Having grown up in the pioneering days of early 80’s hip-hop I would hunt down anything about the hip-hop movement. It was an exciting, revolutionary, wild and most of all; a personal artistic expression that struck a chord with my loner persona in suburban Adelaide.
The love of hip-hop was limited to a few rebels within various fringes of the school playground. There were some older, tougher kids that hung out in ‘the mall’ on a Saturday morning but I was never cool or tough enough to gain their acceptance so a few likeminded kids at school banded together and between us found out as much as we could, eeking out where ever we could the new sounds and sights of rap, rummaging through bookshelves and microfilm files in school and state libraries; borrowing cassettes, watching films and getting our hands on while the seminal book Subway Art. After some pressuring we managed to get our school librarian to screen the seminal film Style Wars in our lunch breaks. That film left an indelible mark on our creative minds inspiring many of us to step outside to start tagging and painting.
The hollywood film Beat Street had an even bigger influence on me with it’s incredible soundtrack featuring artists such as Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Fiverandmaster Melle Mel, Afrika Bambaataa and The Soul Sonic Force and Athur Baker’s classic track, Breakers Revenge.
I kept trying desperately to breakdance. I popped and locked, spun on the floor inelegantly, practiced my style, tagged, painted and racked cans, watched . I loved every minute of it.
One of the greatest things the hip-hop movement gave me was a greater appreciation of the struggles of black people in America and in other parts of the world. I was too young for the message of the punk movement but hip-hop arrived to me at a time when I was questioning our society and values. Why we had discrimination, poverty, injustice. Why people of colour were victimised and oppressed. Artists like Public Enemy, KRS-One and The Last Poets spoke of an environment I could only but imagine.
Hip-hop was my punk rock movement. It wanted you to rise up against and; party, fight, dance, shout, holler, but most of all be proud of who you were and don’t let anyone stop you telling you otherwise.