Hip hop tourism: LDN – Chicago – Tokyo – Beijing
Common is one of my favourite artists of all time. I remember being 17, hearing that last line to I Used to Love H.E.R. and being so hungry to go to America and hear hip hop up close.
I Used to Love H.E.R. (MP3)
I finally tracked down a copy of Resurrection the other side of the world in a Shibuya record store 5 years later. Resurrection, Like Water for Chocolate and Be are all amazing albums. For me, Common is one of those artists who waits a year or two between records, gets you sadly reminiscing about his glory days and then brap! Smacks you with a sick new tune:
I’ve reloaded this one at least 10 times since Michelle forwarded me the Stereogum post an hour ago.
Here’s my favourite Common track. Classic Primo beat:
The 6th Sense (MP3)
I’ve seen Common play 3 times, most memorably in Beijing. My mate DJ Wordy (China DMC represent) snuck me into the performers area so i got to meet him in person. As Kweli said on the Black Star liner notes, he’s a very gracious guy. I’d just come from playing downtown and he was kind enough to sign a few records and have a chat. Here’s Wordy cutting it up, I love how percussive his scratching is:
Like many of my mates back in the UK, Wordy grew up spinning US hip hop, a genre we were all trying to figure out at the same time as falling in love with it. For him growing up in China it was much harder — especially to get hold of vinyl. The first night we played together he dropped some incredible old UK hip hop tracks into his set and for the first time I was totally stunned by how much the internet had helped music to cross borders.
I rate Lily Allen on Drivin Me Wild too. Me and my mate Mustill hit her first ever show in Notting Hill last spring. It wasn’t a bad performance: tentative, a little more Little Things than Nan You’re a Windowshopper. She looks good in that spacesuit.
If you’ve ever been a hip hop tourist Patrick Neate’s book Where You’re At is an interesting read. White boy from the UK tries to connect the dots between hip hop in Rio, Jo’burg, Capetown, Tokyo and NYC. How many of us are there?
I’m not a hip hop tourist any more. But I am a bass tourist. More on that soon.