here is when things like this happen." Comp 1 can be reached via www.myspace.com/Comp1.

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Valerie Alberto
Contact: Valerie Alberto