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Hip hop head stands up for the youth

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IOL Emile

Emile YX

Munyaradzi Vomo

Veteran rapper and teacher Emile YX? is slowly making his way back to the limelight.

After judging the first and second seasons of the dance reality show Step Up or Step Out, during which time he worked with young people, Emile was inspired to go back to less privileged communities in Cape Town and impart decades worth of knowledge about hip hop.

“We are giving 30-day tutorials to kids, teaching them the different elements of hip hop,” he said.

He is one of the people who pioneered hip hop in South Africa about 30 years ago, so Emile’s students have a lot to learn from the talented man.

The outreach programme will see Emile travel throughout the Western Cape to perform and teach young hip hop enthusiasts about the culture.

“We will dance and teach for free. I have asked some established hip hop artists and DJs in Cape Town to take the time and come through to chat with the youngsters,” he explained.

The idea of going to less privileged communities was inspired by the fact that Emile also grew up in those communities and fought against the odds to do well for himself.

“You can complain about what’s going on around you for as long as you want, but nothing will change unless you do something about it.

“Also, we did this because we wanted to prove that hip hop can educate people beyond the music,” he clarified.

To coincide with this programme, Emile has just completed his fourth solo CD, Born and Bred on the Cape Flats, which he worked on with people from all over the world, including countries such as Sweden, the US, Senegal, Italy, and Switzerland.

The release of the album will also see the release of the video for the title track of the same name, which has already been aired on MTV USA.

His tour will feature two of his breakdancers who have been with him for the past eight years. They are also said to be getting into rapping, so the youngsters should be inspired by this as well.

That said, Emile aims to inspire his students to be original, because he feels everyone sounds the same in South Africa.

“People here think that hip hop is in the US alone and whatever they do there we should do here as well. But look at the originality of groups like Die Antwoord… even the Americans enjoy them. Here hip hop has lost its ability to entertain. Rappers all want to sound the same and it is a sad scenario,” he said.

As he travels from one community to the next, Emile plans to show a documentary, From B-boys to Being Men, which was screened in Sweden, the US, Austria and at the Encounters Festival in this country last year.

Each community will receive a copy of the documentary after the teaching session in the hope that the young people will learn something from it.

To include your town or community in the tour,and to receive a free monthly newsletter, e-mail emileyx@gmail.com, or visit www.emileyx.co.za for information.


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