Hip Hop culture has dominated the world over the years, with the young people now tapping into the culture which is mostly associated with rap music that was started and popularised by the African Americans. According to research, the genre was founded in the late 1960s by the South Bronx youth in New York City. It has always been characterised by rap, graffiti and even the fashion sense. This has seen it spreading to the rest of the world; with rap kings like Kanye West and Jay Z idolised by most youth.
One local parent Lesego Koobake has seen rap music’s impact on her now 20 year old son. She said her son never agreed to the clothes that she bought him because they fitted too well – he preferred baggy clothes. She revealed that though in the beginning they did not tolerate it they then actually started trying to understand as parents as to why he associated himself with that culture.
She said unlike what people might think, it has not turned out to be bad for them because their son does not drink or smoke, but rather he will take time being in his room with friends listening to music and after that they will go skating if he is not busy with school work. “At first we were scared, but when we started buying him things that he wanted, he became so humble and not wayward like we thought he will turn out to be, so I don’t think it is bad for kids but rather they just need to be supported,” she said. Right now at Rasmatazz Bars in Phase 2 every Monday there is what they call the Asylum nights which they deem as hip hop mentality for all. The initiative is called MUSIC IS US. It started on the first of June and the brainchild of the movement Samora ‘Monorac’ Nthobatsang said they aim to grow the event. He said that they have realised that the hip hop culture in Botswana needed a stronger but flexible institution that can help it grow, mould it and develop into future opportunities for Batswana. “We want to have a stamp of unlimited creativity in and around the hip hop culture,” he said. The event has been supported by people in the same industry like MiU, Savanah, Bluecard, Racboiiz and Fly Entertainment and Co. He said that the place hosts female rappers, poets and even rappers in the industry like Touch Motswako.
He said that they will continue to fuse more and more functional elements each and every Monday where they will host hip hop battles, open mic’s, dance competition, album launches, fashion shows and many other performances. He said the goal is to create a hip hop culture expression hub which houses all the different elements that create the culture like music, entrepreneurship, dance, graffiti, fashion, merchandising and distribution. “This is a place where creative minds collide to invent, innovate and produce waves of trends that can form industry and grow the culture,” he added. On why they chose a bar as the venue which limits in the case of age, Monorac said they wanted a place that is central, and Rasmatazz seemed to provide that more so that they have bigger space around. He said the owners also believed in their concept as the event is free to anyone who want to be part of it either by showing their fashion line, dance skills or rapping skills.
He said that he knows that they have to include the younger people, something that they were working on in order to make sure that they come up with a place that is not age restricted. “The way you are might not sit well with other people but it is always like that. Art is never widely appreciated by anyone as much as someone can be uncomfortable seeing us in leather traditional wear,” he said.