‘Fight Back’ by Al Tamper is resistance music

Al Tamper brings music for the day (re: the age) on an album produced entirely by DJ Alo. This is not an album review; the is fine-crafted Chicago HipHop music and inspiration.




7 attributes for teaching HipHop culture, #3: Create

You will come to a point where the instinct to express your skills is instinctive and in many ways therapeutic. Moving to any instrumentals freestyling rhymes, beats, dances, especially in social situations or open mics is a cathartic expression of an inner self or idea of you want self to become. Many many times, it is not the music that moves us but the images crated and left behind, from photographers and art directors for a label or magazine, to street artists bombing their way to and from the party. HipHop is a culture of self-creation. This is not something you can sell or put into a box or a bag. This is a state of being.

You promote a party or start a production group with friends or write a newsletter or blog about your favorite aspects or important aspects and topics of the culture. You are making your demo or pushing your mixtape. You are in action, you are finding your comfort zone and this is easier for some people than others. I never understood that there were so many lanes for the HipHopper to apply the knowledge of 4 pillars to until I saw how some skills- writing, speaking- were universal, it all depended on the frame of mind with which to approach them creatively.

7 attributes for teaching HipHop culture, #2: Exploration

After “Discovery” the next apparent attribute in ones growth into and within HipHop culture is “Exploration”.
As various aspects of HipHop begin to appeal, there are many things that will draw us in as active pursuits. Many are fans of the art. HipHop music is the single most accessible gateway to the culture as it was crossed into popular culture by being a trendsetter of styles outside of it’s inner city environs like most African- and Latino-rooted art forms. However, the entertainment industry’s mass exposure has been many ways responsible for the view of hip-hop as music as opposed to the voice of a society. The capitalist nature of industry sells the excessive material aspects, framing the pursuit of record sales and dollars as paramount. This is partly HipHop’s fault for not demanding more inclusion of the culture’s other artistic pillars or expanding upon their original platforms.
Street dancers from both costs of the US, as with any craftsperson, worked to maintain skills, build fresh routines and win battles and are often for gotten about in conversation of great performers. Battle champion DJs take a backseat to producers and all are behind the glare of the major label rap star.
Various elements of HipHop have crossover appeal outside of the traditional: theater and improv groups can root themselves in breakin’ and MCing crews; Graphic design, lighting design from graffiti artists; entrepreneurs of all stripe come from scenesters who want to contribute organizational and/or management skills that are fa greater than their artistic talent or drive- studio owners, gallery curators, cafe and club managers, web admis, etc.

Once you begin to “explore”you may find not only the aspects of HipHop that you are naturally inclined to. You will also find what other interests and skills that you possess and how they benefit one another as as well as how the community benefits from those same skills.

7 attributes for teaching HipHop culture, #1:Discovery

What or why we gravitate toawrd the rhythm, the heartbeat, the mindset that is HipHop is the first thing that should be examined in the head and the environment of a young HipHopper [Young in age or in experience within the culture]. “Discovery” and how broad  the cultural aspects of this micro-society will have a profound affect on how it is perceived as a study.

For me, a 70’s baby, as a music fan, I always enjoyed new an innovative presentation of traditionally “Black” music on radio and television. For music television TV then was The Midnight Special, Rock Concert, American Bandstand and the African American standard Soul Train. Soul Train also was a window to popular street dancing styles of various eras. Being a Chicago native, you had to really watch what trends were so at NOT to follow them, propagate new style. In the early80’s, a junior high school kid did not want to be caught just mimicking something from New York or anywhere, he wanted to be seen FLIPPIN’ it, spinning into something new. As rap records slowly came from the east and dances from both coasts mingled with area trends, a documentary changed my perception of New York street-art culture

I liked to draw and doodle. I had seen news reports and magazine articles on muralists around Chicago but also on New York graffiti. I had just made my first visit to New York City at age 11 when “Style Wars” controversially ran on PBS. This documentary also spotlighted breakin’, the art of battling and the mindset of escaping or conquering the block. It showed me a connection between urban and all marginalized peoples, Something creative and way bigger than just music or “some New York shit”.

What is your “Discovery” moment or series of moments? Those of us that hold this culture and it’s arts to heart can pinpoint when they realized that it was about more than music and fame and videos and record sales. Moreover, those of us that fashion ourselves as teachers of the movement(s) of HipHop would do well to pinpoint aspects of the culture in the youth around them, see what they gravitate towards. If it’s dance, The Freshest Kids; If it’s entertainment/music/cinema industry Wildstyle, Beat Street or if mature enough, Belly or Brown SugarCan’t Stop Won’t Stop by Jeff Chang is a great gateway of music to culture and journalism. Let young HipHoppers find the commonalities in these and their favorite artists/actors/writers own stories to inspire their own path into creating a positive lifestyle beyond entertainment industry stereotypes.

Outline for a periodic HipHop curriculum

I. Discovery
A. (Self) Knowledge
B. Your elements
C. History & cultural study
D.  Phys. Ed./Health

II. Exploration
A. Primary discipline
B. Secondary discipline

C. Phys. ed/ health
E. History(s of your discipline[s])

III. Create
A. Primary discipline
B. Secondary discipline
C. Phys. ed/health
D. Cultural Studies

IV. Application
A. Primary and secondary disciplines
B. Study alternate disciplines
C. Cultural Studies
D. Health/ Phys ed

V. Practice
A. Performance
B. Philosophy
C. Media
D. Health
E. Cultural study

VI. Collaborate
A. Cross disciplinary study
B. Performance
C. Entrepreneurialism
D. Media
E Cultural study/Health/ Phys ed

VII. Build
A. Independent study project
B. Collaborative study project
C. Marketing/promotion
D. Cultural study/health/phys ed