Mark “ShaH” Evans

My day job is managing a number of local artists including Sincere LifeTrebino, and Serenity Beesley. I also manage two well-known national figuresPlatinum-selling artist I-20 and National Muay Thai champion Brody Josephand am the booking manager for Platinum producer DJ Pain 1. I’m one of the founders of UCan, which is the Urban Community Arts Network, and the Madison Hip-Hop Awards, which was started to bring positive attention to the area’s hip-hop scene.

In addition, I manage the website, Get Your Buzz Up, which is dedicated to helping up-and-coming artists in hip-hop, R&B and EDM (electronic dance music).

I also work with local police officer, Lester Moore. We go into the schools and speak with middle and high school students. I’ve found that when you connect in the language of music—and can relate to the experiences that a lot of the kids are going through—the students tend to listen.

My most memorable caffeine is the coffee you had to make sure my mom had before you hit her with anything serious. My mom can’t live without her coffee and if you have anything important that you want to discuss with her—especially if it’s early in the morning—you’d better make sure there’s a pot of coffee ready and that she’s had a cup. My mom is awesome, but it’s dangerous to talk to her before she’s had that first cup!

My current caffeine of choice is iced with almond milk and hazel cream. I don’t like hot coffee—it burns my mouth!

My favorite place for caffeine is Cargo on East Wash—we have all our UCan meetings here—and I also like Barriques on Park St.

 The person I’d love to share a cup of caffeine with is a roundtable of the following:

The Notorious B.I.G., because he’s the world’s greatest rapper and I’d love to pick his brain

Malcolm X and Mohammed Ali because they were leaders whose lives played out in the public eye and I’d like to ask them what inspired them and kept them moving.

Sun Tzu, for his strategic genius. So much of what he said still applies today.

Jay Z—because he’s a business genius and I could learn so much from him. He’s the first non-athlete with a shoe deal and the first one to have his own agency group. He’s always ahead of the curve: He’s not part of the explosion, he creates the explosion.

Ghenghis Khan—I’d like to talk to one of the world’s most famous warlords about strategy.

My father—He’s gone now and the last conversation we had was in writing because he had cancer and couldn’t speak. Now that I’m a dad myself, I’d like another chance to be with him and actually talk.

World problem that could be solved with the right amount of caffeine:  Doing a better job embracing the hip-hop community in Madison. Hip-hop is more than a musical genre; it’s a culture and one that isn’t thriving in our city. People who want to be successful in hip-hop have to leave Madison to make that happen. If we could create a thriving hip-hop scene, we’d be creating a wide range of employment opportunities—everything from the artist to the producer to the marketing team to the engineers—and we’d be sending a message to the young people who care about hip-hop that we value and want to support them. What message are we sending, especially to children of color, that something so core to who they are isn’t welcomed here?

I’ve experienced the power of hip-hop to connect with kids through my work in the schools. For instance, we did a program with the kids at Black Hawk middle school where we had them break down and learn about climate change by putting that to a hip-hop song. Those kids are going to remember the properties they learned that way forever.

Our program has a proven track record—it’s working and we need people to support it. My message to the Madison community? “Don’t be afraid of hip-hop!”