A Hip Hop Adventure Around the World: From New York to Nepal
The coolest thing about traveling is experiencing people engaging cultures that are not your own, but sometimes something surprising can happen. When you least expect it, you can find people in foreign lands in the middle of nowhere embracing in a culture that is uniquely yours and then re-inventing it with a fresh spin.
For me that culture was Hip Hop and I kept finding it everywhere I went. For those of you not hip to the hop, it originally grew out of the neighborhoods of New York City, U.S.A. Hip Hop was a subculture, that grew out of African American neighborhoods and sprang out of reggae, funk, soul, and disco. But like many things Hip Hop was more than music and it represented those who did not have a voice. It was the expression of those that felt oppressed, of those in poverty, of the youth, it was the art of those that simply wanted to be heard, to have something that was theirs, and to share what they thought was beautiful. They did it through DJing, MCing, Rapping, Dancing, Breaking, Graffiti, Style, and Beatboxing. And as it started in African American culture, given the diversity of New York, it began spreading to all cultures and then as I came to find out across the world.
It is for those reasons that I believe I kept encountering it wherever I went, everyman everywhere you go has two things in common; they want to have a voice no matter nationality, race, creed, religion, or social class and they want to have a good time and Hip Hop provides for both.
Hip hop culture has even become a tool for social and political change throughout the world. During the fall of the Soviet Union it found roots in Russia and began spreading rapidly. Even more recently it played a role in the youth expressing their ideas during the revolutionary Arab Spring.
Here are some pics of Hip Hop as I saw it weaving it’s way through the world:
For your listening pleasure here are some Russian rappers that my friends in Kazakhstan made sure I wrote down so I’d listen to again after we spent a night hanging out.
This is Blasta:
This is Guf:
This is Kasta:
and this is Rolex:
So until next time, I’m going to keep rambling around the world looking for the next Outkast with my headphones in bobbing my head to “So Fresh, So Clean.” In the words of Big Boi, stay “cooler than Freddie Jackson Sippin a milkshake in a snowstorm.”
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