I've travelled to many places in the years that I have been a part of Hip Hop culture as a bboy, and one of the things that has humbled and surprised me the most is finding Hip Hop living and breathing to the fullest in small towns and cities that are mostly green mountains and nature. I experienced this in the small town of Banska Bystrica in Slovakia, when I ventured out there for the very first Outbreak Europe, about 6 years ago. I experienced it fully again this year when I found Hip Hop flowing and vibing in the small city of Vorarlberg, in Austria, when I went out there for the Prodigy crew 11th Anniversary. After these experiences I truly believe that Hip Hop needs space to breathe.
You see in cities Hip Hop lives in underground dimensions, escaping the restrictive rules and regulations the system attempts to place on its Wild Style. It leaves it mark on walls and trains, communicating its presence to the initiated, who erupt in spontaneous cyphers of rhymes and break moves at block parties and in clubs, expressing their defiant rebellion against a system that wants to strip us of our Wild spirit. But I think it can be hard for Hip Hop to truly breathe in cities, and so it can go a little crazy in its wildness, lashing out as it gasps for breath.
There's a different feeling to Hip Hop when it can run free in the smaller populated places that are surrounded by green mountains and lakes. Places where the air is fresh and buildings never fight for attention with the sky.
I think Hip Hop loves to run, wild and free, in the vastness of lust green mountains, and then come rumbling down with the thunder and rain, to let the people know, 'I exist here!'
I think Hip Hop thrives in open spaces, able to sing and shout it's rhymes to the sky, able to dance and break next to lakes and streams, able to spray and share its art with those that might not have ever seen it yet.
In the city Hip Hop's movement gets restricted by concrete and glass, having to squeeze and pack into clubs and basements whenever it wants to gather, session, party, celebrate, dance and vibe. But in the unlimited spaces of Nature Hip Hop is free to expand, dance and exchange under the stars, able to let go of the pressures, demands and weight of systemic living and become tribal once again, letting its spirit free, and swinging it's arms and banging it's drums until the sun goes down and comes back up again.
Hip Hop is raw in the cities, it needs to be. It was birthed from struggle and learned quickly that if it didn't fight it'd be crushed under the foot of establishment. But it found a pure rebel spirit inside itself, embracing that spirit and becoming a strong and proud warrior of creativity and change. But in Nature Hip Hop can unclench it fists and exhale, and connect with its tamer side. It can flow with the wind and climb the trees, instead of bouncing off concrete walls. It can swim in the lakes instead of fighting through traffic and waiting in queues. It can shout as loud as it wants instead of being told to turn it down. It can stop fighting and be at peace for a moment.
Yes, I truly believe that Hip Hop needs space to breathe, even if it's just a break it takes every so often, for a few days, in a small town in somewhere like Slovakia, Austria or the South of France. Somewhere where it can stretch, relax, recharge and enjoy the freedom of the wilderness. And when it's ready it can return back to the city to once again give those who feel they have nothing, the power and strength to create something from that nothing. And to once again show the system that it cannot stop it from planting and growing roots, even in ground covered by concrete.