“It is nice to have an event not just honoring our artists, but to keep motivating them to continue to chase dreams, and not feel their efforts fall on deaf ears,” said Lisa Jackson, Crafton.
“I’ve been a fan of local music for over 15 years, and to see this much talent under one roof excites me. I am looking forward to seeing where their (local artists) careers will go from here.”
The night’s events had an amazing synergy. Entering the August Wilson Center, posters and displays from local sponsors, including the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, clothing businesses and artists decorated the main corridor.
Local artists were signing autographs and taking pictures with fans, and industry professionals, such as Danny Carter, an A&R representative for Interscope Records, were buzzing on phones and social media.
Backstage, artists were networking amongst each other, exchanging phone numbers, CDs, and emails. Some of the artists considered this the foundation of the scene.
“Whether an artist wins a PUMA or not, everybody wins tonight in the bigger picture. We’re trying to build up the music scene and show how much talent we have. The more they (artists) network and build, the better for Pittsburgh,” said Mista Scrap, one of the award presenters.
Inside the arena, it was nearly filled to capacity, with a lively crowd supporting their favorite local artists. As each award was announced, fans would jump out of their seats and chant the individuals’ name in approval.
“I’m loving the energy in here tonight, it’s a beautiful thing, Pittsburgh,” said Mike Jax from WAMO-100 who served as Master of Ceremonies.
There weren’t many acceptance speeches Sunday evening, but there were numerous electric performances from artists like Capitol L, Mic Menace, HollyHood, Good Kelly, and others.
 Each artist left a piece of themselves on stage, filled with a passion incarnate, and most didn’t want their performance to end, such as Mic Menace who slammed his microphone in disapproval when cut off during his set.
“It’s beautiful to see all of you here to support us tonight, and we thank you for being here to see us shine,” said Capitol L.
Fellow performer HollyHood agreed.
“I just want to say how much I love you all, and love how you’re supporting your own. Keep supporting and showing us (as artists) that we do matter.”
With the final award of the evening for Best Male Rap Artist going to Hardo, the lights went off and the first PUMAs came to a close.
Those in attendance feel good about the future of Pittsburgh’s music scene.
“We have a voice now, and it’s not from Wiz Khalifa or Mac Miller. Those two opened the door, but what’s about to walk through it is about to break the hinges off,” said Marcus Wright, South Side.
Next year’s PUMAs is scheduled to take place in April 2014. More information can be gathered from their website: (pghundergroundmusicawards.com)

(To contact Abdul Al-Nakhli, follow him on twitter (@mrspadez) or email him at abdulspadez@gmail.com)

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