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!Flyer 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. *****
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!