5 years ago I sat down with a good friend of mine Prof. Adam Haupt as he just started is project StaticPhlow which is s a non-commercial online youth culture archive that hopes to bridge the gap between the work of artists, activists and scholars.
Visit Staticphlow.com to learn how you can contribute to its efforts to make research and activism in the field of especically southern African youth culture visible.
Growing up in Mitchell's Plain hip hop had an profound effect on the youth when it was introduced. My first hip hop video I was was "Hey DJ" by World Supreme….Team.
The rotation of cassette was on it's highest in neighbourhoods and back then in our area at the time we had a number of 3-5 new releases floating around per week with this new music we "discovered" , related to but didn't understand. It wasn't till the advent of seeing the "Breakdance" movies hearing "The Message" by Grandmaster Flash and the Furious 5, "Planet Rock" by Afrika Bambaata and Soulsonic Force, "King Tim III" by Fatback Band and other old school releases that this music form that we in our neighbourhood found that we understood it.
For me growing up in the Cape Flats round '84 - '85 was one of the most profound stages of my life and musically it was exciting times as well and there was so much to digest musically, culturally and politically. The 80's was a good era for music in general for it has just moved from the disco era. Pop music was fresh, so was rock and it was also the era where house music flourished and gave rise to today's classics. All these influences also helped shape the hip hop sound at the time, fat basslines, nice snyths, and the famous 808. For us at the time it was a lot to digest, it was so fresh and def.
The artist that was on hot rotation at the time while we were swapping cassettes in the form of TDK's, BASF and the no name ones were:
Fat Boys - just the beatboxing was ill!
Cold Crush Brothers
Doctor Jeckyll and Mr.Hyde
Ice T - yes 6 in the morn was a classic!
LA Dream Team
Koas and Mystro
The list is endless with names forgotten. These artist and the many not named was our introduction here in Cape Town. At the same time a "hip hop movement" was already flourishing with "heads" already participating and practicing the various elements.
With the political situation and state of emergency in our country and specifically Cape Town coupled with the rise of conscious rap music in the form of BDP, Public Enemy, etc young men and women's political views and consciousness in hip hop were shaped that gave rise to the scene as we know it today in Cape Town.
Anyway let's stick to my hitlist and leave the history lesson for a documentary.
Top 20 hip hop albums :
Extremely difficult !!!
1.) Breaking Atoms - Main Source
2.) L.L. COOL J - Bigger and Deffer
3.) Run D.M.C. - Run D.M.C & Raising Hell
4.) Beastie Boys - Licence to ill
5.) B.D.P. - All their releases - come on it count as one!
6.) Slick Rick - The Adventure's off…
7.) Public Enemy - Yo Bum rush the show
8.) Erik B and Rakim - Paid in full
9.) De la soul - 3 Feet High and Rising
10.) X - Clan - To the East Blackwards
11.) Bizz Markie - Going off
12.) Big Daddy Kane - Looks for a job for…
13.) EPMD - Strictly Bussines
14.) Rass Kass - Soul on ICE
15.) Pharcyde - 93 till infinity
16.) Organised Konfusion - S.T.R.E.S.S.
17.) A.T.C.Q - Low End Theory
19.) Del - Wish my brother George was here
20.) P.O.C. - Age of truth
TOP 5 MIXTAPES:
1.) Cash Money - Old School hip hop vol1- vintage hip hop
2.) DJ BABU - Comprehension - released 94/5
3.) DJ Q bert -Demolition Pumpkin Squeeze
4.) MELO D - A.M Sessions
5.) DJ Shortkut - Kuts Foundation
Top 10 turntabilism albums :
1.) D-Styles - Phantazmagorea
2.) Q-bert -Wavetwisters
3.) Babu & Rhettmatic - Wildstylus
4.) DJ Revolution - In 12's we trust
5.) Ricci Rucker - Sketchbook
6.) Mr.Dibbs - Turntable Masacre
7.) Deeper Concentration Compilations
8.) Kid Koala - Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
9.) DJ Shadow - Entroducing
10.) Return of the DJ VOL 1-4
TOP 6 old school dj showcase tracks:
1.) Public Enemy - Terminator X to the edge of panic
2.) E.P.M.D - Funky Piano feat DJ SCRATCH
3.) HIJACK - Stylewars
4.) Gangstarr - DJ Premier in deep concentration
5.) Fresco & Mizz - We don't play
6.) P.O.C - Muder on Stage
There's more hip hop albums and music that serves as continual inspiration for me. Hope this can be a guide or reference for aspiring and up and coming deejays who want to enter the world of hip hop deejaying and turntabilism.
I remember the BASE-24 hour hip hop jams and gatsby competitions, I remember TV2 and Zero Hour Zone catching glimpses out rap videos, I remember P.O.C doing Rapping for Democracy showin' youths across South Africa how to exercise their vote, I remember Do for self concerts, projects and Black Noise initiating bboy workshops at Westrigde City, I remember Town Centre doing my first performance their in '88. I remember The African Hip Hop Movement and Nation of Islam, I remember after the Base when we had Brown's Cafe, Angels and Comic Strip, I remember seeing Delinquent for the first time when he won the rap battle at Comic Strip, I remember GHETTO 3000 the next big thing to BOOGIE dOWN kNights, I rememeber the ill posters for BOOGIE DOWN KNIGHTS and just the overall vibe, I remember Radio West in Westgate mall and how we use request them frequently to play our demo, I remember watching how the classic album "AGE OF TRUTH" was made in Ready D's room and how JAM B beefed because Shaheen wanted a track that was made for them,
I remember WESTERN BLOCK - MR.Devious and Pain, I remember POWER JAMS at Nicro and how Ready D mixtapes were selling like hotcakes, I remember Peace Radio and Headwarmers when it was hosted by HAMMA D, MR.FAT, BOETA D (READY D), SHAHEEN , BIG DRE, I remember ill deejays like Steven X, Big Dre, B-side, Rick B aka Sinus, Itchie and Scratchie, I remember Mobshop and DA JUICE, I remember SKY1 and Mr.FAT battling at the first Battle of the Year, I remember being in school being excited and buying a ticket to see PUBLIC ENEMY and the show never happened, I remember and salute one of the Godfathers never mentioned KING JAMO, I remember when you could only have a 30 min session of "commercial" hip hop in clubs back in the early 90's, I remember the ZULU NATION and all the beefs back then, I remember AZANIAN B-BOYS and how any bboy group would just be intimidated by the name, I remember my first paid gig which was R50, I remember teachings like EACH ONE TEACH ONE, I remember Caramel and Whiteboy, Brother A, NUBIAN QUEENS, Sistaz in Command, Rugrats, YBM and many more, I remember the DJ OF THE DECADE dj battle when Falko did his DJ DAVID routine and broke the decks, I remember one of the first and best freestyle rappers and beatboxers MARCO POLO, I remember Street Brothers, BASF and TDK cassettes and how we would change the insides of these tapes after recording the original and giving the copy back to whoever lend us the cassette, I remember TRAX and Vibes,
I remember the first hip hop and entertainment e-newsletter by Arthur, I remember gang incidents at clubs, I remember doing and putting together my first tour in Namibia in '97, I remember seeing E-20 scratching for the first time and being way before his time back then, I remember Westgate Mall and how we were to hardcore for that, I remember being in NEOPYHTES alongside E.J von Lyrik ( Godessa ) and JON Lewis, I remember all the crews I belonged to in the late 80's and 90's like SUICIDE CREW, SUICIDE FUNK, HIT TO EXTREME, SKITZ, H20, DEF DRAGON BOMBERS, I remember dacing and rapping at jaard jolle, carnivals, school concerts, church concerts,
I remember to always thank the MOST HIGH for the gift given to me and the people I have encounterd during my life which have helped shaped by conciousness and character. I will always remember you.
Travelling around South Africa it ’s astounding for me to see that the thing replacing skill in Mzansi is swagga. Gone are the days where skill and originality took precedence over what’s out there or what’s hot. I always encounter youths that ask me, “What does it take for me to make it in this music bizz”. It’s simple…..SELF DISCIPLINE. It’s the easiest thing to do yet the most difficult too. It requires you to look into yourself and to be honest with yourself. It’s requires you to acknowledge your weaknesses and to even more build on your strengths. It requires you to indentify your CAPACITY. Self discipline deals with the self and stripping yourself down on all levels of being and being honest. It’s a skill…in my opinion. Self discipline when cultivated teaches you to expand your mind and tap into the Infinite and indentify the unlimited power that you possess. Relating to hip hop self discipline gives rise to skill, that then with time through assimilation of experiences gives rise to style (individuality). Self discipline is a life skill. How are you gonna “make it” if you don’t have basic self discipline tentants to for example, wake up early, discipline your mind to read and listen, discipline your body to adhere to your mind, discipline your spirit so to be in tune with nature, yourself and The All.
So skill in my opinion is more than busting those multi – syllabills, throwing down triple click flares and being an ego-driven idiot or doing being able to do air flare combos. Skill is the abilty to listen, learn, assimulate then create.
Skill is infinite……