Rumkraft bliver officielt Hip Hop Hub-fyrtårn: Et fælles mål om et åbent og frit kunst- og kulturmiljø
Vi fortsætter med løbende at løfte sløret for de nøgleorganisationer, som i fremtiden kommer til at spille en stor rolle i udfoldelsen af Hip Hop Hub. De officielle 'Hip Hop Hub-fyrtårne' skal være med til at skabe endnu mere kultur for og med endnu flere unge i hele landet. Hvordan det skal ske, og hvem de udvalgte organisationer er, kan du læse mere om her.
Rapolitics vælger ny bestyrelse og forperson
Efter den årlige generalforsamling i foreningen er fire nye medlemmer valgt ind i bestyrelsen. Vi får samtidig vores yngste forperson til dato i storytelleren og aktivisten Manilla Ghafuri.
JB10 bliver en del af Hip Hop Hub-fyrtårn Sjælland: »Hiphop er kærlighed«
Vi er tilbage efter sommerferien og er endnu engang klar til at løfte sløret for en af de nøgleorganisationer, som i fremtiden kommer til at spille en stor rolle i udfoldelsen af Hip Hop Hub. De officielle ‘Hip Hop Hub-fyrtårne’ skal være med til at skabe endnu mere kultur for og med endnu flere unge i hele landet. Hvordan det skal ske, og hvem de udvalgte organisationer er, kan du læse mere om her.
Nicklas Bertelsen sætter ord på ensomheden i podcast for unge: »Som kultur finder vi det enormt skamfuldt at tale om«
Når Nicklas Bertelsen sætter sig bag mikrofonen og tænder for optageren, går han i dybden med et af de emner, vi har sværest ved at tale om. I en podcast-serie på Blocklabs interviewer han personer, der alle har eller har haft ensomhed helt tæt inde på livet.
North Urban Art Studio bliver officielt Hip Hop Hub-fyrtårn: »Vi glæder os til at lave nogle fantastiske projekter sammen«
I den kommende tid vil vi introducere flere danske organisationer, som vi i fremtiden vil indgå et tæt samarbejde med for at skabe endnu mere kultur for og med endnu flere unge i hele landet. Organisationerne bliver officielle ‘Hip Hop Hub-fyrtårne’. Hvad det går ud på, og hvem den første organisation er, kan du læse meget mere om her.
Kunstner i Corona-tid: DRAG-artisten ION afsøger nye måder at give sit publikum liv
De mindre danske kunstnere er nogle af dem, der lige nu mærker de økonomiske konsekvenser af situationen omkring Coronavirusset og dets følgesygdom Covid-19. Hvordan mærker en dansk DRAG-artist krisen, og hvad kan du gøre, hvis du gerne vil støtte kunsten hjemmefra? Læs med her.
SULKA bruger hiphop som terapi: »Jeg fandt en måde, hvor min sorg kunne få værdi«
Siden SULKA var teenager, har hiphoppen været hendes terapeutiske og kreative ven, der har givet hendes sorger værdi og banet vejen for at omsætte vrede til kreativitet. Mød en af landets mest spændende nye rap-debutanter, og hør om vejen frem til udgivelsen af debutalbummet Epoker.
B-Girl AnSo lærer andre unge at breake: »For mig er det et frirum at få lov at være fysisk«
Mød Annesofie, som bruger breakdance til at give slip på tankerne og lade kroppen følge de impulser, musikken giver. De kommende uger giver Annesofie glæden for break videre i sit virtuelle danserum for unge på læringsplatformen bloklabs.dk.
På Blocklabs blomstrer hiphopkulturen, mens nye fællesskaber slår rødder blandt udsatte unge
Der er lange udsigter til, at vi igen kan omgås socialt, som vi er vant til, og det får behovet for at skabe nye og kreative mødesteder i den digitale sfære til at stige. blocklabs.dk er stedet, hvor unge kan rykke på deres interesse for hiphopkultur og kreativ udfoldelse gennem læring, trygge aktiviteter og nærværende fællesskaber. Udover at blive den sejeste DJ i blokken og spytte rim i søvne opnår deltagerne ny viden og bygger relationer til andre unge på tværs af geografi og social baggrund.
Hip Hop Hub videreføres med støtte fra Nordea-fonden
Hip Hop Hub Vol 2. skal fortsætte med at styrke unges politiske selvværd og drive ung, kulturel skaberkraft i lokalmiljøerne landet over.
Rapolitics modtager stor donation fra Roskilde Festival til ny ungdomsfestival for hiphopkultur
Med en donation på 500.000 kroner fra Roskilde Festival i ryggen sadler vi op til at skabe Re:ACT – landets førende ungdomsfestival for hiphopkultur og kunstnerisk aktivisme.
Kunstner i Corona-tid: Freestyle-rapperen Pelles råd til at støtte dansk undergrundsrap
De mindre danske kunstnere er nogle af dem, der lige nu mærker de økonomiske konsekvenser af situationen omkring Coronavirusset og dens følgesygdom Covid-19. Hvordan mærker en dansk freestyle-rapper krisen, og hvad kan du gøre, hvis du gerne vil støtte kunsten hjemmefra? Læs med her.
RAPOLITICS og ARoS gør 1800-tals kunst cool med hiphop
ARoS Public inviterer hiphopkulturen indendørs i et samarbejde med RAPOLITICS, der engagerede unge i at debattere kulturarv gennem dans og rap. Med afsæt i ARoS’ aktuelle særudstilling ”Agnes Slott Møller – Helte og heltinder” benytter undervisere fra RAPOLITICS utraditionelle elementer fra hiphop som metode til få unge til reflektere over deres identitet og udtrykke deres holdninger.
Hiphop-gadefest for alle aldre i weekenden
Kom til gadefest og oplev hiphoppens fire elementer: Rap, breaking, DJ´ing og graffitti, når Frederiks Allé forvandles til et mekka af gadeaktiviteter til Hiphop Attack i weekenden.
Stranger: En forestilling for både fortællere og publikum
Fire Fortællere, fire rum, fire historier om at føle sig fremmet i et land, en krop, eller i et socialt fællesskab. Hvordan er det at få lov til at fortælle sin egen historie uden afbrydelser, spørgsmål eller mistro?
Unge fra hele landet skaber Danmarks første hiphopsamling
Dansk hiphop er en kulturskat fuld af brillante emner, der er vigtige og relevante at diskutere for unge i dag, og skaberne bør hyldes. Det mener en gruppe unge fra landets fem regioner, der har kurateret Danmarks første samling af hiphop-værker: RAPOLITICS Hiphopsamling.
Rap, rim og flow for piger i Haraldsgadekvarteret
Med et fornemt arbejdslegat fra Finn Nørgaard Foreningen glæder vi os til i efteråret at starte et rap og poesi værksted for piger i vores lokalområde omkring Haraldsgade og Rovsingsgade.
RAPOLITICS anno 2018
RAPOLITICS er en nonprofit organisation, der er baseret i Danmark. Organisationen arbejder med at fremme unges udfoldelsesmuligheder gennem et kreativt og konstruktivt fokus på urbane kunstneriske udtryksformer, raptivisme (rap + aktivisme), dialog og demokratisk bevidstgørelse i og uden for Danmark.
RAP:I:STAN får stor bevilling og udvider projektaktiviteterne
Med en bevilling på knap 900.000 kr. fra Udlændinge- og Integrationsministeriet udvider RAPOLITICS nu sit medborgerskabsprojekt RAP:I:STAN med helt nye komponenter. RAP:I:STAN er en platform, hvor unge med flygtningebaggrund kan engagere sig i RAPOLITICS’ kreative fællesskaber og projektarbejde med fokus på hiphop, undervisning, kunst og integration.
RAP:I:STAN – Rapolitics projekt, der udbyder workshops, læringsseminarer og nye fællesskaber
»Kender I det, når man går hjem med en følelse af, at man i dag har gjort en forskel.«
Denne sætning beskriver den oplevelse to fortællere og en rapcoach skabte sammen med en 8. klasse fra Nørre Fælled Skole under deres 3,5 time lange RAP:I:STAN-workshop.
I Danmark taler man for meget om flygtninge, og for lidt med flygtninge
De seneste år er mange unge flygtninge kommet til Danmark. På Kildeskolen i Valby kom to af dem på besøg i 9. klasse for at fortælle deres historie og skabe større forståelse for flygtninges situation. Med rim og rytmer fik rapperen Fabeldyret eleverne til at reflektere over historierne.
I Danmark taler man for meget om flygtninge, og for lidt med flygtninge
De seneste år er mange unge flygtninge kommet til Danmark. På Kildeskolen i Valby kom to af dem på besøg i 9. klasse for at fortælle deres historie og skabe større forståelse for flygtninges situation. Med rim og rytmer fik rapperen Fabeldyret eleverne til at reflektere over historierne.
Læring gennem hip hop på Danmarks første folkemøde for unge
Søndermarken på Frederiksberg blev i weekenden omdannet til et samfundslaboratorium. Elever fra Nærum Gymnasium mødtes sammen med 30.000 unge fra hele landet på tværs af uddannelser og sociale og geografiske skel for sammen at udforske, hvad demokratisk deltagelse kan være anno 2016.
RAPOLITICS: Facilitating International Partnerships and ‘Everyday Politics’
Zareen Thomas, a PhD Candidate in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Connecticut, USA, visited RAPOLITICS in Denmark for the whole month of June 2016. Here she unveils a bit about her reflections on our work.
Copenhagen: The Way into a Better Understanding of Refugee Issues
I have been a refugee all my life, I am Palestinian, I was a refugee in Syria, then in Lebanon and now in Denmark, but I am thankful to all the steps I had passed through, I am proud of being a refugee, said Dana, 16 years old.
Hamburg: Talents of The City Begin in the Suburbs
The room in the container city is hot as a sauna. Young people of all ages and colors sit around on the floor waiting for the show to start. They are sweaty and you can feel the energy in the air. Some bite nervously their nails, others are more relaxed chatting with friends. We have been invited to see the monthly show case of all the different hip hop courses conducted in the Hip Hop Academy in Billstedt, an eastern district of Hamburg, Germany.
Congolese asylum seekers dance the dead to life in a Chapel in Copenhagen
RAPOLITICS sent our communication volunteer Peter Thomsen to Hip Hop Games in Copenhagen. We supported Bob and Bantu from La Folie Crew with their participation in the Hip Hop Games event at Dansekapellet in Copenhagen (April 2016). Here is his short report with some great pictures.
Colombia: Agrarian Hip-Hop against Violence and Injustice
Since August 2015 I have been conducting a fieldwork for my master’s thesis in Anthropology in Medellín, Colombia. The initial idea was to investigate how youth in one of Medellin’s most turbulent neighborhoods, Comuna 13, use hip- hop to try to change their everyday lives for the better.
Jamming for a Sustainable Hip-Hop Future
RAPOLITICS and students from Vallekilde Folk High School were in October 2015 for the second time in Alexandria, Egypt, in order to boost Revolution Records’ studio! The trip is an example of a great hip-hop partnership between Egyptian raptivists, Danish high school students and RAPOLITICS. In this blog entry, Mia from RAPOLITICS give us an update on the studio.
A Hip-Hop Partnership between Denmark and Egypt
This is the story of a unique hip-hop partnership between Revolution Records in Alexandria and RAPOLITICS in Denmark. It all started back in 2012 and has now developed into a strong tie between raptivists in Egypt and students and youth in Denmark. The dream of the hip-hop revolution is very much alive!
Fall 2015: The Power of Hip-Hop
This Fall has yet again been a very busy time for RAPOLITICS. Read this blog to get some insider information about our activities and projects in Denmark, Bolivia and Egypt!
Egypt: Alyaa Uses Rap as a Weapon
Growing up as a young woman in a patriarchal society like Egypt is one thing. Speaking out loud, not giving a damn about norms and expectations, and rapping for women’s rights is another thing. Yet this is what 20 year-old Alyaa from Alexandria is doing.
Rap Against Violence in Mali
We sent Tina, one of our RAPOLITICS-coaches, to Mali to work on a DanChurchAid project that focused on youth and armed violence in December 2014.
Lost Boys Rapping for Peace and National Reconciliation
During the Fall 2014 RAPOLITICS had company of the two South Sudanese rappers Hot Dogg (Mijok Lang) and L.U.A.L (Lual D’Awol). During their stay they facilitated rap workshops at schools in most parts of Denmark in cooperation with the Youth Program from the Danish Center for Culture and Development.
Highlights from RAPOLITICS’ Hip-Hop Year 2014
We had a great year – and a very busy one. Here are some highlights!
Sharing a Hip-Hop Dream in Beirut
This is a travel journal from RAPOLITICS-coaches Emil and Pelle. It was made during their visit in Beirut in August 2014, where they were invited by GAME Lebanon to participate as rappers and coaches in the project entitled “Democracy Makers“.
Hip-hop is more than Beats and Rhymes…
We are at a conference on education in Billings, Montana, US. Represented in the room are students from three different indigenous schools from the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation, the Fort Peck Reservation, which is home to the Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes, and the Crow Indian Reservation.
Hip-Hop is Street Journalism in Senegal
Senegalese hip-hop is not about guns, bitches and drugs. It is the voice of activists against the system. But it is also about love for the country and its potentials, where everybody agrees that ’Africa is the Future’.
Egypt: Underground Revolution
The hip-hop and underground Egyptian movement began well before the revolution of 2011 to denounce the injustice of the Mubarak regime. This photo blog explores different aspects of youth culture in Egypt today.
Top 5: Summer of Raptivism
We at RAPOLITICS had a very busy summer. So here are five examples of pure raptivism – check them out!
Palestinian Artivism in the Streets of Copenhagen
Seven young Palestinian street artists visited Denmark in July 2014 in order to bring some artivism and decorate a series of murals and tunnels with Danish graffiti artists.
Hip-Hop Generates Hope in the Ghetto of Dakar
The poverty, unemployment and crime rate is huge in the ghetto area Pikine outside the Senegalese capital Dakar. Once, hanging in the street corner, was the only thing to do. But since 2006 street-art schools have allotted alternatives which have produced dreams about a better life as a hip-hop artist. And dreams generate hope.
He both lives and works in Pikine, and when we are walking through the local market he shows me all the shoes and handbags made at the workshop where he works. Over the last eight years Balvada has been a fixed part of the community around Africulturban. In 2012 the center initiated the project carré d’as (ace card) to promote four young rappers, and they invited Balvada as one of them. Doing the project the four rappers made an EP and went on a tour, and since then Balvada has been a famous name in most of Senegal.
With more than 1,500 likes at his Facebook page and several videos on YouTube, he is one of the young artists with success. He is working with the Senegalese rapper Gaston, that lives in France, with whom he went on tour earlier this summer and he is present on the album W.A.R (We Are Rap), a tribute to the hip-hop from Dakar, which was released late June 2014. I experienced Balvada’s talent when I saw him on stage during the hiphop festival Festa2H. The Festival is led by Africulturban and takes place every year in Dakar. The crowd was one hooting jumping mass when Balvada spit his rap as was his words the recoils of a machine gun.
But the real force Balvada has in his power is that he can rap in the old way of wolof (the national language) which is loaded with metaphors and only a few masters. That said, the biggest barrier for him to get famous outside Senegal and West Africa is the language.
”My dream is to practices my language skills and learn to rap in English, so I can get my music to Europe and the rest of the world” tells Balvada. He hopes that he one day can use his music to achieve social changes in the society he comes from:
My biggest dream is to come to London and get an education in music production, so I can make music for my own and for others, and then use the profit to make better life for the children in Pikine and Senegal. Cause life in Senegal is not easy and it is difficult to make a future here. I hope, that I one day can help the children here to get better life, so they can make a better future for themselves and for Senegal.
From ex-con to wordsmith
Africulturban is making social work in collaboration with the prison in Dakar. In the project Youth Urban Media Academy (Y.U.M.A) the center provides language courses and street-art lessons for the young inmates and after the release, they invite them to continue the classes at the center in Pikine. Ame Kana whom now is a regular at Africulturban was once part of Y.U.M.A. His parents kicked him out of their home because they did not want to accept his fascination of the hip-hop culture and he ended up in prison after some years living on the streets.
”Once, when I came home from a hip hop concert my parents had locked the door and they would not let me in” says the 26 years old freestyle rapper and dancer, and continues:
Because my parents thought that the hip hop environment was unethical and a clean road to a drug abuse, they would not accept my engagement in the culture
Until then, Ame Kana had never drinked alcohol or used any drugs. But not so long after his parents kicked him out, he was both addicted to alcohol and marijuana.
”When my parents kicked me out of the house, I had nowhere to go. I began to live on the street and soon did I drink alcohol and smoke marihuana every day,” utters Ame Kana honestly. After some years living on the street Ame Kana was caught by the police in possession of marihuana. The verdict was six month in prison. There he took part of Y.U.M.A which was his way out of the life on the streets, and the return to his old life.
It was a friend who made me participate in Y.U.M.A and beside the support in my rap and dance I began to take lessons in French and English. And I continued after my release.
Today Ame Kana lives in Pikine and he is reconciled with his parents who now can see that he is out of his drug abuse and that the hiphop is good for him. That is why he tells me that he is greatfull to Africulturban: “I am Africulturban greatfull. They helped me get my life and my family back.”
While I’m still in Senegal, he participates in a freestyle contest at Festa2H. It is clear for me, that he got a great flow even though I do not understand wolof, and by the reaction of the crowd I know he has done well. But unfortunately he endst as number two in the contest.
There is something in his eyes that reminds me of his tough past, but he has got a warm happiness and a nearly childish enthusiasm and bright belief in the future and I will keep my fingers crossed that he will win his next competition.
Cover photo: Ina N. F. Thiam
Author: Mona Munck-Lindblom. Mona traveled to Senegal in the beginning of june 2014 to attend to the international hiphop and urban culture festival Festa2H in Dakar. During her trip Mona got a inside view of the Senegalese hip-hop environment which is known for its political activism and its social work in the ghetto. Mona is cand. mag in Literature and Culture Encounters and she is a cultural writer at U-landsnyt.dk.
Transforming Egypt through Hip-Hop
Something changed in the hip-hop scene in Egypt the last couple of years. And something changed in the hip-hoppers as well. Egypt has been in a chaotic state since the so-called Arab Spring, and the youth of Egypt have in general had to face a lot of new things and change their way of thinking.
In a South Sudan State of Mind
This is the first blog post in a series related to the upcoming project ‘Oyee! Give Peace a Chance’ – a project that focuses on the world’s youngest nation and how raptivists there use rap as a way to promote peace and reconciliation.
Hip-Hop Diary from Alexandria
RAPOLITICS has teamed up with Revolution Records from Egypt in order to boost the hip-hop scene in Alexandria by establishing a recording studio and a creative place for all raptivists and hip-hop youth.
Gaza: Graffiti Messages from the Heart
The guide books warn about going here. The Foreign Offices tells us that there is a high threat of terrorism. Don’t visit any part of the territory!, they say. And if you do, there is no ‘our man’ there to help you out.
Rap is Invading the Egyptian Radio Waves
In the beginning of 2014, another important page was written for hip-hop music in the region when the first radio station entirely for Arab hip-hop music was launched.
I Rap to Break the Silence Inside Me
Meet Yukka. A 22 year old female rapper, self announced feminist and former law student from Egypt who’s been rapping about women’s rights, equality and the Egyptian revolution since 2011. Interesting, right?
Her parents reject her rap career and deny speaking with her. As she explains, it’s impossible to get a boyfriend as a female rapper. Recently she’s been blacklisted from some concert venues in Egypt because of her revolutionary rap against the upper structural forces in the country. She’s expecting to be investigated by the national security force in the nearest future, something she fears, as they informally are known to have raped, tortured and undermined women during the revolution, she tells. Now this November, RAPOLITICS is running a project highlighting Yukkas personal story.
From Diary to Rap Lyrics
RAPOLITICS met Yukka for the first time during Spring 2013 as part of the BOOST project in Alexandria. Quickly she managed to impress us with her charismatic and strong personality and story. In September, she participated in another RAPOLITICS-project with 35 raptivists from the Middle East, North Africa and Denmark. Through her artistic expression she manifested herself as being a strong-willed and ambitious young rapper carrying heavy loads in her heart.
She started writing down her thoughts in a diary when she was ten years old. A bit further down the road she realized how writing in rhyme and rhythms seemed more natural to her. From a young age the themes of Yukka’s writing expressed her thoughts of feeling oppressed in her own home as well as by the system and society surrounding her.
In her teenage years her diary rhymes developed and turned into actual rap lyrics. When asked about her reason to rap, she says:
I rap to break the silence inside me. It wasn’t enough just to write my thoughts down for myself. I needed to break the silence for many girls just like me. I wanted to inspire them to speak out loud, do whatever they want to do, and not care about what people think about it.
Head Held High
In 2011, Yukka started focusing on the revolution taking place in Egypt. This subject goes hand in hand with her educational profil, as she studied law to be able to increase possibilities of general structural equality and freedom of expression in Egypt.
Her texts primary are about what she considers the degrading and politically unacceptable behavior exercised by the Muslim Brotherhood. But they also address how the police and military is worsening the situation with their actions, resulting in blood baths. Being a female rapper in Egypt, Yukkas has taken a remarkable decision to face the world with her head held high and she immediately stands out as a unique example of a strong outspoken woman in the society she comes from in Alexandria. Yukka’s story strongly reflects the many political issues and cultural clashes Egypt is facing.
Yukka in Denmark
As part of the RAPOLITICS-project simply entitled Yukka funded by CISU, a photo exhibition will take place in Copenhagen the 21th of November 2013. Yukka herself is going to be at the opening to tell her story and answer questions from visitors. And of course Yukka is here to perform as well. She will be recording a collab-track with three Danish female rappers, and together they will perform the 23th of November at café Zorro.
About the blogger: Katinka is a communications volunteer at RAPOLITICS. She holds a Bachelor Degree in International Development Studies and is at the moment taking a Master’s Degree in Communication from Aalborg University Copenhagen.
RapLab: A Revolutionary Hip-Hop Training Camp
What do 35 rappers from Denmark, Lebanon, Egypt and Palestine have in common? They all want to change the world through their music. Therefore, RAPOLITICS invited them to participate in the RapLab MENA-DK project where the goal was to create a musical manifest for the future and to exchange knowledge on cultural issues and raptivism during an intense nine day training camp.
Tina Mweni heard about RapLab at a RAPOLITICS-meeting where one of her co-rappers asked her to join, and the project immediately appealed to Tina due to its revolutionary nature.
”I see RapLab as a revolutionary project. Hip-hop has the ability to connect people despite their nationalities and religious beliefs”, says Tina Mweni. To the question as to why she considers RapLab to be revolutionary, Tina explains:
”It is quite unique to be part of a project where so many rappers from different nationalities are able to meet up in a single place despite certain hurdles along the way. Some of the rappers come from places where it is battle to get out of the country due to statuary obsticles , while others live in countries where their lyrics are banned”.
Hip Hop brings people together
Palestinian rapper Rami knows all about the hardship of being from a country with a limited right to move around freely. He grew up in Palestine – a country that has been occupied by the Israelis since the sixties. He participated in RapLab in the hope that he would meet new people who could challenge his perspective on life. He also believes that hip-hop can be used as a tool to bring about social change.
”Hip-hop has a way of bringing people together by being universal. At the same time, hip hop is a great instrument to motivate people”, explains Rami who also hopes to motivate people with his music:
”I rap about my life, the society, the fucked up politics, my dreams and the dreams of those around me. I can never be the voice of those who are voiceless. No one can. But I can always motivate them to speak and to agree or disagree with what I am saying.”
Being born and raised in an occupied country, Rami has already experienced a lot of hardship that made him become more socially conscious as a rapper:
”I was born in Jenin where I lived a messed up childhood like most of the Palestinian children. Mine was extra hard due to the fact that my parents got divorced while I was an infant. And being raised by a single mother in an Arab country is a hell of a life”, says Rami and continues:
”It was one of my motivations to speak about pain and anger, about how lonely we all could be even though we are surrounded by people. I still live a fucked up life, but I am enjoying every bit of it”.
When asked about whether or not RapLab met his expectations, Rami states:
”Somehow it did, but it’s still early to tell. Nonetheless, I truly enjoyed the experience. One of the main things I’ve learned was the ability to converse with intellectual minds that I’ve met through the programme and to share my knowledge with them – and vise versa, of course”’.
About the blogger: Emilie is a communications volunteer at RAPOLITICS. She holds a master’s degree in Danish and Film and Media Studies from University of Copenhagen.
The voice of Egyptian raptivists cannot be silenced
From the outside it looks like any other dusty brown building in Egypt. But when you get closer you see paint on the wall outside the building announcing that something interesting is happening on the second floor. If you dare to enter and climb the old rusty staircase you will find a hidden treasure.
The center will be a base for the Alexandrian hip hop scene – a place where everybody interested in hip hop can meet and exchange ideas and create music and art together. Only a few days after the grand opening, the center has already attracted a great number of youth. We visited the center a random Monday evening and it was full. There were at least 30 young people involved in activities and conversations. Not even power cuts – a great problem in Egypt these days – stopped them from doing what they came for. They beatboxed instead using the power of their tongue and had electrifying cyphers accompanied by unplugged instruments, we even heard a harmonica at a certain point. Politics in Egypt cannot stop the youth, it cannot stop the raptivists!
Two days after the opening, Revolution Records already had the first track ready – recorded, mixed and mastered in their own new studio. In a few days, workshops will start up for those interested in both rap and graffiti. And soon the first hip hop workshops at schools in Alexandria ever will be started up. The past couple of months everybody has been working tirelessly on making the place ready for the opening: isolating, rebuilding, painting, cleaning up and practically living in the studio to be able to work as many hours as possible. Now it’s time for Revolution Records to put away the tools and paint and get back to what they really want to do.
Revolutionaries by heart
Revolution Records started out as the first underground hip hop label in Egypt in 2006 consisting of nine young men. Today, Revolution Records mainly consists of the rappers Ahmed Rock, Rooney, C-Zar and TeMraz, but around them are a lot of friends, fans and supporters all helping out. They are not just talented rappers, they see themselves as revolutionaries. Not only because they took part in the revolution in Egypt, and shared their revolutionary songs at the Tahrir Square with thousands of people. But also because they are taking up the fight to live the kind of life they wish too, they insist in pursuing their goals and dreams despite the obstacles and challenges they face from conservative and religious powers in Egypt. They insist in being raptivists. Text from the song ‘Kalam Shaware3’ (Street language):
Raised and coming up from the street school – the revolution is coming from my heart. We all need a revolution and we are the music revolution.
Revolution runs in the veins of Revolution Records and they want to contribute to revolutionizing Egypt by expressing their opinions and giving a voice to the protesters on the streets. Also, they want to address the importance of creating a functioning hip-hop scene in Alexandria where young people can find the needed space and support to be creative. They told NY Times 17.05.2012:
We think that Egypt wants a revolution, not only a political revolution but an everything revolution: revolution for the way of thinking, revolution for our life style and the old bad traditions.
Revolution Records not only participated in the 2011-revolution in Egypt, they predicted the revolution with their track ‘Wa2t el Thawrageya’ (Revolutionary time) from December 2010:
They say that the revolution in the people’s hearts has died / but I see it growing. I see anger inside a silent people / inside the hearts of a whole generation that’s standing in place, stuck.
Social and political roots
With songs like this, Revolution Records has been in the very front of the Egyptian hip hop scene, as revolutionaries, as artists, as raptivists. Since the hip hop scene started blossoming in the aftermath of the revolution, a lot of other rap groups have followed their lead. Revolution Records has – with their honest and authentic style – been true to what they believe in and what they believe to be good hip hop.
What appeals us about rap are the social and political roots. Not the commercial hip-hop which is so popular today”, Ahmed Rock said to the Danish newspaper Politiken 6.10.2012
Another young rapper who has stepped into the Alexandrian hip hop scene is the young female rapper Yukka. She started rapping in 2010 inspired by other young rappers like Revolution Records. Today, she is also part of the crew behind the new center and very much engaged with RAPOLITICS. She is coming to Denmark later this year to participate in a RAPOLITICS-project about female artists in Egypt and about how it is to be a female in the Middle East. She recently finished this track together with a handful of other Egyptian rappers.
The whole crew around Revolution Records has been working non-stop the last 4 days to finish their newest track ‘May3rafsh Skoot’ (My voice couldn’t be silent). The track, which is done together with the group Wasla, is their comment on what is happening these days in Egypt, with the manifestations against President Morsi after a chaothic year on power. Therefore, it was particularly important for them to finish it just now before they themselves went to the streets. With the new track they also released a new music video.
Yukka, Revolution Records and the upcoming rappers in Alexandria are showing the world the power of hip hop to transform mindsets, to connect people, and to challenge the status-quo. The opening of the center is the first step in an exciting journey, which will culminate with a hip-hop festival in Alexandria in January 2014, where RAPOLITICS also will be represented. But it will not end there. With the opening of the new center, youth in Alexandria has gained a valuable platform for self-expression, artistic creation and learning.
Kiki Hynding Hansen is a member of the RAPOLITICS’ board. She was involved in RAPOLITICS-projects in Bolivia and Denmark, and has studied the rap scene in Vietnam. She is currently responsible for the partnership project with Revolution Records funded by the Danish Center for Culture and Development. email@example.com
Syria: Refugees Rapping for Social Change
The Syrian population are living in a war zone for more than two years, 80.000 people have already lost their lives – more than half of them civilians. According to the U.N., more than 4 million Syrians have fled their homes and have escaped Syria to live a life as refugees on the run.
Politics, Raptivism & Palestinian Unit
Palestinian Units two months in Denmark were filled with politics and raptivism. Ayman and Khaled from Gaza travelled around the country to 17 cities where they engaged with 3.000+ youth spread over 46 events. Quite impressive pace, right?
Wrapping the Rap in Gaza
Back in 2011 Khaled was working on a mixtape containing 23 minutes of ‘pure political shit’ with a great number of underground rappers in the Middle East. When Khaled’s contribution to the mixtape was ready, the studio refused to let Khaled record it.
A Month with Palestinian Unit from Gaza
Ayman and Khaled from Palestinian Unit (Gaza) have been here in Denmark for one month and…
Rap in the Veins
The 14th of January 2009 four Israeli missiles stroke the place where Ayman lived with his family in Gaza. Ayman was in his room and did not get injured, but the attack killed his father and left his brother seriously wounded. Two days after the attack, on Ayman’s birthday, his father was buried.
Political rap: “I rap about the things I believe I can change”
She had this happy, playful little smile, red curly hair and earrings in rasta colours. I met Safaa at a RAPOLITICS workshop in Copenhagen in early September related to the project Tomorrow Today. Her lightness both contrasts and confirms her personality as a Palestinian female rapper who acts politically in her own way.
Palestinian Female Rapper back in Denmark
Safeya Hathot aka Safaa 3arapeye was born and raised in Palestine. Safaa began to rap as a 15-year-old. She couldn’t get her parents’ permission to hang out with the other rappers because they all were boys, but luckily she found another girl to rap with. Since then, she has enjoyed the full support of her parents, who like many in Palestine have discovered Safaa’s talent for rhythm and poetry.
Tiny Hip Hop Enthusiasts in Cambodian Suburbs
By first glance KK and Shhort seems, with their gang tattoos, mostly like somebody you would prefer not meeting in a dark alley alone. Nevertheless they are two very ambitious guys with a lot of passion for what they do. When I first visited Tiny Toones, I immediately fell in love with the place.
Shootings in Sierrra Leone!
This year Sierra Leone launched its first international film festival. I was in Freetown to participate in the festival and meet two young filmmakers from the Media Center WeOwnTv that are invited to facilitate pocket film workshops in Denmark later this year.
First West African Action Film
The action film State Crime is another example of showing Sierra Leonean history in a new way. The film is not just Sierra Leone’s, but West Africa’s first action film. The 3 hour long film introduces us to a real story about a soldier and puts light on a dilemma that according to Lansana never has been told in public before in such way – even if it is a very classic problem. During the civil war situations where soldiers officially served the government during the day, but unofficially fought for the rebels in the night were very common. The word sobel (a contraction of soldier and rebel) describes this bifurcated sympathy.
Even if State Crime is very long and the special effects are of poor quality, we are left full of respect for the work the filmmakers have done. It is necessary to take the conditions into consideration. First, the resources are very few. Second, it is the first action film in West Africa, which means that it also plays a role as a predecessor of its kind. The film crew has done a great work finding costumes and facilities – something we didn’t consider, when we saw the film. But lenting army costumes from the military is an extraordinary achievement. State Crime won the most prestigious award: The Salone Star 2012. The award included 10 million SLL for the next film project.
With our new insight in the challenges that the filmmakers have to deal with, our approach to the festival became more humble and respectful. The fact that the films and the whole film festival has succeeded at all is impressive. As the festival coordinator Layna Fisher says “Just to get a scissor can take two days”.
When we got to the peak of the festival: the award show that celebrates the end of the festival, but also manifests the beginning of a film industry in Sierra Leone, it is with a deep respect for the hard work of the involved who had to fight with failing electricity, bad sound systems and too many challenges, that we take our seats in the cinema and start following the award show.
Prominent personalities from the industry of culture and entertainment speak and express a renewed hope for film production in Sierra Leone. A hope they had given up. And it is difficult not to be excited about the young filmmakers dedication and willpower. There is a new energy; a group of young people that deeply wish to take part in developing and creating films in Sierra Leone for Sierra Leone, but also for an international audience. As it has been said under the award show, the young directors also have to direct their productions to an international audience, if they have any dream of living of being a filmmaker.
We leave the cinema with a feeling of having seen something that is about to begin. Or at least has the potential to be a beginning. We have great respect for the people behind WeOwnTv and Sierra Leone International Film Festival and look forward to welcoming Lansana and Arthur in Denmark in the beginning of October.
Rapping the Truth in Vietnam
Hip-hop has historically been known as the voice of the oppressed and as a revolutionary tool. So, how is hip-hop thriving in a country where so much is done to keep the voice of the people oppressed and the chance of a possible revolution down?
Where is the Rap Revolution in Jordan?
Try to google “Arab Spring and revolutionary rap” and you will notice two things.
Krump & Hipco: Youth Expressions in Liberia
Laura Lindegaard was in Liberia for RAPOLITICS. Read her blog about krump, hipco and Liberia’s youth.
Competition: Help us find a cool name for our blog!
We need a cool name for our blog! A name that represents our vision and that is appealing and fun. Submit your suggestion before April 15th and take part in the competition for a mobile recording device from Apple, a Casio G-Schock watch or a pair of sneakers from Reebok!