As part of the Sydney Festival 2011 'Bring Your Game' forum was organized out at Campbelltown Arts Centre which featured some of Hip Hops top talents from Australia and Aotearoa - New Zealand to share in this worldwide phenomenon.

“You can do it put your back in to it!”

Ice Cube

As part of the Sydney Festival 2011 a funky forum: Bring Your Game was organized out at Campbelltown Arts Centre  which featured some of Hip Hops top talents from Australia and Aotearoa - New Zealand to share and discuss with the initiated and un-itiated this worldwide phenomena. The panel was chaired by Leo Tanoi (his radio personality name goes by the way of the ‘Black President’) who Cultural Collections worked with on the successful Body Pacifica exhibition last year.

I went along in the hope of learning about Hip Hop culture and how Hip Hop can influence people positively. All panellists of which there were six were experienced Hip Hop artists exploring topics such as "is Hip Hop Culture relevant today?" How to stay in the game: they were only too happy to share with the audience the true realities of ‘making it big’ in an extremely competitive business.

Of interest was the Samoan-Sydney based rap artist “6 Pound” who provided some practical advice to assist youth entering the music industry. This was punctuated by NZ Hip Hop royalty, “King Kapisi” and “Teremoana Rapley” who provided their insights to working in the industry, and maximising your time while there.

 All who attended this forum (including the writer!) were given the opportunity to try out different elements of the Hip Hop culture including MC'ing, beat boxing and other cool stuff.  Having youth attend from diasporic pacific communites propelled the event along as they could relate to the culture they emulate on a daily basis through, fashion, media and the arts.

What is Hip Hop? With its origins deeply rooted in the Bronx, New York City in the late 70’s early 80’s was and is a pathway for black African-American’s to express the highs and lows of the time through rapping, or creating rhythmic beats and other ‘elements’ of expression. DJ’ing, MC’ing, scratching, beat boxing, breaking, rapping, and graffiti art are all part of the Hip Hop culture when talking about this movement - This form of expression resonates with many people’s including Pacifica youth here in NSW. So hearing what these peeps had to say about the art form was of great interest to me.

The events message I believe, was to encourage youth to trust in their abilities and have confidence sharing their talents whether this is singing, rapping, or dancing as these hip hop artists were only too glad to help them on their respective pathways.  As diasporic community members, finding places that are inclusive and foster untapped talent can only be a good thing right?

From a museum point of view, it is important to maintain close contact with the communities and reflect on art forms that resonate with pacific youth in regions where we hope to expand further relationships out in the communities to enhance collections and cultural understanding.


  • Beat boxing - Vocal percussion in rhythmic tune.
  • Breaking - A form of hip hop dance, often involves super-technical anatomical moves by the artist, usually two opposing teams ‘battle it out’ to gain bragging rights.
  • DJ’ing - Using two turntables simultaneously. They are are connected to a mixer, an amplifier, speakers, and various other pieces of electronic music equipment. The DJ will then perform a few technical tricks between the two albums currently in rotation using a number of ‘scratches’ and slides on specific dials. The result is a unique sound which can be great listening.
  • Graffiti Art - An aerosol paint can, a common tool used in modern graffiti. Originate in America around the late 1960s, graffiti was used as a form of expression by political activists, and also by gangs to mark territory. In recent times, it has become more impressive and artistic to the degree that it has wide acceptance at galleries as contemporary art.
  • MC’ ing - Rapping (also known as emceeing, MCing, spitting (bars), or just rhyming refers to "spoken or chanted rhyming lyrics with a strong rhythmic accompaniment". Rapping is distinct from spoken word poetry in that is it performed in time to the beat of the music. The use of the word "rap" to describe quick and slang speech in musical form.
  • Peeps - People