The Ninth annual Hip Hop Kemp in sun-kissed Hradec Kralove!

Craig Monts

Written by Craig Monts Published on 27.08.2010 17:00:21 (updated on 27.08.2010) Reading time: 8 minutes

The ninth annual Hip Hop Kemp took place last weekend, drawing over 16,000 hip hop lovers from around Europe and even as far as the States. Some of the world’s most prolific and respected hip hop artists graced the main stage performing well known hits from the past and present. Musical highlights for me would have to be the mighty Foreign Beggars. The UK based group hit the main stage on Saturday evening with more energy than an atom bomb. The hard warbling basslines seemed to hit the main stage crowd like a musical tidal wave! The majority of punters reacted almost robotically by throwing their hands in the air and jumping around whenever ordered to do so. It was a great show which proved that the Beggars really are one of the best coming out of the UK right now. If you ever have the chance to see them live I recommend that you do it! It doesn’t get much better than these guys!

Also on my musical list would be Jurassic 5 front man Chali 2na. Chali is possibly the nicest man in hip hop, he spent a lot of time talk and mingling with the slightly star-struck festival crowd before and after his energetic and musical stage show. His live band ‘House of Vibes’, provided a  funky back drop for Chali’s baritone vocals which were enjoyed by all in attendance.

Three large hangars were also provided for the festival goers, offering non hip hop genres for those with a slightly more eclectic musical taste. Often these hangers were where the after parties went on late into the morning. European DJ’s: Famous Deck Team (DE), DJ Swordz (BE), Sticky Dojah (DE) & DJ’s Tuco & Quime (UK) all spun a mixed selection of tracks, everything from juke to northern soul. I enjoyed a fair few pivos with other ecstatic music lovers getting down into the small hours of the morning. The quality of music and mixing was spot on!

There were also a number of non-musical activities to be enjoyed on site, some stranger than others. For example the Axe area: where hot and bothered men could be showered down by equally hot bikini clad ‘Axe girls’. For some reason this area was constantly over crowded with smiling young men and amateur photographers! Perhaps this would be considered bad taste for the more politically correct among us but it was all done in the name of fun and seemed to be enjoyed by all that took part. Non-sexist activities included the Flying Fox! The flying fox is basically a zip line that runs from above the main stage right to the back of the festival site. Giving the user a unique overview of the crowd and festival site. The paintball section also proved to be a popular attraction, with hip hop heads getting to fire off shots of paint at a very reasonable price.

There was a great spirit at the festival, hip hop lovers from many different countries sharing beers and enjoying the great selection of music on offer. While walking round the festival I saw nothing but smiling faces under the summer sun. The Hip Hop Kemp slogan is “The festival with  atmosphere”, and it’s really true. I had a great time at the event. I guess you could say that I’m biased, being a hip hop lover at heart. But I felt that the organisers provided a really good quality 3 day event for a relatively cheap price. The mix of high quality performances, good food, cheap drinks and extra non-musical activities made for a great event. More power to the Hip Hop Kemp and all who party with her. Roll on next year’s 10th anniversary celebrations!   


LOOK BACK: HIP HOP KEMP by an member:

Hip Hop Kemp had the feeling of giving one last big fat wet kiss to summer. Action packed enough to roughen up muscles you never knew about, but quick enough to take any beatingand pay a couple days later.

Unlike recent personal adventures with leaky tents, missing equipment, and trips to the hospital, this three day affair was like sailing on clear waters with a nice wind at your back, and a steady baseline to paddle home to.

Now I should admit upfront, I´m about as up (or down) on the current state of Hip Hop as I am on the Lisbon Treaty. But good music is good music, and considering the amount of new bands to discover, I was confident in my pending re-education.

First lesson: there´s a lot more to a Hip Hop festival than just Hip Hop. I mean, I know it´s billed as a music festival, but that would seem to detract from just how much more was actually going on.

To use a literary reference, remember the part in Pinocchio where he gets taken by the Wolf to some playground where bad little boys can do anything they want all day long. Imagine that – HipHop style.

For starters, if you´ve never seen female chocolate wrestling in the flesh before, and want to know what it´s like, I´d say it tastes great in the moment, but like all things too sweet, potentially bad for your teeth if you were to cross paths against the tournament´s victor.

Judging by the spray patterns of the chocolate on my jeans, and the velocity of her hip toss, I´d bet this girl wears a GI to bed, and would destroy most Judo dojos. I almost even felt bad for the poor skinny hot girls she had to splatter on her way up who thought it was just going to be one big slippery pygama party to tease the gathered Romans.

Strange that when push came to splash, they didn´t seem to share any of my sympathies.

Luckily, for those filthy in either body or mind, Axe was there to kindly provide front row showers for the armies of Hip Hop soldiers who simply need a good lathering after a hard day of bungee jumping, gladiator fighting, and chilling.  And if your weary arms are too heavy to hit the hard-to-reach places from too much popping and locking, fear not brave B-Boy, for all the scrubbing is left up to the bikini clad tag-teams of Axe girls who will scrub all your worries away.

If I hadn´t seen it with my own eyes, I´d be hard pressed to believe just how life changing a good shower could be until I witnessed some bedraggled wanderer step up (after the MC insisted that he really take a shower), to be flogged by all four ladies of the shower into an emotional meltdown normally reserved for first place beauty queens.  

Not many of my friends know this, but before I realized that the hot chicks of my teens preferred dudes with long hair and ripped denim, I had actually once donned my very own nylon suit and shell toes, and unsuccessfully skipped school to go see Electric Boogaloo.

Yes, the manicured streets of Toronto´s East Beaches were meaner then. My family had no bottled water, so I did whatever I had to on the streets just to survive. Needless to say, as soon as I heard there would be an entire stage dedicated to break dancing, I became rather nostalgic for my humble beginnings.

For two days straight, in a seemingly endless display of energy, groove, and free spirit, a perpetual stream of B-boys and B-girls proudly took center stage to show all their best stuff in a way that would leave Newton wondering. To party-goers delight, the friendly display of gravity-defying competition inevitably spilled into the after-parties, giving an extra air of electricity to the nights.

For anyone else with a remotely competitive spirit, the Gambrinus City playground was the place to be, where the term “Beer Games” is given a whole new meaning.  I had to keep a straight face when people were being asked if they were under the influence of any drugs or alcohol before signing the customary waiver.

Unfortunately, despite a little well-placed trash talk on my part, none of my Hip Hop comrades would engage me in any head to head competition directly. Even though I gave up a good 20 kilo advantage in the tug-of-war to my Expat mates I was forced to compete against my personal bests scaling Mount Beer, and taming the wild Beer-Bull. (Probably better not to mention the wall of Velcro.) Needless to say, I kicked my own butt.  

Oh yeah, I almost forget: the music.

You don´t need to be Horatio to figure out by now that I hadn´t actually seen many bands over the weekend, but there are definitely a few that stand out.

The best way to exemplify the fun, easy going mood of the weekend was with a set from Jurassic 5´s Chali 2NA. It was clear this was a seasoned pro onstage who knew how to connect with the crowd…sending them positive energy, and reaping the rewards in a symbiotic cycle he has clearly completed many times.

Happily free of any of the stereotypical Hip Hop posturing conjured by MTV, Chali and his band certainly delivered the goods, fat, smooth and funky, under a clear sky with great vibes.

Adding another layer to the international landscape was French imports Beat Torrent, featuring SAT and Le Turf. I´ve always loved French Hip Hop for its laid back smoothness, and these guys were definitely working their charm, but as a Canadian I always find it pretty funny when a Frenchman raps or sings in English. I know I shouldn´t laugh considering my own deficiencies in Czech, but there is something pretty funny when an MC tell the crowd to “put your ands in de air if you like Eep Op”.

In a defiant contrast the other bands was I remembered the last day was Necro. I had never heard of them until some nasty beat literally pulled me from the tent and lead me in a daze to the main stage. What followed was an assault of some of the most creatively venomous lyrics I had ever heard, all delivered in a relentless staccato that seemed to stalk you like the mercury man from Terminator.

As a word of advice, if you ever need to put the fear of death into someone, leave them a voicemail recording from a Necro lyric. That dude stealing your lunch sandwiches will be looking over his shoulders for years every time he smells pepperoni. And you´ll have a great sound track to boot.

After the Necro show, things become a little fuzzy. After deciding I was ready for sleep, I do recall one last ravenous impulse to stuff as many chicken skewers, Chinese noodles, and blueberry muffins in my mouth as quickly as possible before stumbling home. One quick nap later, and it was all done.

Goodbye sweet summer. Can´t wait for the remix.

Did you attend this year’s Hip Hop Kemp? Send us your lookback, photos or stories (which band did you enjoy the most?) to The best of you will win T-shirts, CDs and caps!!


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