DETROIT, BRONX, BROOKLYN, BALTIMORE, CHICAGO
Rap as a Religion, as a way of breathing and expression.
Rap Culture in USA nowdays. Extended version of the photo series from 2 months.
I came to USA to search and explore the real rap culture nowdays. I didn't look for necessarly famous rappers neither for the "posers with the golden chains" who knows how to move with their hands but has nothing to say. Which is a main difference between being MC (Master of Ceremonies) with the skill of knowing WHAT and HOW to say that which requires decent knowledge and talent. Rapper is just someone who knows how to make the rhymes and play with the words only but doesn't give an notice / information. "It's not our hobby, it's our whole world..it's religion..like you are eating - we are rapping" they said.
They are rapping everywhere, even while they walk. They organize rap cyphers and rap battles as well. They can rap for many hours without stop. Cypher is a circle of people having conversation with each other and battle is more about winning or loosing in rapping.
They are rapping about everything, about real life: corruption, police, politicians, money, betrayal, good or bad friends, relationships, crime, guns, drugs, problems, good things. Either they rap about how stupid someone is or about money - C.R.E.A.M. (cash ruins everything around me) they can always put the right words in the rhymes without hesitating and deliver the message, notification to the people.
Story of Henny Mack (23):
"Hip hop is my life, without it I would have been dead or lock up for the rest of my life, help me out when I was lowest, always put a smile on my face
Hip hop is my key to get out from ghetto and let the whole world know who I am. Yea I grow up real poor, rats and roaches everywhere, broken windows and have no heat or air conditioner, so Everytime I will listen to hip hop I will feel like they was talking to me
Everytime I will get beat up by police or jump in neighborhood, there always a song that I could play to show how I feeling or what I was going threw
First time I went to jail, I was really nervous and scare, I went to room full of men ( 40 men there) I was really quite at first until some big muscular guy started beatbox and I started rhyming and everybody in that room was quiet, the only thing you hear was my voice and inmates bumping their head. After that they respect me and make sure I ate, every night I will freestyle for these dudes."
5 elements of hip-hop:
Elements Of Hip Hop
5. Knowledge, Culture and Overstanding.
Story of Adrian A-d (Bronx)- veteran that used to serve as a soldier in Afghanistan for example.
“You can use hip-hop to address controversial issues”, and this makes for a great story."
What makes a skilled rapper is debatable among the hip-hop community and there are many complexities within the process of creating music such as the body of work, rhymes, and more. One of the categories that define a Master of Ceremonies or Emcee (MC) is their ability in storytelling.
One of the challenges of being a storyteller is having firsthand experience and understanding in the story you want to tell and then being able to deliver it to others. Adrian grew up facing many hardships and then chose to join the USN as an Operations Specialist for a better future. At first, life aboard a ship and traveling was very exciting but after two deployments, in 2007 on board the USS Enterprise and in 2010 in Afghanistan, his military career would take a toll on him.
Amazed at all the venues giving artists the opportunity to perform, he was most impressed watching others freestyle at Union Square Park on Friday nights with the Legendary Cyphers. This gave him the courage to step on stage and grab the microphone so his voice could be heard.
“There was a lot of greed put on the hip-hop culture”, so he decided to change directions and focus on a different model.
“Rapping about guns and drugs are trendy but it is not useful to the community, music needs to relate to the people.” Adrian said in explaining what changed his prospective on which moves he was going to do next.