Sunday, December 11, 2011

Hip hop is on the move


One of the most inspiring things about the generally dull election this year has been the radicalisation of hiphop culture. The release of Home Brew and Tourettes's track Listen to us, the mobilisation of Maori voters by South Auckland hiphop artist Young Sid and the release of Genocide's anthem Stand Up for Mana show that the mood is shifting amongst youth. John Key's Government isn't just passively disliked but now actively hated and campaigned against by the organic intellectuals of the young, poor and the restless.

The aggressive and racist tactics of the New Zealand police towards first Tiki Taane in Tauranga and just recently Scribe in Wellington for freestyling an anti-police rap is illustrative of the arbitrary and discriminatory nature of New Zealand's justice system where young Maori and Polynesian men are targeted and profiled by an aggressive police force disconnected with the communities they operate in.

Maybe the clearest sign that hiphop is on the move is the standing of activist rapper Jayson Gardiner as a Mana Movement candidate in Tauranga. His latest track People's Party clearly shows the potential of Mana to bring radical, anti-capitalist, pro-Maori, working class politics to young people around the country. Gardiner, coming from the site of the Rena grounding and an area of New Zealand with high youth unemployment may quickly emerge as the voice of a restless generation revolution that won't pay for the crisis and can't wait for change.

If the hiphop generation in Mana follows their comrades overseas into becoming generation revolution then it will cause shockwaves across Aotearoa and inspire youth in our Pacific neighbours like Fiji, Tonga and the Solomon Islands to rise up as well.

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