Castle presents the first #HiphopHERstory
Hip hop or hip-hop, is a subculture and art movement developed in the Bronx in New York City during the late 1970s. Hip hop is not a just a commercial piece of music. It is to some, the sole reason they it made out of sticky childhood situations, tough teenage years and pretty much a tool for many young people across the globe to express their views, their way, in a world that holds young people hostage of societal structures and adults who won’t accept alternating and different views of the new world.
So, hip hop is not just a “subculture”. It is an important part for a lot of youth. On that note, we need to applaud the Castlelite team for breaking ground and being the first on the continent to help in telling herstory. Although hip hop was created and developed by men in the Bronx , women’s contributions have not been acknowledged clearly and loudly. The #HiphopHerstory concert was a clear indication that Castlelite is listening to the people on the ground and as a brand is willing to shift gears and take a stand with the ladies of hip hop.
We can’t ignore gender, online we see campaigns daily, of people/activists pleading with others to end gender bias or patriarchy etc… but the brutal truth is, we aren’t going to end gender yet. I still want to be a man without being vilified and I’m quite sure women want to be who they want to be without man deciding their fates in the office, at home, at the taxi ranks, in taxis, at events and in whatever space they choose to occupy.
I do not speak for women, this is all from studying my surroundings, feminism and reading vocal threads online. Hip hop is dominated by men, albeit I have never been to a hip hop event where women were shunned or unwelcome but I can attest that female MCs probably never got as much respect as their male counterparts. Mainly because the audience weren’t too familiar with a female rapper jumping on the Mic. It’s all been new but it is all transforming as well.
Hip hop is not biased to male rappers, it is biased to the nicest on the mic. This is the hip hop philosophy I’ve grown to know and love; ,male or female if you’re whack, don’t even annoy us. Proving grounds are on sound cloud.
I won’t lie the #HiphopHerstory wasn’t the best show. It lacked a lot of fluidity, there was a lot of chatting in between performances and maybe that’s what the creative team were going for but conversations that end up happening on stage while the rest of us are drinking and seeking entertainment and some a bang for their buck. It genuinely kills the vibe and the vibe died a few times that night. Rest in peace vibe.
I am not basing this on the fact it was an all female line-up. I’m basing this show to other shows of its calibre, big brand, big spend and highly publicized. I’m comparing this show to all other shows with all sorts of creative executions and concepts.This one didn’t meet the standard “it pops off” groove quota. It just wasn’t jumping.
The thrilling performances by the all-female line up had the crowd buzzing as they jammed to past and new hip hop hits from legends to the new school with the likes of Relo, Fifi Cooper and a surprise performance by Boity of her new single Wuz Dat! Castle Lite took it a step further with a phenomenal all female band.
HerStory pushed the boundaries and the acts were the definition of Hip Hop excellence which made a statement in the most memorable way ever.
Nadia Nakai definitely brought the best performance of the night. Nadia is not a rookie to the Castlelite stage and she showed how seasoned she was when she spat every bar without the assistance of a backing joint playing up and under. Manthe Ribane also amped the fans up with her Hyperdub set and magical dance pieces. There’s something truly exceptional about Manthe and the rest of the Dear Ribane family, something that had everyone in the venue mesmerized in a trance like state. Rouge & Young M.A also had solid performances. Everybody else needs to step their game up.
Female royalty in the guise of Angela Yee of Breakfast Club fame, Queens born rapper Roxanne Shante and Young M.A of triple platinum hit single ‘Ooouuu’. The show allowed women to tell their own story of hip hop through their own lens.
Besides somewhat charged statements made by some of the talent on stage about not having males performing. Music is art and art consumption is objective. I expect quality music, delivery and performances from all sexes. I could care less what sex you are when it comes to hiphop. I love it and I’d hope that we can preserve it so it would give my kids what it gave to me. An opportunity to express, verbally and explicitly how I feel about myself, others and my environment.
Whether you’re male or female, young or old, rookie or a vet. There are no free passes here, you have to work hard on your craft and the opportunity to stand before us on stage.