Over thirty years ago, Hip-Hop culture had its start in the streets of The Bronx, New York City. With roots in scat singing, performance poetry, talking blues, and funk, Hip-Hop uses voice and instruments to beat out cutting-edge music with a message. Lyrically powerful and moving, it’s often accompanied by rapping (MC’ing), break-dance, graffiti, street-style games, and themes of isolation. Though sometimes called rap music, rapping is not required in hip-hop. Other elements may be used; DJing and scratching, beatboxing, and instrumental tracks.
Hip-hop dance is divided into old and new school styles. Old school includes popping, locking, and breakdance with boogaloo, electric boogaloo, tetris, waiving, robot, and more. New school adds more focused footwork and dance styles to the mix. Themes such as isolation, racism, greed, propaganda, government corruption, day life struggles, making ends meet, and the emotional overload of reality are often explored.
Hip-Hop artist Larry Hawkins (formerly SK) is a Seattle, WA based MC. Featured this year at Northwest Folklife, he’s shared the stage with Mos Def and Red Cafe and has played notable music festivals such as the Heineken City Arts Fest and The Capitol Hill Block Party. In 2013 he and childhood friend and R&B recording artist Davey Jones released the album “Butterfly Sauce.” Backed by Hip-Hop record label Sportn’ Life Music Group, Hawkins is currently working on his first solo project.
Says Hawkins, “I perform because music is passion – it is art for me – it allows me to express myself – and sometimes in life that’s what we need to take the weight off. I’ve been doing music all my life. If I never turn out to be a performer or writer, I would still have to be around the one thing I love – and that is music and performing.”
Bringing his passion to the stage, Hawkins explains, “The way I perform is full of excitement – and what happens is completely up to the song I’m performing at the time. I mean, I could be ready to jump into the crowd – or next it’s spoken word on a groovy beat. I like to take the crowd on an adventure – and my songs and performances bring that out. It will be a great sight of joy to see you there!”
Originally isolated to street culture, evidence of how deeply hip-hop has become a part of mainstream culture since its inception can be seen in the recent success of Seattle’s own Macklemore and Ryan Lewis. The pair was nominated for seven Grammy awards at the 56th Annual Grammy Awards, winning four awards including Best New Artist, Best Rap Album (The Heist), Best Rap Song and Best Rap Performance (“Thrift Shop”).
So join us and learn what fires Hawkins! With lines like these from his album Butterfly Sauce: “I’m too positive to be doubtful, too optimistic to be fearful, too determined to be defeated,” his show is bound to be great!