Monday, November 27, 2006


Ursula Rucker (7)
Originally uploaded by HoolyPics.
This weekend opened my eyes for a new form of culture: spoken word. I have always known of its existence but never really experienced it live, on the spot. As part of my work I organised this weekend a journalistic workshop on hip hop which was linked to a hip hop film festival Blacksoil in Rotterdam. My view on this subculture has changed and I am damn happy about it.

My approach on hip hop landed previously somewhere inside the triangle of homophobic and chauvinistic macho gangsta guys, black civil rights movement and baggy trousers. As a result of this we focused strongly in our planning on the problematic sides of the culture. However, discussions during the weekend and witnessing the programme of Blacksoil taught me that there is much more. I am for instance quite fascinated how hip hop has played and more and more plays a role in giving a voice for youngsters of European suburbs and how rapping in local language provides the artists with better possibilities to position themselves and their message into the local and national context.

I am fascinated especially by two elements of hip hop culture: spoken word and breakdancing. Reasons for the excitement are the verbal mastery, empowerment of women and positive street credibility and aggression. In a way I feel very fortunate that my work allows me to dive deeper into this subculture. As the main character of yesterday's cinema experience, Borat, puts it:"VERY NICE!"


Anonymous said...

I can definitely recommend you to look into the works of Saul Williams - a multi-talented poet, musician, actor and writer and without a doubt one of the biggest names of the spoken word genre.

Coldcut feat. Saul Williams in the music video "Mr.Nichols"

Anonymous said...

For the people liking spoken word or after Tommi's blog curious about it... visit CrimeJazz ( the next edition is 16 (Amsterdam) and 17 (Rotterdam) december. Saul Williams recommended here by Ensio has been one of the featured poets some years ago!

Anonymous said...

Also Henry Rollins has made nine spoken word albums. His attitude comes from rock world. Seen him live and he is awesome.