et hop! hick hop

Hick Hop

If you grow up in a town where they don’t have subway trains you have to find something else to graffiti.

It’s not as easy as it sounds because most subway train drivers don’t wander around with shotguns.” (banksy)

hickhop.jpg

in europe, information about rap-music / hip hop was not easy to get. what you heard was the commercially successfull stuff. if you were lucky, you catched one of the early crews touring europe. or you had a friend coming back from the states bringing back some music and telling you about this new thing. but there was no internet, and the (music) press was somehow reluctant to pick that style up – or unsure about how to cover it.

wildstyle.jpg

as i mentioned, the first to put hip hop in a social context, to promote it as a specific culture was for me the zulu nation. but it is interesting to note that there was something, that by most first generation hip hoper’s always gets referenced as a kind of “initiation” to hip hop culture, establishing also the four pillars of hip hop culture: breakdancing, rapping, graffiti, scratching. the “thing” was the movie wild style.

i’ve seen the movie somewhat later and was not that impressed at the time – but that is already a very long time ago and i haven’t seen it since. but now is a good occassion to re-visit that movie again: the 25 years special edition has just been published. so for anybody interested in one of the important cultural artefacts to promote hip hop-culture worldwide this is certainly of interest.

for more information visit the official homepage.

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fast forward to 2001:

“The hero of Wave Twisters the Movie is the Inner Space Dental Commander, a cross between Luke Skywalker, David Carradine, and the family dentist, who must fulfill his destiny by reviving the “Lost Arts” (i.e., the four pillars of hip-hop culture: breaking and MC’ing, rapping, graffiti, and, most importantly, skratching). To do so, he and his posse (the mischievous medical droid, Rubbish, his lovely assistant and comrade-at-arms, Honey, and B-Boy Grandpa, the last surviving link to a bygone era when the Arts flourished) battle their way through an increasingly surreal collection of villains, pitfalls, and booby-traps. Among the villains are an elite corps of turntable warriors, played by key members of the Invisible Skratch Piklz: QBert, Yogafrog, and D-Styles plus DJ Flare. Their electrifying performances blaze a path of destruction which stands between the Dental Commander and his final showdown with Lord Ook, the evil mastermind behind the plot to suppress and control the Lost Arts throughout “inner space”.”

contrary to wild style, the movie wave twisters blew me away. music and image are intertwined in the most intricate ways and the whole thing is utterly mad – in a very good way. or as the official blurb says:

“Wave Twisters The Movie (WTM) is an eye-popping, hip-hop-meets-Hanna-Barbera, animated adventure synched skratch for skratch with DJ QBert’s turntable masterpiece of the same name. Each track of QBert’s original album was designed to provide the audio framework for another chapter in this sci-fi/kung-fu epic; every aspect of the story, music, sound effects even dialogue has been accounted for and seamlessly integrated into QBert’s original musical compositions.
WTM gives visual expression to QBert’s narrative while pioneering the concept of visual skratching; sampling from a wide variety of techniques (from traditional cell animation to 3D to live action to photo collage), WTM defines a unique visual style analogous to the supercharged cutting and skratching of a turntable DJ. WTM catapults the bar on the correspondence between sound and image, taking the Fantasia concept to the next, dizzying level. When the music says, “Jump!” the animation asks, “How high?”

well, nothing more i can add, especially since in this case seeing is believing. therefore i highly recommend you see for yourself.

the official page for the movie does not exist anymore, but you can visit dj qbert’s homepage.

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