Sandance Beach to bounce to the Grandfather of Hip Hop and Cypress Hill
The Sandance Beach will be taken over on Friday December 6 by one of the most hotly-anticipated line-ups of hip-hop and dance acts to visit Dubai this year.
Rappers Cypress Hill and legendary beat-maker Afrika Bambaataa are the star turns alongside Moodymann, Josh Wink, The Cuban Brothers and Stereo MCs, who all of whom will provide the entertainment over 10 hours next to Atlantis, The Palm.
We’re pretty sure none of the acts need an introduction, but for good measure we’ve got the lowdown on the lot, including a quick chat with the Grandfather of Hip Hop.
He says he’d probably be dead if it wasn’t for hip-hop. As ‘warlord’ in the Black Spades, one of New York City’s most notorious street gangs, he recruited new members. The Spades was the most feared gang in the area. To maintain its status, it clashed with police and rival gangs.
Bambaataa quit in the mid 1970s, and encouraged other members to join what would eventually become his Universal Zulu Nation. The breakdancing crew grew to incorporate graffiti artists and rappers. Bambaataa started throwing block parties in his native South Bronx. If they came because of his reputation, they stayed for his record collection. Bambaataa earned himself a new moniker: Master of Records.
“The first parties we were playing with one turntable,” Bambaataa says. “What separates me from many of the other DJs is that I’m not scared to be progressive and play different things to different audiences. I play all styles of music. The vibrations from the audience feel good.”
By the early 1980s, Bambaataa was drawing huge, largely white, crowds. In 1982, his band Soulsonic Force, began experimenting with electronica. Planet Rock, released the same year, went on to become not just a seminal moment in hip hip but a track whose influence would be felt across electronic music for the next three decades. The track is listed in Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. Even today, it still sounds like the sound of the future.
He continued to break new ground – collaborating with James Brown, Bootsy Collins, Joey Ramone and John Lydon. With the rise of ‘EDM’ in America, Bambaataa says it’s time more of music’s pioneers were given credit. “I’m glad that people are getting into different styles of dance music. But radio stations should play the old with the new so people know where it came from.
Bambaataa has swapped his records for a laptop (“Nobody would be crazy enough to come with crates now; they don’t want to lose precious vinyl”) but the old skills prevail.
“Some DJs have setlists that they go by. I never could. I feel a crowd out. I play things that make them move. I like to take people on a musical journey – one style of music, then jump to another, so people hear what they least expect. You’re a DJ. If you can play it all, play it all. Let them get down and have a good time. Everybody has a good time once they open up.”
The Universal Zulu Nation marks its 40th anniversary this year. For Afrika Bambaataa, music has lost none of its magic. “The perfect beat. That’s what keeps me out here, still travelling.”
The California trio who brought you 1990s hip hop anthems such as Insane In The Brain, I Ain’t Goin’ Out Like That and Rap Superstar, Cypress Hill, are coming to headline the main stage. The west coast collective have been active for more than 20 years, first bringing their distinct brand of Latino rap to the mainstream with their self-titled 1991 debut, which changed hip hop forever.
THE CUBAN BROTHERS
A bit of soul, some funk, breakdancing and dodgy Spanish accents make The Cuban Brothers, Kengo San, Miguel Mantovani and Archerio, one of the most watchable deck displays you’ll see. With their penchant for crazy outfits, it’s no surprise these showmen have been hired by the likes of Elton John for private parties.
The British rap/pop act scored a huge hit in 1992 with their debut album Connected. It’s rumbling bassline and memorable vocals from Rob Birch made them chart names and snagged them a shelf full of awards. Now successful remixers, notably of Madonna’s hit single Frozen, the Stereo MCs continue to shape the music we hear today and will play a DJ set on the main stage.
BEST OF THE REST
America is represented at the Sandance Beach gig by DJ Josh Wink, who came to the fore in 1995 with his techno anthem Higher State of Consciousness. Detroit house legend Moodymann also appears at the House Arena.
Sandance Beach, Atlantis The Palm, Dubai, 4pm to 2am, Dhs250. Tel: (04) 3688098. Taxi: Atlantis The Palm. infusion.ae