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Friday, July 11, 2008


I missed last year's Afro-punk festival altogether--I distinctly remember planning to to make it over to Brooklyn for at least the block party, but couldn't fit it in to that Sunday's schedule. As I wrote to some cats last July, I claimed to be "too beat from the last couple days, and got to chill/get some errands done before the work weeks starts up again." (I see from the e-mail thread that the previous couple of days had included seeing Pharoahe Monch at the Highline Friday night, and "Radio Golf" on Broadway Saturday night, and I had a soccer game Sunday afternoon, so it's understandable I didn't trek from Chelsea deep into Clinton Hill for the block party.)

I also missed about half of this year's festival, which has been running July 4-13, as we were out of town over the long 4th weekend. But upon returning to Fort Greene on Sunday, I've gotten a good taste of the happenings: stopped by the skate park Monday and Tuesday afternoons (I'd even volunteered though to do some voter registration, but didn't end up hooking up with those people); and I got us tickets to see the "flagship"/title movie of the festival Wednesday night, with James Spooner introducing it. We'll see if I can squeeze in a visit to the concert in Fort Greene Park tomorrow (in between a possible trip to the Brklyn Botanic Gardens in the morning, some sneaker shopping Anj wants to get in on Flatbush, and the Brooklyn Hip Hop festival, which starts at 4pm (flyer here), and the festival afterparty ("Detroit Comes to Brooklyn"!)--I'll have to do a separate post on those, assuming we make it.)

And definitely want to swing by this year's block party Sunday'll be much easier to do so this year, as it's been easy to stop by the skate park and make it to at least one movie, as we live in the neighborhood.

A couple resulting thoughts: I won't pretend that I'm not quite completely an outsider to this culture--quite obvious that, since I'm neither afro nor punk (neither in lifestyle nor listening, as the movie in particular drove home), nor do I don't skate (apart from taking out Anj's long board a couple times a few weeks ago--the last time ended ignominously, on the pavement of Fort Greene Park).

All that made me think again about whether (or, to what extent) I remain an outsider to the culture of hip hop that I do identify with. Moments like that, I remind myself of Mos's verses on "Fear Not of Man":

people be askin me all the time,
"Yo Mos, what's gettin ready to happen with Hip-Hop?"
I tell em, "You know what's gonna happen with Hip-Hop?
Whatever's happening with us"
If we smoked out, Hip-Hop is gonna be smoked out
If we doin alright, Hip-Hop is gonna be doin alright
People talk about Hip-Hop like it's some giant livin in the hillside
comin down to visit the townspeople
We are Hip-Hop Me, you, everybody, we are Hip-Hop
So Hip-Hop is goin where we goin
So the next time you ask yourself where Hip-Hop is goin
ask yourself.. where am I goin? How am I doin?

Got to love that line about hip hop being like some giant living in the hillside, coming down to to visit the townspeople!

No coincidence that there's a 4CD(!) Mos box set titled "We Are Hip Hop, Me, You Everybody". I think I saw this in the record shop on Ann Arbor, but passed on it at the time...

Looking fwd to this weekend's final Afro-punk events, and to being in Fort Greene through next year's installment--and maybe hosting some friends for it.

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