Why an indie dj loves hip-hop…

You might think I’m overstating the case, calling myself an indie dj, but I am at least a person who puts a lot of thought and time into her dj sets in Second Life. I aim for an overall effect, to promote a certain mood in the club I’m in and I check that the beginnings and ends of tracks mix well (or at least don’t clash horribly in the worst case scenario).

What’s more, I’ve loved alternative and indie music instinctively ever since I got Human League’s Dare album from my brother when I was seven years old. So that was my path. End of story, or so you might think.

I grew up in a town whose industry had died (lace making) and which was struggling economically and with the hordes of young dissatisfied people roaming the streets with nothing to do. It was a very multi-cultural area, there were plenty of differences of upbringing, religion and ideas between us kids, but we all had one thing in common, we were bored! When I hung around with groups of other kids, or went to the local youth club, the culture was hip-hop. I grew up listening to Grandmaster Flash, NWA, Beastie Boys and Run DMC (amongst many others). I didn’t own any of this music, it was just piped into my ears like a soundtrack for life, everywhere I went.

I was confused by some of the ideas and slang. For instance, some of the boys I knew would say ‘word’ after they spoke (or someone else did) and I remember asking what it meant. The guy I asked said ‘that’s my word, you know?’ I said ‘No? What is your word?’ and he kinda sloped off laughing a bit at the girl who didn’t get it and probably suspecting I was being deliberately obtuse, but I genuinely had no idea. I went off wondering if each person had a special ‘word’ which they didn’t say, but said ‘word’ instead. I wondered what my ‘word’ would be and if it mattered, as I’d never have to say it.

Half the time I couldn’t have told you what was being played, who it was, or what they were talking about and I didn’t even know I liked it until I grew up and it stopped. There were times when I found it a bit scary (lots of swearing, some aggressive sounding shouting), so maybe it wasn’t until I was in my twenties that I realised what I’d been listening to – the voice of my generation, the poets of the age.

Those of you who know me will already know that I love words, reading, listening, writing. I love how words work and rappers bring colour and dimension to those words, wrap them around, play with them and give them new meaning.

Now, as a fully ‘grown-up’ woman, I realise I’ve loved hip-hop all along. There… I said it. That’s my ‘Word’ dawg.

Street art project run by the same local youth leader as was in the saddle when I was a kid. The guy should get a medal!
Street art project run by the same local youth leader as was in the saddle when I was a kid. The guy should get a medal!

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