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Back 2 Tape: London

Back 2 Tape

The roots of British hip-hop lie close to Buckingham Palace, in Covent Garden. Like other attractions in the British capital, Covent Garden is both historic and inspirational.

The will to create something of your own

In the 1990s, it was precisely here where hip-hop, with its essential basic elements of rap, DJing, breakdancing and graffiti, became part of urban culture. Early British hip-hop is an expression of a certain attitude towards life, just like its American counterpart.

You can feel the influence of the New York hip-hop scene at every corner in Covent Garden - but at the same time, there is a constant desire to create something of your own.

Hip-hop is attitude

I meet Rodney P on my Porsche road trip in London. Whenever his music got Caribbean influences, Rodney P became Riddim Killa. His first album was released in 1986, and later he founded his own label and hosted the BBC show "The Original Fever", where he met rap legends like Kanye West, P Diddy and 50 Cent.

Rodney, who came to hip-hop through breakdancing and so-called freeriding, is massively disturbed by the negative lines and the lack of complexity in today's rap business: "They all just write lyrics about crime and drugs," laments the godfather of British rap.

African-Caribbean beats Another proponent of the original idea of British hip-hop is Apex Zero. And that fits the Afro-English Apex Zero like the turntable pin fits in the grooves of the vinyl. "This neighbourhood is so important for hip-hop, not only here but all over Europe. Just think of the Brixton Splash Music Festival or the Chip Chop Café," says Zero, who has immersed himself in Beijing's Chinese hip-hop scene for two years. "Hip-hop showed me who I am" Apex Zero, who co-founded a hip-hop magazine as a journalist in 2012, aims to preserve the roots of hip-hop: humanity and attitude.

It's important that hip-hop gives people a perspective, no matter where they come from. I owe a lot to the music. Hip-hop has shown me who I am and led me on the right path. Before, I just did crazy stuff and drifted off in different directions, says Apex Zero, for whom hip-hop is always open and multicultural - but also threatened by media and commerce. "I'm sure: Good hip-hop will survive." Apex Zero is definitely doing its part.

In 2018, [music__journalist__Niko__Hüls] embarked on a journey to the roots of hip-hop in Germany in "Back to Tape". In cooperation with the hip-hop magazine Backspin.de, the Porsche Newsroom project "Back to Tape" sheds light on cultural influences through the four central elements of hip-hop: rap, DJing, breakdance and graffiti. In Part 4, Niko Hüls visits London.

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Mar 18, 2020 at 23:06

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