Hip Hop: A Way of Life

Rane TTM56 mixerThe purpose of this blog is to provide supporting information, media, thoughts and discoveries on my photographic journey into the culture of Hip Hop.

I have been interested in Hip Hop, at least as a consumer, for about 7 years, though my first introduction to it was as a young teenager by my sister, with the seminal albums Fear of a Black Planet by Public Enemy and Straight Out of Compton by N.W.A.

What really got my into Hip Hop was djing. I have been a highly enthusiastic DJ for about 10 years and I discovered Hip Hop as I began to loose interest in the repetitive nature of dance music and its (relatively) simplistic mixing techniques. Funk, Soul and Hip Hop music seemed a natural progression in terms of djing and I discovered the joys, challenges and technical skills of Turntablism (scratching and beat juggling).

Though my introduction to Hip Hop was initially through the music, as I became more aware of the culture as a whole, I began to realise that it struck a deeper chord within me. At heart Hip Hop is a movement about creativity, collaboration, understanding, peace and a philosophy that promotes self understanding and expression.

It is this that has ultimately led me to want to explore Hip Hop: many people, when I tell them that I am a fan of Hip Hop, respond in a way that suggests that they think of Hip Hop as some how intellectually invalid, with is public image of violence, misogyny and greed. While I do not deny that these are a part of Hip Hop I feel that they are but a tiny part of the culture and very much a misrepresentation of the art form.

Though I will support this blog with music, video and imagery of my exploration of Hip Hop, the project scope is not so much products of the culture: the music, graffiti, the dancing, but about the people who makes these thing. I want to show that many of the people involved in Hip Hop are intelligent, dedicated and enlightened individuals.

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