Saturday, May 28, 2022

Graffiti: the unseen beautiful hand of hip hop culture

The name graffiti is an Italian word, derived from graffito, which means scrapping or tagging on the walls.

For years when hip hop culture came to life, graffiti came to be a sub culture or element of hip hop, which has contributed significantly to the whole movement of the music genre.

Graffiti evolved into a cultural existence, which penetrated hip hop music adding to other elements, such as break dancing, Djing, Mceeing or Rap (Rhythm and Poetry), a lifestyle that remains hidden from the public view or the general public scope. Although graffiti has been perceived with negativity due to its link to gangsterism, it has continued to silently blossom into another important stake of hip hop culture as part of the communication of positive messages about the hip hop conscious mandate, e.g. paintings of the names of the lost members of hip hop, or messages of oppression from governments on certain groups.

According to its history, Graffiti goes back to ancient Rome but gained much momentum when it was introduced on the streets of New York in the late 60s, where it was done on the subway trains by Hip Hop artists.

In hip hop festivals, one would find different artists doing all the elements, Break dancing, Djing, Mceeing and taking on the podium with rap skills and other artists showing their skills on the wall doing graffiti art with the use of spray paints or any other paints.

However, the art has grown to the point that it is now even printed on everything, including clothing, shop walls and, among the hip hop heads, it has even turned into a competition where hip hop graffiti artists can battle, compete and display.

Francistown-based Hip Hop graffiti artist, Kgosietsile Choppa Moalosi, told the Sunday Standard in an interview that he liked the art since Secondary School when he fell in love with hip hop world-acclaimed groups like the Naughty by Nature, Slum Village and Kriss Kross.

“During those days we used to paint pictures and would compete with some of the guys in my location by spraying paints on walls at night when people were asleep but it was risky though,” he reveals.
He went on to indicate that his passion for graffiti developed after he saw the paintings of the late slain rappers, Tupac Shakur and Notorius B.I.G in a magazine, which were painted on the walls on the streets of New York.

He added that he now does it on his notepads not on the walls as it would get him in conflict with the law but maintained that he has even done it inside the walls of his rooms.

However, although graffiti has not been embraced by the wider communities, it continues to grow at an escalating rate and has continued to be appreciated by hip hop culture, which is the fastest growing industry in the world.


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