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The Realness

July 15, 2010

影响. yǐng xiǎng. influence.

What shocked me most was not that Premier was in Beijing. Nor that he emotionally shouted out Guru over 50+ times throughout the show and played until 3am. The biggest surprise was the crowd and WHO it was composed of.

Upon walking up to the entrance of one of Beijing’s most well known spots, Yugong Yishan, there were about forty people in groups scattered around.  Taking note of who was there I was shocked to see that everyone was Chinese.  I was sure of it, dj premier in beijing, there was no doubt in my mind that he was going to attract all those hip-hop loving expatriates.  the dudes from the ivory coast & nigeria involved in the import-export business.  those study abroad students who go to santlitun every weekend to party and pick up asian girls.

Not only was everyone Chinese, they were young. Ranging from 16 and upwards.  I could not have been happier.  Why?  Yes, one reason is because premier, a hip-hop legend who “has been able to influence the style and swag of people all over the world,” was about to perform in an intimate venue in China.  But also because this crowd represented something.

All to often our company puts on shows, bringing in international musicians, and the crowd is mainly foreigners.  We are aware of this, and its certainly our objective to find a natural way to erase all borders at our shows.   The music is good, that is not the issue, rather it is a matter of acceptance, taste, awareness and feeling.  To influence and move people through music is not a matter clever or savvy marketing.  It is rooted in the music itself, how people connect to it and are moved by it.

Inside wasn’t very different.  The place was crowded and becoming more packed as the show neared with young Chinese males.  Many rocked fresh brimmed yankee caps, or there favorite nba jersey.  Some even sported Gangstarr t-shirts which they held up and waved with pride throughout the performance. Premier even stopped the show several times to recognize this representation.

The whole show was an interaction.  Premier is an intelligent dude and instantly picked up on the vibe of the crowd.  Mostly the initial timidness of the many standing there, watching one of their hip-hop idols from up-close.  It wasn’t brooklyn & premier recognized.  He interacted with the crowd the entire show–calling them out for not being loud enough, or preaching inspirational words about hip-hop, the history of it and its founders (many of the names i can’t even recall), and mentioning the likes of notorious b.i.g, run dmc, tupac.  Mostly, that in hip-hop there is “always a message involved.”

Whether or not they understood all, or anything that premier preached was secondary to the fact that this was the crowd.  That these are the people here in China listening, and being influenced by good music.  It is encouraging to know that someone as talented, good-intentioned and real as premier and guru are able to communicate to the young generation here.

“That makes me know that we we we we’re doin
We had the right idea in the beginning
And and we just need to maintain our focus and elevate
We what we do we update our formulas
We have certain formulas but we update em (oh right)
with the times and everything y’know
So y’know the rhyme style is elevated
The style of beats is elevated but it’s still Guru and Premier
And it’s always a message involved”

Here is a short-video i put together from the show (its HD so it might take sometime to load). enjoy:

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