The Council of Ethnic Organization hosted a panel discussion called “What is Hip Hop, Anyway?” Tuesday night at the Cullen Performance Hall that featured rapper Bun B, graffiti artist Article, B-boy dance crew Havikoro and local radio station Hot 95.7 DJs The Kracker Nuttz.
The panel was geared toward bringing three basic aspects of hip-hop culture to the forefront: B-boy dancing, graffiti and music.
After an opening breakdance routine by Havikoro, moderator Adrian Edmonds took the stage to pose questions to participants that sought out the artists’ history and how their craft has changed over time.
Article recalled his appreciation of graffiti which began at 13 years old while he was at a friend’s house watching an Aerosol Warfare video.
Around that time the artists he was hanging out with were listening to rapper Dr. Dre’s “The Chronic.”
Music had an influence on graffiti, Article said.
As an artistic youth who did not have resources like gallery space and supplies, he began doing graffiti to express himself.
“We took it upon ourselves to go wild through the cities in the early 90s,” Article said.
Bun B said that as a youth he was inspired by rapper Rakim’s song “Microphone Fiend” and spoke on the history of Houston’s northside-southside rivalry.
He has established himself as one of the most reliable voices in hip-hop today by participating in lectures, interviews and panels.
Bun B has been able to offer insight and sturdy responses to questions about the history of the genre and questions that are riddled with today’s trending topics evoked by the Internet.
He mentioned the accessibility of computer software and how things were different when he began as a musician.
Bun B also acknowledged the fact that he was participating in a scholarly event on a college campus and underscored the difference between a packed concert venue and a seated auditorium panel focused on discussion.
“People know that I’m not here to entertain, I’m here to inform.”
The Kracker Nuttz expressed their take on hip-hop’s presence in the radio and promoted their message: Don’t let the station insult you by telling you what you want to hear.
Being DJs has been about playing music that the people want to hear, the DJS said.
Havikoro, a Houston B-boy dance crew that began in 1999, mentioned their accomplishment overseas achieved through dedication.
One member spoke on individuality and how YouTube has affected B-boy dancing with tutorial videos displaying moves that many can watch and attempt to adopt.
“They get on YouTube and just mock it to the T”, he said.
“One important key is to practice in person and develop a personal style,” said another member.
By telling stories of their experience in their respective fields, the panel made an impression that promoted fresh ideas.
Each participant was dedicated to their craft and promoted culture under the umbrella of hip-hop.
One message instilled by Bun B was that to succeed in hip-hop, a new perspective is needed and artists have to carve their own lane.
“Doors wouldn’t be opened unless someone knocked,” Bun B said. “All it takes is one person to turn this campus on its head tomorrow.”