Updated: May 5
What if I told you a story that in its essence sounded like a myth?
That years ago, trapped and walled in by the very powers that promised them a new life, a group of people formed into tribes and went to war with each other over the merger patches of land that they were left with.
Painting their bodies and draping their themselves in colours, they let the Savage sides of themselves loose, and ran wild in their ghetto, concrete jungle. Skulls were smashed by Spades, Brothers warred against Nomads, and everyday more young wannabe warriors were initiated into the tribes of gangs, having to survive Apache lines and tests of their fighting spirit, to prove themselves worthy of colours.
Every night fire and smoke rose from those lands, letting those that lived faraway in comfort and safety know that, 'chaos rules in this place, and if you dare to trespass it shall consume you.'
But then from that Chaos came Creation. It took death to inspire life, an unfortunate sacrifice of someone coming in peace, to bring calm to the raging storm.
And when that calm settled, when blood was not met with blood but instead with the exchange of words, the airing of grievances, and the elevating of perspectives, those that once embraced chaos looked around at the broken pieces of the home they all lived in, and began to build something from nothing.
They found release in music and began to dance!
They danced to set their spirits free.
They dance to tame the savage beast that once controlled them.
They danced to find a way to settle grievances that went beyond fists, chains and knives.
They danced because the music spoke to those parts of them that were broken, and allowed them to let those parts go and find power in letting their bodies break, because to break was to be free.
They became artistic bandits of the night. Rebellious messengers who snuck into train yards and climbed up to high points looking out over the whole land. And in those places they would spray their art, and messages, in vivid, colourful lines of graphic paint.
They bombed the land with the art of their people, letting everyone know that, 'we still exist, we did not kill each other like you wanted us to! We live, we breathe and you shall know our names.'
They gathered in parks and on street corners, forming circles known as cyphers. And in those cyphers they channelled the rumbling tension that filled their bellies like butterflies, and spat out words in verses that were alive with metaphors. They told their stories of struggle to the rhythm of those who learned to transform their voices into boxes of beats, in a spontaneous, explosion of verbal, rhyming rhetoric that hit like metal bars.
They were drawn to blocks in the day, and in the evenings, when the sun went down, they gathered in underground rooms, both times drawn like moths to the powerful, musical, vibrations spun by the legendary figures known as the DJs.
These individuals needed no words to gain followers to their cause, and made no promises of a better life. But through the power of their sounds systems, and the nimble skills of their fingers, they helped to drown out the pressures of living in a concrete jungle. They scratched away peoples worries and gave them mixtures of Rhythms and Beats that made everyone feel free in that moment... free to dance, free to rhythm, free to just be free.
The struggle of the tribal gangs became the foundation of a creative essence and vibe that soon began to seep out into the rest of the world, until, like a spark in a room full of gas, it exploded and spread like fire.
The vibe these tribes created spoke to those who knew the language of struggle. It spoke to the fire that burned within so many others, who were also trying to build something from the ruins and scraps of their merge surroundings. And as it spoke its voice grew, and others learned it language and took on its cause, and became filled with its energy. The culture it created spread far and wide, across oceans, over mountains, through jungles and language barriers.
These tribes never intended, or imagined that their story would inspire so many to join their ranks. They were simply trying to survive through expression, in a place where hope had to be self created. But spread their story and vibe did, until suddenly everyone knew their tale, and HIP HOP became more than a myth.
And the tribes that were once so divided became the inspiration for one big worldwide tribe of people, who now come together in gatherings all over the world, to celebrate the culture and vibe that connects them, known as HIP HOP.
Bboy Manny (Soul Mavericks Crew)