CARBONDALE — Go big or go home. Miles Davis doesn’t want it any other way.

After a bumpy year for one of Carbondale’s biggest dreamers, Davis makes a return to promoting, bringing Lit Fest 2.0 to the Varsity on Friday.

Last year Davis, with the help from a network of other local movers and shakers, brought a largely successful hip-hop showcase to The Varsity on the strip in Carbondale. Featuring local talent, the event was a success and helped propel Davis and his Autopsy business imprint — a combination clothing store, recording studio and talent promotion — giving it significant momentum.

This was brought to a halt earlier this year though, after an article published in The Southern caught the eye of local code enforcers and law enforcement who shut down an all ages rap concert at the Autopsy storefront across from city hall.

A debate started among city officials, occasionally involving Davis, too, about city ordinances and special use permits. Since then, Davis said the city has told him he can either host 17 and under shows or 18 and up.

“(I) tried to turn it into as many good situations as I can,” Davis said.

Davis said he is still finding ways to offer something more than standing on the outside looking in at Carbondale’s music scene. He told The Southern that since the problems with the city earlier this year, he publicly put his shop and show promotion on hold to regroup.

But that’s about to change, and that’s where Lit Fest comes in.

Coming off of last year’s success — ticket sales for the inaugural event were between 300 and 400 — Davis said he’s hoping to relaunch Autopsy Sound and his dreams for the city with Friday’s show at The Varsity.

This year’s lineup features five local acts, including Lil’ Cactus, Ten Toes Cobbo, BMM, J Lazarus, B.O.L. and Julio Rizzo as well as local DJs Gea and Ben Juggin.

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However, Davis said he wanted to build on last year and bring in someone national. Joining the bill is headliner and ASAP Mob-associated rapper Joey Fatts — Mob founder ASAP Yams had Fatts' Cutthroat Records’ name tattooed to his face, so the association isn’t casual.

Where the last Lit Fest focused more on R&B acts, like hometown hero Courtlin Jabrae, this year is centered more on straight ahead hip-hop.

“This one’s all kinds of heavy hitters, to be honest,” Davis said.

With a name like Lit Fest, Davis said he wanted to be sure the energy stays high from start to finish.

That said, the style shift also had another side. He said he wanted to court a different crowd than he did last year to broaden his base. However, part of it also stems from his dealings with the city earlier this year.

“I do think it still affects me,” Davis said. He was worried at the time when the police shut down his all-ages show that parents wouldn’t let kids come to Autopsy events anymore. But he’s doing his best to put this in past.

“I’m not going to look back,” Davis said.

He said he won’t let some inconveniences shut down his dreams. “Now I’m just making it work with what I can work with,” he said.

Kicking off with Lit Fest Friday, Davis said he will also be re-opening his Autopsy storefront that sells streetwear this summer, likely in June.

He hopes to bounce back bigger and better.

“You’re going to see my grinding everyday,” Davis said.

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On Twitter: @ismithreports


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