Get up Stand up Tour-Road to the Rhythms pt. 2
Im experiencing déjà vu as I write on another beautiful Brooklyn day.
There has been so much that 3P experienced on this tour, to date
the strongest . For those of you on facebook; to check the video, click
With Chapeau Rouge to that point feeling almost like the pinnacle, we began
the trip to Berlin, crazy early in the morning. Just to get a sense of that feeling though here is some footage from that show:
Prague to Germany went fairly smooth, despite a slight disturbance in the force. On one of the stops, German police came aboard to inspect passengers papers. I’m still not sure what exactly for, but another passenger told us its essentially border patrol. Needless to say in our car only three people were searched, myself and the Arabic couple. Touring while black I guess is a new one for me. We kept it moving and landed at the wonderful home of our peoples, Maria Kapix. “Mary-Land” opened up their kind hospitality to us once again. I cant thank Maria enough, beyond letting us crash, her generosity didn’t know any limits, we got you when you come to NY. This was my first time having a chance to rock in Berlin, and the feel of the city got me excited. Berlin is a multi-cultural city, with many different groups, religions, ethnicities living relatively in close proximity. Berlin has a real modern feel, concrete everywhere, (though not many skyscrapers) and a lot of movement, though people don’t seem overly in a hurry. Later on that afternoon, we actually had our first gig, the EOW outdoor jam at Alexander Platz.
We literally were on a run for the border after Chapeau Rouge, I myself chose to simply stay up. To that point, we might of had a collective six hours sleep in us. The scene at AlexanderPlatz was a serious wake up call. A steady crowd of about sixty or seventy people, passersbys, familiar heads (shouts to the three Maria's, and Navina, Marc Hype, DJ Sarah, Kemp Krew holdin it down...)and EOW heads filled this open air space under a clock that could've been a prop out of Brave New World. EOW Berlin is headed up by DJ Marc Bulet, an amazing DJ, organizer, and hip hop archivist. Along with Igadget, the two of them spun joints, and also "DJ'd" for the storm of artist there to perform. The format was very Sin-Sinesque as emcees were put down round robin style and at random. The live mixtape feel, kept the energy and vibe of the show moving, and hyped. Shefket, Amewou, Diamondog, Furious, BatKat, S-Rok, Alibi and many others along with collaboration from a youth organization GangwayBeatz rounded it all out. Olad Aden is the social worker running the organization, and he brought emcees and dancers from his programs. We are looking to get that Bronx to Berlin to Brooklyn connection going later this year.
One of the most impressive aspects of the show was the youth involvement. Berlin has a very vibrant hip hop/arts education foundation, although as Bulet pointed out to us at one point, several of the community centers these programs are running out of will be shut down. Even with the success that the culture has had in helping youth, the realities of economics still remain. The positive is that, Bulet, GangwayBeatz and others are still representing (Bulet himself a teaching artist, lecturer working with youth and hip hop culture). The Berlin community clearly has been around (having first been introduced to the culture around 1980-81 per Bulet, who like KRS-ONE can boast "I was there!") and it was evident in the styles. Furious, Shefket,Diamondog and Ali be in particular had such amazing timing, rhythm and flow. Its been great to hear artist who I may not be able to understand the literal language, but the skill and strength of their ability is obvious. Diamondog, actually is fam with my people from Nomadic Wax. An Angolan born emcee who migrated from Brazil to Germany, he is a global emcee. Rhyming in three languages, and going for his masters he probably can spit the fastest that I've ever seen personally live. The talent was crazy, and with the youth it was truly an amazing event.
Somehow after the event and debating on the next move we still were awake enough to do a run through of the show for the following night at Cassiopeia, (Oh yeah, Friday was a benefit and warm up!) We headed back to Bulet's spot in a neighborhood called Kreuzberg (named after "Cross Hill" which is the highest elevation in the area), a largely Turkish working class community. The history of Kreuzberg has similar parallels to a civil-rights era lower east side; protest, artists, squatters. Bulet gave us a brief history of his life living there, and of the neighborhood, even the current gentrification it is undergoing (sound familiar?) A husband and father of two children, it was great to see someone still fulfilling their dream. We ended up staying and checking out clips of influential German hip hop artists, and Bulet spinning tales of some of the exploits of he and his crew. The family atmosphere just seemed to be the norm while we've been in Europe.
Saturday night was Cassopiea and as I broke down to you in a previous blog, the place is ill. Tonight though, we were rocking with Smith & Smart, Berlinutz, John Robinson and Quazzar. Needless to say, the place was rocking. Smith & Start in particular had a mostly German crowd going bonkers. The interplay between emcee, DJ DJ/percussionist was dope. Quazzar, and John Robinson at this point goes without saying the level they bring it at. Its been a blessing building with truly dope artist who have a real appreciation for the music and the culture. Their success clearly comes from being on the humble, and tireless in putting in work. Whether its been them or J-Live we really got a glimpse of how to do it from these three, something to grow from. Once we got to the stage, the place was packed and hyped. Mission accomplished, I actually had to roll back home, on credible sources (Rabbi and Far) however the party didnt stop till Breakfast around 8 or 9 a.m.
Normally I'm down, but Sunday was our last day in Berlin and I was hoping to get a chance to really see the city. Plus, we were going to the studio with Bulet to try and lay down as many tracks as we could. S-Rok, Ali Be, BatKat and later on Diamondog all represented. It was actually real dope because Diamondog came with his people DJ Wordz and fam and brought a German BBQ right to us. In between writing sessions, their were freestyle ciphers outside being run off a car battery, Speaker, Grill and a ton of Schnitzel. I actually got Bulet to break it down a little...
Here is some footage of some of that Grafitti that is literally all around the community center. This is their wall of fame.
We ultimately ended up getting two tracks for the most part recorded. But there is more coming, also Furious and a few cats who didn't get in are laying vocals as well. Here is one of the joints Igadget got to finish. It features 3rd Party, BatKat on the chorus, Ali Be, and S-Rok:
No Means No (EOW Collabo NY/Berlin) by iGadget
My trip ended with a very late night session with Diamondog building on everything from KRS to the state of persons of color all over the globe. I continue to be encouraged and excited at the bond I share with brothas from other parts of the world. For me, it strengthens my belief that we are dealing with a worldwide struggle, for acceptance, for respect. Berlin as a whole has been a tremendous experience to witness their love of the culture, and the power that it has to bring so many like minded people from different backgrounds together. By Monday afternoon, I was back in Brooklyn. I'm still not sure words and pictures do justice what I felt and experienced over there. Get up Stand up was a true Award Tour. 2010.....do it again.