Between October 3 and 19, fans of local hip hop will have a new place to hang out and connect with their favourite artists. Deep in the Brussels underground – or basically in the Rogier subway station – Chez Oscar will open its doors: a temporary, dedicated space for all things hip hop. Much more than just a shop where you can buy new music or exclusive merchandise, this place will host DJ-sets, performances and meet-and-greets with artists like Coely, JeanJass, Caballero, Roméo Elvis, Zwangere Guy, La Smala, STIKSTOF, Darrell Cole, Lefto and many more. We sat down with François Charles from Digizik, one of the production partners behind the exciting new initiative of STIB/MIVB. Let’s see what the fuzz is all about!
So tell us, what exactly can we expect in these two weeks?
"For 15 days straight, we’ll take over the former Starbucks space at Rogier subway station in Brussels and turn it into the primary destination for hip hop in Belgium. Not only will you be able to buy vinyl, accessories and merchandise from your favourite Belgian rappers – you’ll be able to meet them or see a cheeky little showcase or DJ set there too. Apart from that we want this place to be a meeting point for all hip hop fans. Anyone with an interest in Belgian beats is welcome to hang out, listen to new music or connect with other fans."
And when can we pay a visit?
"After a private showcase event on October 3 – for which you can win tickets here – we will be open for business on October 4. On this first day, fans can connect with Zwangere Guy, JeanJass, Caballero, Reoméo Elvis, Le Motel, Senamo and L’Or De Commun. From this day onwards until October 19, Chez Oscar will be open daily between 12:00 and 19:00 (although we’re closed on Sundays and Mondays). Every day we’ll host a different kind of event. This can be a signature session, a radio show, a concert or a DJ-set."
Seems like this thing is a whole business. Who’s behind this project?
"In January, we at Digizik and our main partner, the Brussels’ public transport service STIB/MIVB, started the first conversation on how we can attract more people to the subway and and connect with commuters in an extraordinary way. This was very much necessary, as the number of people using public transport went down after the attacks last year. With additional support from the Brussels Region, Digizik, Back In The Dayz and Bonte Bella joined forced with STIB/MIVB to make this project a reality."
The store is called ‘Chez Oscar’. Who is the hell is Oscar?
"(laughs) Oscar Beek is one of the mascots of the STIB/MIVB. He’s also the new BOT which you can contact on Facebook Messenger in order to receive updated information about public transport, as well as answering any possible question you might have about this shop. Follow his Facebook page if you want to stay up to date with all the events taking place here."
Alright. Can you tell us a little more about the actual location?
"Well, as said earlier, this 120 square meter space used to be the former Starbucks in the Rogier subway station. The whole thing will be designed by this guy called IDEM. He’s a super talented graphic designer and artist from Brussels who takes care of not just the visual elements, but the interior design as well."
Can you give us a small grasp of some of the events to come?
"On October 5, we’re hosting the launch of the new Brussels’ based streetwear brand Paradox. This will actually be the very first time you’re able to buy their pieces! Then, on October 11, we planned some DJ-sets instore. Lefto, DJ Proceed and DJ Vega will provide the perfect after work vibes after a grey Wednesday. There’s a whole lot more planned, so just keep an eye out to stay up to date."
If you want to join us at the private opening event of Chez Oscar on Tuesday, October 3, head over to this contest. Good luck!