Urban Visionaries on the Uprise
A brief description of the Sydney 10-day Hip Hop festival, 'Urban Xpressions'
by: Lady Muse
Will 1998 be the year for uprising and merging within Sydney's Hip
Seeing as the year is not quite over it wouldn't be fair us such to
state, but from the few rumbles noted midyear on the scene, it does
seem more ideas are mating with action to birth realities for
everyone to become involved with. Quite a few events reared their
heads in the early months....
'MOTIVATED MINDS' held at the Waterloo Oval was a day devoted to the
practioning of the elements (big up to the writer's for transforming
the Oval's grandstand into a totem of pure visual energy). There
were DJ sessions at Newtown's Globe venue such as 'BATTLESTAAR
TECHNICA', Electro night 'B-BOY NOIZE' at the Palladium and of
course, the MC's representin' at the 'Iron Duke' for 'SUBURBAN
LINES', which by the way was reviewed by local rock press 'Drum
Media' as the 'Hip Hop Massive Rave' (?)
And then there was 'Urban Expressions' - a full 10-day festival
devoted to the celebration of Australian Hip Hop culture. Though
conceptualised by Trent Roden of Slingshot Artist Management, the
idea itself was brought to fruition by a solid unit of heads intent
on seeing it manifest, among those being local emcees Baba from
Metabass 'n' Breath and Trey, to name a few. When asked on the
intention behind the festival, Trent explained to Crouton that is
was "to bring a focus of Hip Hop to Sydney over a 10-day period -
to have places where people could come hang out, communicate and
experience Hip Hop together - not necessarily people that get
along, but just have people that have a common love and interest in
Hip Hop as a culture". Australia, no doubt is a country shrouded in
mystery to the eyes of the world especially to the to the
International Hip Hop community curious about us, and though the
festival's focus is on Australia's culture, 'Urban Expressions' is
also aware of the potential the festival could hold for some global
interaction with fellow family overseas. As Trent also stated,
"when people overseas want to go to New York they say okay, let's go
in July 'cause there's heaps of shit happening in the middle of
Summer, Rocksteady and all that, so that was another idea. Not to
be like Rocksteady but just maybe having a focus for heads overseas
wanting to some to Australia, and even for people interstate.
There's people (all over Australia) into Hip Hop, who often think of
coming to Sydney, so now they can say, 'Well, let's go to Sydney in
March for the festival'.
Running from March 20-29, the ten days held something for everyone
to enjoy. Workshops, ciphers, breaking ciphers in Hyde Park and
many a jam (the closing ceremony featured international guests, the
Mystik Journeymen) but also events were held which many heads did
not previously feel could have a relationship with Hip Hop. One of
those nights happened to be REFLEX POETICS. Held at the Goodbar, it
was a night showcasing PERFORMANCE POETRY AND SPOKEN WORD in a Hip
Hop environment amongst other things, and was definitely
revolutionary for Sydney, in my eyes. Not to forget the DISCUSSION
PANELS held at UTS, where topics such as RACE AND GENDER WITHIN HIP
HOP and AUSTRALIA'S PLACE WITHIN THE INTERNATIONAL HIP HOP circuit
were discussed and debated amongst us, the practitioners, instead of
us being discussed by the suits.
Radio shows both community and national, Art exhibitions, a fashion
show - there was so much to do and see but the highlight for many
(myself included) was definitely the club night 'STORY OF HIP HOP'
held at the Globe on Elizabeth Street. DJ Sheep started off '94 til
present which personally got me in a lip-syncing frenzy (LM: 'Acey!
'Fortitude!'' Sheep: 'shut up! Go away!')...Analysis sound mighty
phat in a club by the way...by the time Nic Toth came on to spin HIP
HOP'S GOLDEN YEARS ('88-'93) the crowd was hyped and ready. And we
got all the favourites; Milk, Rakim, Stetsasonic, Native Tongues and
of course, Souls Of Mischief. When Pharcyde's 'Ya Mama' was dropped
the whole club was screaming lyrics word for word. Aw shit!
'Represent! Represent!' Crazy kids...Mark Walton took over Nic's set
to spin OLD SCHOOL and ELECTRO which got the B-Boys from Rapid Fire
and Cyber Force flippin', whilst downstairs the 'Children of Hip Hop'
(Drum 'n' bass, Jungle etc) flowed on with the swirls of sound...
No doubt an A-grade Organic chuppachup week. Big up to everyone for
sharing the good vibes and let's get together to make 'Urban
Xpresions '99' also a week to remember.