When Neu! Reekie! approached me to be involved in a festival about counter-culture across the UK I was intrigued and thought it sounded cool. When they told me they planned on having a whole day dedicated to UK hip-hop from across the length and breadth of the country I was blown away.
A whole day dedicated to hip-hop artists that challenge social norms and ask questions of mainstream culture, representing far and wide across the UK. Fucking hell that’s amazing. When the initial excitement subsided I started to panic. How can you possibly represent everyone that’s creating amazing work? Everyone that’s knocking on the walls of social boundaries to see if they’ll crack? Everyone that’s innovating and protesting, questioning and rebelling, scratching away surface-level bias, painting alternatives and breaking barriers? The answer is that you can’t. Having been a hip-hop artist for the last 15 years and a fan for much longer I’ve seen, heard and been inspired by so many creators and innovators across the UK that it would be impossible to fit even a fraction of them into a single day of a counter-culture festival. So Where Are We Now? Hip-Hop Saturday is about representing just some of the most exciting voices regionally and nationally that engage, innovate and move things forward: a chance to celebrate the things that make hip-hop relevant and important.
Part of Hull UK City of Culture 2017, the day is co-curated with Hull promoter and b-boy, Flowrex. Hip-hop has gone from a local culture in the South Bronx to a global culture worldwide but it only works, it only really makes sense when its re-localised. It is and has always been about representing where you are from, telling stories in your own voice and being true to yourself. A festival celebrating this couldn’t possibly happen without representing its local voices and the programme is about bringing local artists and artists from around the UK together in a fast-paced mashup of hip-hop culture.
Live performances on three stages throughout the day, workshops for young people, breaking battles, graffiti, DJing and turntablism, emceeing – all the elements represented. And of course the fifth element – knowledge – from UK hip-hop legend Rodney P Presents… The Hip-Hop World News – with Q&A afterwards and live performance from Loki (Scotland), to Chester P’s Five Word Freestyle, the social commentary of Amy True, insights and wordplay of Scorzayzee, local talent such as Hull’s Chiedu Oraka, the genre-blurring Eva Lazarus, the mighty Four Owls, to political heavy-weight Akala headlining the night show at The Welly, the whole day is shot through with thought-provoking content, social commentators and innovative artists.
I'm mad excited to see this, never mind play at it.
One love to everyone involved in hip-hop culture in any way, shape or form. Where Are We Now #2 is just a snapshot of some of the ways that hip-hop has been and is being inspired, interpreted and expressed around the UK.
Where Are We Now? Hip-Hop Saturday looks like this:
10am – 11am (sold out)
Production: Agent M
DJing: DJ Rasp
Breaking: Breakin’ Through Leeds (Rawgina and Beanz)
Emceeing: Nikki Blaze and Tony Broke
Graf (Illustration): King Monk
Graf 2 (Lettering): Smash Proof
11.30am – 2.20pm (sold out)
Film, Q&A session + live set from Loki (Scotland)
2.20pm – 5pm (FREE)
Chester P Five Word Freestyle Challenge
Flow 500 Cypher
Live graffiti from Si2, Smash Proof, Kain Marshall
5.30pm – 10pm (TICKETS AVAILABLE)
The Four Owls
Redeye, Clarksman, PlayaOne & Fast T
Chiedu Oraka & Deezkid
Breaking battles: Leeds the Way vs Hardknox Crew
DJ Toots and The Don
DJ Steg G
Presented by Flowrex and TJ Chill