Sunday, August 24, 2008

Hip Hop You Don't Stop

The fact that I haven’t had a spare second to write (let alone sleep) is a sheer indication of the madness that has ensued since leaving France. Hip Hop, you don’t stop. After a lengthy foot tour de force of Berlin, with a rest stop to cypher with some kids and sell some product, we ended the night with a doner kebab and a mostly decent night’s sleep at the Hotel Karibum. Truthfully, Berlin was looking a bit glum and quite expensive after 1 day.

Day 2 in Berlin proved much more fruitful, enjoyable, and entertaining. We roamed the museum district early on, which is nearly all under construction. Then we caught up on our newly developed tradition of working in the internet café while draining Berliner Pilsners. We had been planning on checking out Beatevolution at Club Cassiopeia, and Far also caught wind of a Yarah Bravo “UNITY” show the same night. After logging some mileage, we managed to make the rounds and hit both shows. Cassiopeia was slow goings, as it was early, but what an amazing space. A graffiti playground, skatepark, two stages and an outdoor café. Bam. Hopefully we’ll make it back to Berlin this week to catch Baba & Yako rip it there.

The treat of the night was found at Bohannon, a live music club with a sick sound system in Alexanderplatz. The “UNITY” Tour is an all-female road show of international superstars, curated by Yarah Bravo. In Berlin, we got to check Marya from Italy, Stacy Epps from ATL, Miss Flint, Shania D and a slew of other amazing women. Then it opened up into a jam session, and Far and I got the chance to rock it alongside this amazing collective. A magical moment of coincidences and connections falling into place to result in a sweet night.

The following morning, we bought tickets for our 10:46am train to Prague at… 10:48am. So we caught the 12:46pm train to Prague, which is a beautiful ride through mountainous German countryside, past Dresden on the way. Upon arriving in Prague, we were tossed right into the mix at Pantheon with Dowis, where there was a graffiti installation opening Thursday night. We were able to chill, get acquainted with the newly minted “Pantheon” (formerly “Sabotage”) and ease into Praha. The rest of the Beat Apetit crew was already out at Hip Hop Kemp setting up shop…

On Friday, we slept in and had to rush to make a radio show appearance at Radio Spin 98.2 with Dowis and the big homey Alesh One. Had to get the promo in before the show at Pantheon that night with the Brooklyn posse. Baba & Yako arrived in the afternoon, and we all convened at Pantheon for the show. Very dope night, great crowd, ill sets from everyone and a lovely spin on the turns by DJ Kevlar.

So Saturday. We packed up again and headed out to Hip Hop Kemp, courtesy of Kuzellski. Now, Kemp is the second biggest Hip Hop festival in Europe, something around 20,000 people. It is held at an old Air Force base, with stages in hangars and people camping everywhere (“Kemp” = “Camp”). Based on those few facts, we were entirely unprepared for the scene upon rolling up. It is literally a Hip Hop playground. Music everywhere, breakdance battles, beatbox battles, 3 sick side stages, a huge mainstage, and incredible heartfelt Hip Hop energy and love oozing from every country in Europe. The crowd represents so many nations, and the performers do the same. Pretty unbelievable to have to travel to the middle of the Czech Republic to have to find an event of this magnitude and caliber, but, wow.

The Beat Apetit crew is holding down the Beatburger Health Food tent, with mad cyphers in the mix. The whole set is in effect: Jaro, Nasty, En.dru, Kuzell, Alesh, Ivanhoe, Johnny Typek… Deep. Over the course of yesterday, we rocked 3 different stages for about 3000 different heads, popping up on guest spots and beatbox cameos. Also got to check some very dope shows: Akrobatik and Mr. Lif, The Navigators on the main stage, and another slamming series of sets at the UNITY stage: Stacy Epps, Invincible, Eternia, DJ Shortee, DJ Sarah Love and Yarah Bravo. Simply bananas. As Farbeon keeps saying, if you want to see the avant garde in Hip Hop, you need to check these ladies for real. Big ups to Eternia for hooking us up with the mic at the UNITY stage, and maximum respect to Yarah Bravo for seeing her vision realized. Inspiron!

Well, this is merely my attempt to chronologically organize the insanity of the past 4 days (4 days, 5 days?). Today we will be holding down the Beatburger stage, catch the UNITY ladies on the main stage, check The Roots, and then rock the last sets of the whole festival over at the Vestax Hangar at midnight. Then Farbeon and I head directly to the airport in Prague to catch a 6am flight to Amsterdam! Not quite sure how this is all going to work out, but the power of Hip Hop and the strength of brother and sisterhood is getting us through everything.

Kemp Kemp and more Kemp,

Rebbe D

Definitely gonna have some time to edit all this incredible video footage in Amsterdam, so stay tuned for the Video Journal, Part II. And probably III with all the crazy HHK footage!

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