I remember long, long ago, back when I was a latch-key kid living in the predominantly-Filipino area of Virginia Beach. Weekday afternoons would consist of cartoons and sneaking into my older sister’s room, borrowing her Wu-Tang and Jungle Brothers tapes, putting that shit on blast ’til she got home from whatever extra-curriculars had kept her at school for so long.
That was just the beginning of my salad days with hip-hop, and while these days most kids would feel more at home with the heavily-syncopated sounds of B-more club and modern-day radio ready bangers, I still fondly remember when “T.R.O.Y.” reigned supreme.
The work of local nonprofit Words, Beats & Life seems to share that nostalgia, but eschewing sentimentality in order to build an intellectual space for a cultural discussion to live and thrive well into the future. The organization, which also publishes The WBL Global Journal of Hip-Hop, a peer reviewed academic journal of hip-hop culture, will be hosting a three-day celebratory event called “The Bootleg Festival: Mixtapes, Film & Hip-Hop’s Underground Economy” this weekend from Nov. 13-15.
The festival features a slew of workshops delving into topics ranging from shoe design to film production. But there will also be a “black book battle,” so all you sucker and not-so-sucker emcee’s should feel free to represent.
In addition, the festival will spend a majority of the last two days screening short films and documentaries spanning hip-hop culture on a global scale: from apartheid-scarred South Africa, the U.K., and disenfranchised youth just tryin’ to deal in Latin America.
WBL executive director Mazi Mutafa was gracious enough to hook us up with some trailers, which you can view after the jump.
– Estilo Hip-Hop is a documentary that takes a look at the Chilean hip-hop scene, note how they express that they didn’t really have an idea how kids did it in America, and just pieced the shit together as they saw fit. Word.
– Masizakhe deals with the complicated and delicate balance of tradition, progress, community in South Africa. I highly recommend checking this one out, focusing on spiritual uprising in a culture of institutionalized oppression that really resonates.
– Frekuensia Kolombiana covers Colombian heads, and in addition to giving a different perspective on Latin-American hip-hop, it also has enough Medellin shout-outs to make even Vincent Chase’s head turn (obscure Entourage references for the win!).
– Clash A’ Da Tight 1′s gives a glimpse across the pond to heads in the U.K. and Australia, but for anyone that’s been following Grime or Garage knows these dudes and gals have held their own long before Dizzee Rascal was stabbed in Ayia Napa.
For a full schedule of the weekends events, check here.