Written by Alan Ng
Edited by Jenkin Au and Alan Ng
Photography by Jenkin Au
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Whenever someone steps out of his or her own environment, they step into a realm of disadvantageous surroundings. The basic instincts of a human being’s adaptation are immediately alerted due to the climate, time zone, and unfamiliar inhabitants. While the new setting may seem problematic to the average person, to people immersed in street culture, it is often perceived as a different aspect of persistence. For break-dancers, rappers, graffiti artists, emcees, and DJ’s, they are able to not only adapt, but also compete through the universal language of hip-hop.
For a competitor to step into another city to battle others for a title or championship, the term home advantage is usually brought up. How does this aura of being in your home environment compare to an outsider coming in to a new environment? To a certain degree, knowing your surroundings and being able to stay grounded could be an obvious advantage but comparing to the unpredictability and the fear that one brings with them at times might evoke an even more powerful force.
In many cultures, being an outsider or stranger can be challenging as one has to adapt and learn a new language in order to be able to interact and flow with different groups of people – this, however, goes the other way for hip-hop. Through street culture, for someone who carries a certain level of reputation or have lived a life filled with valuable experiences, their take on these challenges are quite different – their reputation and experience offerings translates immediately to respect. Even without a name, your performance determines the amount of respect that should be attributed.
Through fear, and the pursuit of sharing your skills in a new realm, the ability for one another to communicate in this language of hip-hop allows people to be in equal situations, regardless of territory. Through the ability to instantly prove oneself through skill level and the will to show their true colours, the disadvantageous factors of being in an unfamiliar environment becomes non-existent. People traveling to compete while holding their beliefs and skills create a much broader spectrum of positively in the sense of promoting and cultivating the future of hip-hop.
How do you feel about the similarity and differences of various environments promoting hip-hop and street culture? Do you think there’s a certain type of home advantage or are the elements of hip-hop grounded within a fair setting across societies?