Words by Kwanele
Durban is a town affected by chronic lethargy induced by well, chronic - known to locals by its world-famous misnomer, Durban Poison (DP). However, it seems like the locals are smoking less, or are no longer oppressed by the intense climate that seems to condone creativity with no action.
Seriously, Hip-Hop in Durban (and surrounds) continues to snowball with every event held. Outside of Mic Check - which remains Durban's only credible regular Hip-Hop summit with its heritage forever entrenched in the grassroots and treating all of the artform's elements with equal respect - other offshoots have been spawned.
In Maritzburg, Bootlegg, organised by Mic Check regular "G-Money", featured the one and only DJ Bigga (of Chop-Su notoriety) and attracted a capacity crowd at Ritz - a considerable feat for a first-time promoter and event.
Grafitti artists have also been getting their fair bit of shine, bombing trains, commissioned walls and canvasses, walls and clubs etc, with a reassuring frequency. DJ's are beginning to break out of the mold of their bedrooms and are filling mainstream clubs like Bargo and Tilt, to name a few, with the dinghy sound of the under.
Breakers have improved through regular Mic Check competitions while the MC's - most notably Izimbongi zase Wuthawini - have been dwelling in the lab cooking up pure Zulu poetics, true to their name. Izimbongi currently have a self-titled undegroung EP blazing various townships - for orders, call Nkanyiso on 082 814 0547 (tapes: R25, CD's: R35).
However, Hip-Hop in Durban remains under the ever-increasing threat of commercialisation and appropriation from opportunists who are smelling greens - not DP, but money! This is why Mic Check is reaffirming its role as the vanguard of Durban Hip-Hop by delivering what the heads want! Mic Check has been born again - with a bigger and better venue and a tigher schedule which will bing in the country's top acts, beginning with Mizchif on August 4, 2001, at the Whitehouse on the corner of Pine and Aliwal streets (from 12 noon, entrance: R15). Any local acts wanting to promote their underground releases and/or feature physically at Mic Check, can contact Nkanyiso 082 814 0547 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, phone Nkanyiso on (031) 462-2715.
Perfect your art, preserve your culture and support local Hip-Hop!