Thursday, August 23rd, 2007

The Other Shoe Drops For DJ Drama reports that Universal’s release of a legal mixtape by DJ Bear (who?) have only sold 5,800 units at cut-out prices since being released a month ago.

Drama responded, “How ironic. I guess they’ve realized just how important mixtapes are.””

The legal mixtape thing, of course, is hardly new. But there’s good reporting in this piece…

+ A UME exec admits they don’t have any, uh, clue…and

+ Retailers are like, whatever, next.

posted by @ 11:41 am | 1 Comment

Monday, August 13th, 2007

B-Boying & Hip-Hop Theatre In The NY Times :: How History Gets Distorted

I’m way past the point of being excited by seeing hip-hop dance in a place like the Times, but this piece is notable.

It tries to account for the global sophistication of b-boy/b-girl competitions in talking about the rise of South Korean b-boys and their journey into evening-length works. It also touches on Benson Lee’s fantastic new movie Planet B-Boy, which captures a year in the life of Thomas Hergenrother’s essential Battle of The Year, an event that is beginning to look like the b-boy/b-girl World Cup. Trac 2 also gets a strong mention in the piece.

At the same time, it’s waaaaaaay off the mark in terms of looking at how b-boy has moved to the theatre stage. “Battle of the Year is largely responsible for the trend toward longer, more artful works featuring characters and plot,” the author, Julie Bloom, writes.


The transformation of hip-hop dance into narrative theatre is a history that has been recounted thoroughly by Jorge POPMASTER FABEL Pabon in Total Chaos, as well as in this long piece I did on Rennie Harris and his group Puremovement. (PDF download)

Bloom even contradicts the Times’ own dance critics, who have been covering hip-hop dance theatre since the Rhythm Technicians took to the stage at PS 122 in 1991 with the acclaimed play “So What Happens Now?”, years before BOTY’s competition expanded beyond Europe. (That play could also be said to be the birth of hip-hop theatre itself.)

This is not at all a slight to BOTY’s influence on global b-boying/b-girling, which has been HUGE. It’s simply to say that Bloom overstates the case drastically, and there are effects.

This is not an incidental point. As many pioneer dancers remind me, part of the reason hip-hop dance remains the least understood of the original four elements is because few people really care to get their facts right. Many see this as a campaign to erase and deracinate hip-hop’s origins. Sometimes I agree, sometimes I don’t. But the effect can be the same.

So mad props, love, and respect to the German and South Korean massive for continuing to expand and change the game. But I’m sure even they would tell you that the history isn’t always what it’s made out to be by the mainstream media.

posted by @ 8:23 am | 10 Comments

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