Kulani Nkuna
2 minute read
15 Aug 2013
5:50 am

Hip hop culture revived

Kulani Nkuna

It is always essential for the purists and the romantics to hark back to the past when imagining hip hop.

This act is, for the most part, designed to soothe current frustrations with the genre, which only really has a handful of credible rappers or emcees doing duty in the game. For this year’s edition of the Sprite Uncontainable Hip Hop Festival, scheduled to take place on August 25, it seemed fitting to embark on a nostalgic journey to a time when things were better for both the genre and the brand.

Sprite was firmly entrenched with hip hop and in one of their commercials in 1995, rappers were seen freestyling with great vigour, much to the delight of young, impressionable viewers. The rallying call of the day was “Image is nothing, thirst is everything, obey your thirst”. Such ads were the catalyst for many a rap career, as local lads were starved for any hip hop content from the United States and elsewhere.

Today, the focus is on fine tuning and imparting knowledge to those who harbour ambitions of being a rapper through Sprite’s Uncontainable search. Earlier this year, hundreds of hopefuls turned up on a chilly Saturday to flex their creative muscles and compete to be picked as one of the finalists in the popular talent competition. The entrants were split up into the three founding elements of the culture – breaking (dance), emceeing (rapping) and graffiti art.

It is now down to to the wire and only 12 contestants remain, with four hopefuls in each category poised to go for glory on August 25. Rapper Reason and Simba from Masters Of Rhythm have been poring over the contestants’ abilities and are also working closely with them.

“There are many different types of talents that exist in hip hop,” explains Reason.

“Looking at these guys, they could be anyone you see every day. On stage, they showed us the different faces of hip hop at their best. I’m really proud of all of them and I’m curious to see who’s going to win.”

On the dance side of things, Simba felt that the bar was set higher this year than it was last year.

“I felt that the dancers came prepared on the day,” he said.

“The dancers’ vocabulary, in terms of hip hop styles, needs to improve though. But the creativity and level of performance has gone up since last year.”