Throughout time I have heard arguments, dialogues, and discussion about progression of Hip Hop in the Eastern Cape and there is one concept that keeps popping up on various levels: the UNITY concept. There is a belief that without unity from the role players, true progress cannot be made and reasons are tabled. Some are valid, some are half cooked and some just completely misunderstand the concept.
I believe also, in unity we find strength and divided we fall. I get this. But what do I mean? Need I not qualify my statement? Do I picture a provincial Hip Hop label signing every rapper? Do I envision a studio facility that belongs to heads and people can freely access without obligations? No, I frankly do not subscribe to the idea that we need to be this one group that works in unison. I’m saying that because I have seen that smaller groups of dedicated individuals are more productive and impactful.
I support the version of collaborative efforts unity where teams cross-pollinate. Outsourcing of skills and expertise from different teams. If we are strong in administration we help out the ones who are strong on graphics and we exchange skills to grow each other and the industry. This kind of arrangement may eliminate parasitic behaviour where one wants to receive and hardly shares. Principle is Ina Ethe.
More practically: if it is your birthday bash, we offer our services to you free of charge and you do the same on ours. We collaborate on a song, we equally push the music; each use our network to get the music maximum exposure. We stop petty beef which in its essence is envy. Stop only showing interest in EC Hip Hop only when it directly affects you. Applaud solid moves. Check out more acts not just your immediate circle. Go to shows even when you not performing.
We should transcend mythical unity and start dialogues that propels us to a more pragmatic way of working together. Hip Hop is a diverse and beautiful thing. I will preserve diversity over unity any day. Let’s complement rather. Enkosi.