Part of “Detroit – Berlin: One Circle”
Part of “Detroit – Berlin: One Circle”
In hip hop the personal is also always political.
The Last Poets provided the first impetus for the hip hop movement with "Ni *** rs Scared of Revolution" and "When the Revolution Comes". In the 1970s and 1980s Gil Scott-Heron paved the way for a future generation with his activist texts, with pieces like "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised" and "Winter in America". Perhaps the most well-known and influential political rap group in the 1980s was Public Enemy. With their tough, in-your-face texts, their heavy beats and the powerful voice of the group’s front man, Chuck D, Public Enemy was the soundtrack for an aware and awake hip hop generation.
Since the very beginnings of the genre, women have played a large part in shaping the overall sound and the (battle) raps in hip hop. Roxanne Shanté, JJ Fad, Monie Love, MC Lyte or the Cookie Crew, just to name a few icons. Although hip hop is commonly associated with misogynist texts and a glorification of male comradery, there were always women that exposed this attitude to a steely, self-sufficient perspective.
For example, there’s Miz Korona, the award-winning rapper from Detroit. If she had kept strictly to the rules that her surroundings had prescribed for her, she would never have been on stage along with stars like Scarface or Run-DMC. She could also be seen free-styling in the rap blockbuster "8-Mile" with Eminem and Xzibit, one of the most important films for the genre and at the same time an ode to their hometown Detroit. In Berlin she will appear with
"The Korona Effekt", consisting of the artists Kamau, DJ Invisible, Rain Man and Showtime (keyboard). Kamau’s style on the bass guitar is rhythmic and funky with catchy melodies. DJ Invisible has been a DJ since 1992 and has appeared as a turntablist and mixer with Xzibit, Obie Trice, Public Enemy and many others. The band’s drummer, Eric "Rain Man" Gaston, is a native of Detroit who has recorded, played and toured with many artists and works as a professor for percussion at the Detroit Institute of Music Education.
Also performing on this evening is Ché, previously known as Detroit Che, another artist from Detroit, Michigan. The 24-year-old made her debut in 2014 at BET’s 2014 Hip-Hop Awards Cypher and was the first female artist to win the competition.
Ché is an independent and multitalented rapper, who stages her own visuals, works on her own productions and thematises social injustice in her texts. She has taken on the goal of empowering young artists to do the same by encouraging them to tell their own stories. At HAU she will perform with DJ Stacyé J.
AWA – her name is an acronym standing for African Women Arise. She grew up in Makokoba, a poor suburb of Zimbabwe’s second-largest city Bulawayo, where she experienced domestic abuse first hand. She raps fast in her Zimbabwean native language Ndebele. Her texts deal with topics affecting women in society, such as domestic violence, teenage pregnancy, rape and sex work. She gives voice to women by thematising their problems in Zimbabwe, a country where two thirds of women state that they have experienced some form of gender specific violence.
AWA now lives in Germany and has acquired a fan base in Berlin. The talented MC has worked with artists such as Hip Hop Pantsula (S.A.), Symbiz (GER) and Digital Rebels (ZIM). In addition, she is part of the collective "Voices of the Revolution" consisting of 15 musicians from 10 different countries, including Egypt, Brazil and Venezuela, which regularly work together in the UK.
Presented as part of "Detroit – Berlin: One Circle", a festival by HAU Hebbel am Ufer. Supported within the framework of the Alliance of International Production Houses by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media.
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