So, this past weekend, while some of the best bboys in the world went head to head in Holland, I was in the small city of Vorarlberg, in Austria. A place surrounded by vast green mountains, where everyone says 'hello' (hallo) to one another, where the water from the tap is so pure there is no need for bottled still water, and organic isn't a section needed in the supermarket because it is the very food that you eat. It's also where the Prodigy crew 11th Anniversary went down, and once again I learned how alive Hip Hop is!
I felt it when I walk into the Prodigy crew dance school for the first time. Welcomed by the sound of music playing as a class was being taught on one floor. And then going up to the next floor and being welcomed by the smell of spray paint, and saying 'what's up?' to the graffiti writers who were about to begin the first lines of the new pieces that would decorate the already graffiti decorated school walls. I knew then that Hip Hop was fully alive in this place, and I was energized.
Hip Hop was alive in the conversation that went down about how all the skills, mindset and determination you learn through this culture can also push you to achieve great things in other areas of your life, if you look and really see the strong spiritual and mental place this culture can actually put you in.
Hip Hop was alive in the rap exchange that went down in the flat of one of the bboys, all of us brought together by hip hop enterpriser, bboy and true spirit, Domingo Geronimo Mattle. UK, Austria and America joined minds and vibed off the hip hop, reggae, grime and other beats playing from the computer, going from freestyle rhymes to passing the vibe to one another in a story circle of rap. I haven't rhymed since the days I used to spit for fun with my friends in school but in that room, and with that energy, I went from listening to exchanging, not thinking, just letting my mind go and the words flow, no matter what came out. To my knowledge cyphers began with Rap before Breaking, and this is where you truly see and feel the essence of a cypher exchange. Everyone causes a vibration in the circle which ripples and brings about an energy that is pure creation and create we did, resulting in us all going crazy over the very last story freestyle from America Rapper Juliaz Cezer (yes, that is his name), as we all knew we just heard a future classic track spring from his mind and out through his words. All I can say is 'get your tap shoes on and be ready.' In the words of Cezer, 'God was looking down at us at that moment, smiling like, YOOO, I created them!' Suddenly I want to rap again. Luckily I'm a poet and never lost that passion for putting words together with Rhythm and Flow. Bboys could learn a lot from Rap cyphers
Hip Hop was alive in a room not as packed as the big venues and stadiums used nowadays for battles, but when the MC said 'make some noise' it was just as loud! The crowd never failed to show that they loved and enjoyed seeing the bboys and bgirls go head to head on the floor.
Hip Hop was alive in the Dj's truly feeding the battle! Not once did I not want to go out, and I actually started one battle by genuinely asking my opponent, 'damn, you don't want to start to this beat?' :D
Hip hop was alive in the culture of the music from DJ WhiteO, from Israel, dropping Israeli beats that were fire, and Bboy Polly Rock proudly telling me that 'this is an Israeli beat.'
Hip Hop was alive when bboys picked up the mics and ended the jam by spitting more freestyle rhymes, in Hebrew, English, German and Russian.
Hip Hop was alive when I got to judge the smaller battles on day two and watch the Prodigy dance school students do their thing. I saw how Prodigy were keeping Hip Hop alive by passing it onto their students and building the future.
Hip Hop was alive at the after party, at the Prodigy crew dance school. Chilling and drinking with cakes, surrounded by graffiti and the awards, pictures and articles about the crew and dance school, which hang from the walls.
Hip Hop stayed alive when the police showed up! It's not a party until the police come to tell you that they got a call about the noise. But Hip Hop lived because no one freaked out, everyone simply spoke with the cops peacefully, and then they left and the party continued to, 'Whoop! Whoop! It's the sound of the police!'
Hip Hop was alive in a connection and a late night, spontaneous adventure to a high point overlooking the lake.
Hip Hop was alive in being welcomed into someone else's home, eating, chilling, talking and joking with their family, and being treated not like a visitor but like another family member. Truly felt nothing but love, Ramona Peters.
Hip Hop WAS FULLY ALIVE AND BREATHING at the Prodigy crew 11th Anniversary. So glad I got to go. Inspired, changed and humbled by the experience. Much Love to Funky Mike and the rest of Prodigy crew for bringing me out and taking care of me. And much love to everyone I met out there. Exchanging, sharing, making connections and catching that vibe is what life is all about.