Fusicology Senior Editor, Jocelyne Ninneman, sat down with Hip-Hop-Future-Soul-Music legend and Zulu Soul Sonic Force Nation leader, Afrika Bambaataa, and his MC Kamaaz just hours before their feature performance at this year’s Detroit Movement Festival (now being dubbed by insiders as the “Detroit Future Music Festival”) to chat about popular music then and now, sovereign states, and Virgin Air. Oh, and some voodoo. (video footage below)
F: If you could describe in 1 sentence what the reaction of the people felt like when performing during the birth of the New York Hip Hop scene, how would you describe it?
AB: It felt like they were receiving the frequency of the vibrations to liberate themselves and be free… the bringing back of the Ma’at – the balance.
F: When do you remember the term “Hip Hop” starting to really get used? Who / Where / What did that term come from?
AB: Well, the term Hip Hop was a cliche my good friend Lovebug Starski started to use in his rap, and we used to say “Hippin to the Beat, Hoppin to the Funk, that makes you move your feet.”
F: Was there name you and your peers were using to identify your earliest music and culture before really using the term Hip Hop?
AB: We used to just say we were gonna “go off” or “jitterbug,” and of course “wild stylin.”
F: What was it for you that opened the door for you step out and really start expressing who you were or the concepts you felt compelled to project?
AB: Simple. I was raised up on the music that inspired me… Motown, Stax, P-Funk, James Brown, EWF, The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, you know.
F: So what major differences do you see, if any, between the youth music culture of today versus when you were coming up?
AB: It’s dumbed-down, definitely. Most of the music reaching kids today is limited flavor, and not really connecting each genre back to the roots, like it should.
F: That being the case in popular music of late, what do you predict is going to happen in the next year in the global music media industry?
AB: Well first of all, it’s not just the world or the Earth anymore… it’s an industry of the universe. These are terms being used in the new legal contracts for record deals and bookings. It’s real. You’ve seen or heard about the new Virgin Air space planes? 200-seaters for consumer trips to space… soon we’ll be having concerts on other planets.
F: So you also see this movement into, or back to, the live experience being at the focal point of the music industry?
AB: Of course, this is why I always design my sets to be audience participation shows. Everyone in the room is a part of the show. That’s the way it should be, not just me or my group projecting out at everyone else.
F: You’ve been to Detroit before, yeah? AB: Oh yeah, many times. F: What does Detroit mean to you? What has stayed with you?
AB: Well of course Motown and motor cars. And the Rave scene and early Hip Hop scene. Being at gigs where it’s great to see like 50 people at a party that are all different and from diverse backgrounds…yet, they hate on each other…like they’re fighting because they’re so hungry…
F: WOW. *nods head* Now I know you have some very distinct views on world politics right now [wink, wink]… can you tell us a bit about any players we should be watching, or any powerful things you have observed?
AB: Well, of course the current US President… he’s interesting to follow, but we have to watch everybody right now. I think we are going to start seeing alot more sovereign states, a power shift. You know, we can’t get caught up on these supposed “privileges” that the government gives you… like the “right to travel” for example. You have to decide; are you a US citizen? Or are you a natural being – a citizen of the Earth?
*Interview Footage courtesy 6 Minutes TV Detroit*
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— Jocelyne Ninneman for Fusicology.com