RAPOLITICS: Facilitating International Partnerships and ‘Everyday Politics’

RAPOLITICS: Facilitating International Partnerships and ‘Everyday Politics’

Zareen Thomas, a PhD Candidate in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Connecticut, USA, visited RAPOLITICS in Denmark for the whole month of June 2016. Here she unveils a bit about her reflections on our work. Read more…

Copenhagen: The Way into a Better Understanding of Refugee Issues

I have been a refugee all my life, I am Palestinian, I was a refugee in Syria, then in Lebanon and now in Denmark, but I am thankful to all the steps I had passed through, I am proud of being a refugee, said Dana, 16 years old.

Dana is one of the 11 young people with refugee background that took part in a story-telling workshop in the vibrant atmosphere at Ragnhildgade 1. Read more…

Rap Music is the CNN of the Barrio

Zareen Thomas, a PhD Candidate in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Connecticut, USA, is visiting RAPOLITICS in Denmark this June. Here she unveils a bit about her work with hip-hop in Latin America. Read more…

Hamburg: Talents of The City Begin in the Suburbs

The room in the container city is hot as a sauna. Young people of all ages and colors sit around on the floor waiting for the show to start. They are sweaty and you can feel the energy in the air. Some bite nervously their nails, others are more relaxed chatting with friends. We have been invited to see the monthly show case of all the different hip hop courses conducted in the Hip Hop Academy in Billstedt, an eastern district of Hamburg, Germany. The show case is normally a closed event only for those youth enrolled in the different courses, so we feel privileged to be able to witness it. They perform in order to show their new skills to each other and we can feel that there is a good and supporting atmosphere between the participants.

Lauryn Hill and back-flips

The first to perform are the breakers. A group of boys age 12 to 20 enters the center of the room and start performing to an excited crowd. They spin around in their heads, do back-flips and show their moves with great energy and concentration. The room is filled with clapping and the air is even more thick when the last beat drops. Next on the spotlight are six girls and one boy, who perform a Lauryn Hill song with great passion.

Beware the false motives of others
Be carefull of those who pretend to be brothers
And you never suppose it’s those who are closest to you, to you
They say all the right things, to gain their position
Then use your kindness as their ammunition
To shoot you down in the name of ambition, they do
Forgive them father for they know not what they do

A half hour later, there is almost no air in the room left. The smell of sweat is even stronger. But nobody really cares. In the breaks between the different performances the talk is loud and laughter fills the room, but as soon as the beatboxers, rappers, singers and breakers perform, all eyes and attention are in their direction. When the show case ends everybody pours out to the streets in order to breath some fresh air. We are impressed with the amount of young people inside the container city, which is Hip Hop Academy’s temporary workshop place. Up to 100 youth from Billstedt have showed their skills today!WEBSITE_BANNER_BOOTCAMPFlyer from their Hip-hop camp for youngsters

Good grip on the youth

RAPOLITICS is in Hamburg in order to meet with Hip Hop Academy. Jorchen Schindlbeck, who is the vice director, explains about their free training programmes for youth between the ages of 13 and 25. They are known and acknowledged for their four-level training program in the field of breakdance, graffiti, DJing, rap, beatbox, beat production, singing and newstyle, where the participants receive systematic training according to their current skill levels. The aim is to nurture professional talent and potential in young artist and build the best possible musical education for the next generation. They have a good grip on the youth in Bildstedt: 680 youths currently train in 105 classes spread over 35 locations.

Jorchen explains that they have worked hard for many years and even though they can present a great deal of impressive results, they still have unfulfilled ambitions as well as great challenges ahead as any other cultural institution in Europe these days. Besides learning more about Hip Hop Academy and being inspired by their work, we also had the opportunity to introduce RAPOLITICS’ different projects and vision for the future. It was a short one-day visit that marks the beginning of a great hip hop partnership. pizap2*****

Mads, Mia, Emil, Mathias and Lucas from RAPOLITICS’ board visited Hip Hop Academy in May 2016. Lucas Nielsen, co-founder of RAPOLITICS, wrote this short blog entry about the trip. The featured pictures is from Hip Hop Academy. Thanks to the team of Hip Hop Academy for receiving us!

Congolese asylum seekers dance the dead to life in a Chapel in Copenhagen

RAPOLITICS sent our communication volunteer Peter Thomsen to Hip Hop Games in Copenhagen. We supported Bob and Bantu from La Folie Crew with their participation in the Hip Hop Games event at Dansekapellet in Copenhagen (April 2016). Here is his short report with some great pictures.

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Colombia: Agrarian Hip-Hop against Violence and Injustice

Since August 2015 I have been conducting a fieldwork for my master’s thesis in Anthropology in Medellín, Colombia. The initial idea was to investigate how youth in one of Medellin’s most turbulent neighborhoods, Comuna 13, use hip- hop to try to change their everyday lives for the better. My research led me to become a member of the collective Agroarte, that use both agriculture and hip-hop, especially rap and graffiti, as resistance against the violence and injustice that has been and still is the rule in some parts of Colombia. An interesting combination they have named “Hip-Hop Agrario” i.e. agrarian hip-hop. Read more…

Jamming for a Sustainable Hip-Hop Future

RAPOLITICS and students from Vallekilde Folk High School were in October 2015 for the second time in Alexandria, Egypt, in order to boost Revolution Records’ studio! The trip is an example of a great hip-hop partnership between Egyptian raptivists, Danish high school students and RAPOLITICS. In this blog entry, Mia from RAPOLITICS give us an update on the studio.
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A Hip-Hop Partnership between Denmark and Egypt

This is the story of a unique hip-hop partnership between Revolution Records in Alexandria and RAPOLITICS in Denmark. It all started back in 2012 and has now developed into a strong tie between raptivists in Egypt and students and youth in Denmark. The dream of the hip-hop revolution is very much alive! Read more…

Fall 2015: The Power of Hip-Hop

This Fall has yet gain been a very busy time for RAPOLITICS. Read this blog to get some insider information about our activities and projects in Denmark, Bolivia and Egypt! Read more…

Egypt: Alyaa Uses Rap as a Weapon

Growing up as a young woman in a patriarchal society like Egypt is one thing. Speaking out loud, not giving a damn about norms and expectations, and rapping for women’s rights is another thing. Yet this is what 20 year-old Alyaa from Alexandria is doing. Read more…

Rap Against Violence in Mali

We sent Tina, one of our RAPOLITICS-coaches, to Mali to work on a DanChurchAid project that focused on youth and armed violence in December 2014. Mali is after the conflict in 2012 plagued by rising levels of armed violence, not least of jihadists in the north, and the country is also but also experiencing an increase in criminal violence south of the conflict region. DanChurchAid had therefore a program that seeked to reduce and prevent armed violence. RAPOLITICS was invited to conduct a workshop in rap and dance for a month for young men whom are in particular danger of arming themselves. The workshops ended with a show together with the Malian rapper Tal-B. In addition, a CD was produced with the best 10 tracks from the workshop. Read more…

Lost Boys Rapping for Peace and National Reconciliation

During the Fall 2014 RAPOLITICS had company of the two South Sudanese rappers Hot Dogg (Mijok Lang) and L.U.A.L (Lual D’Awol). During their stay they facilitated rap workshops at schools in most parts of Denmark in cooperation with the Youth Program from the Danish Center for Culture and Development.

Both Hot Dog and L.U.A.L are children of the civil war, which lay waste to Sudan from 1983-2005. While L.U.A.L was born in New York where his parents lived, Hot Dogg was born in the present South Sudan, and is one of the more than 20.000 Lost Boys who lost their parents and homes during the war. Read more…

Highlights from RAPOLITICS’ Hip-Hop Year 2014

We had a great year – and a very busy one. Here we present some highlights!

Bringing Rap Knowledge to Students in Denmark

In 2014 we intensified our educational work in Denmark. We teamed up with our friends from Livsbanen and with the Municipality of Copenhagen and carried out a pilot project in schools in the island of Amager, bringing rap knowledge to the students. We are glad to announce that we will be repeating the project in 2015! Furthermore, for the first time ever school students visited us in GAME for a workshop about poetry, spoken word and rap.  We are, thus, supporting the implementation of the new school reform and contributing to the education of school students! We have know four educational packages for schools – and all can be booked through our website (in Denmark only). Some say that knowledge is hip-hop’s fifth unknown element. We are doing what we can to make it a central element in all our work! Read more…

Sharing a Hip-Hop Dream in Beirut

This is a travel journal from RAPOLITICS-coaches Emil and Pelle. It was made during their visit in Beirut in August 2014, where they were invited by GAME Lebanon to participate as rappers and coaches in the project entitled “Democracy Makers“. Read more…

Hip-Hop is Street Journalism in Senegal

Senegalese hip-hop is not about guns, bitches and drugs. It is the voice of activists against the system. But it is also about love for the country and its potentials, where everybody agrees that ’Africa is the Future’. I spend the beginning of the Summer in Senegal close to the capital Dakar. During my trip I got a glimpse of the heart of the Senegalese hip-hop movement. Read more…

Egypt: Underground Revolution

The hip-hop and underground Egyptian movement began well before the revolution of 2011 to denounce the injustice of the Mubarak regime. Tahrir Square was the conclusion of a long social journey in which even the band of local rappers have reaped the rewards of their protests and their songs have become anthems of the revolution. The ‘underground’ Arab hip-hop seems to have found the initial message of protest without imitating the American movement, keeping proud roots in the Egyptian culture, mixing sounds and traditions. The fame achieved by some of these bands have also allowed others to come out and many disciplines to finally have a recognition , from street art to skate-boarding , from parkour to freestyle football. Read more…

Top 5: Summer of Raptivism

We at RAPOLITICS had a very busy summer. So here you have five examples of pure raptivism – check them out! Read more…

The Leading Graffiti Artist of Senegal is a Woman

Although the hip-hop culture in Senegal is predominantly male, one of the best graffiti artists in the community in and around Dakar, the capital of Senegal, is Zeinixx, a 24-year old woman. In her art, she puts on display the challenges facing women in Senegalese society. Read more…

Palestinian Artivism in the Streets of Copenhagen

Seven young Palestinian street artists visited Denmark in July 2014 in order to bring some artivism and decorate a series of murals and tunnels with Danish graffiti artists. They were invited by the Danish organization StreetStudies to participate in a project funded by the Danish Center for Culture and Development. The purpose of the project was to provide the young artists from Nablus, Ramallah and Jerusalem with a creative platform where they could learn more about graffiti and street art, express their views in murals and engage in a dialogue with Danish artists and the public in general. Read more…

Hip-Hop Generates Hope in the Ghetto of Dakar

The poverty, unemployment and crime rate is huge in the ghetto area Pikine outside the Senegalese capital Dakar. Once, hanging in the street corner, was the only thing to do. But since 2006 street-art schools have allotted alternatives which have produced dreams about a better life as a hip-hop artist. And dreams generates hope. Read more…