Let us introduce you to a project straight from the bboy’s world, and made by an ardent activist and a hip hop lover : Bret Downroc Syfert (Ready to Rock, 7$). After spending several months in Rwanda to help orphans in the streets of Kigali through workshops, and materialized this action with two shorts films (Kigali Street Kids & Yes Man!) and an album Kigali Street Kids, he returned with another medium, another way to express his desire to share his passion for Hip Hop. Here are his words, to present his project …
Hip hop is labeled as a sub culture, but what does that even mean? A friend recently told me that a human being can only remember about 100 to 150 other people in their lives, so maybe sub cultures are our way of simulating smaller tribal structures.
As a kid, hip hop became a medicine for me to stay sane in what seemed like an insane society. By studying its traditions, interacting with its practitioners and expressing myself through it, I slowly became a part of it. “Ready to Rock” is my way of sharing what the culture has given me through the medium of the comic book.
The culture has become so huge and commercialized that it is hard for newcomers to see, feel and understand its original essence. This comic book attempts to do this by first stripping away all distractions and starting from scratch in a science fiction environment. Here’s the preface: Millions of years after mankind’s extinction the only evidence of its existence is vinyl records, because everything else has decomposed. A new species of giraffe-like humanoids called Breyks digs these records from the earth and learns to listen to them using sharpened animal horns. Without realizing it, they re-create hip hop culture within their own tribal structure and the cycle continues.
Issue #01, “It’s Just Begun”, introduces the story (including the logo by graffiti legend Serval) and hopefully leaves the hip hop fan hungry for more. The 7″ record that comes with it was produced side-by-side with the comic by my friend and fellow culture junkie Aidan Orange. I showed him drafts of the story and artwork as I went along, and he produced two tracks for the record with the right feel. One is a contemplative boom-bap head-nodder entitled “The Breyks” and the other is a bboy-ready mix of breakbeats called “Ready to Rock”. The latter may sound to the layman like a funky mix of existing records, but it goes much deeper than that. Each beat on the track combines the rhythm from one record with the melody from another. They all work beautifully though, as though they were first recorded that way.
The day after releasing 100 copies of the comic/record combo, they were already sold out, but a reprint of 50 more will be available at Cola Con (hip hop, comics and culture convention) in Columbia, South Carolina, USA on 25–26 October. After that, you’ll have to wait until Issue #02 which will only be available from http://hydeslovelies.com.