Written by Alan Ng and Ping Pong
Edited by Ping Pong
Photography by Patrick Giang
Inarguably, people deal with stress everyday in their lives, but what does this really mean for people that are putting so much weight on themselves? There are different types of people in the world and this implies different standards for everybody, hence creating multiple degrees of pressure points. Those who set simple goals could be viewed to others as lazy, and those who chase their dreams could be viewed as stubborn or foolish. So what does this exactly mean?
In the world of hip-hop, these pressures implied on MCs, DJs, b-boys, graffiti-writers are all quite different. The success of each of the elements is not only measured differently, the people who set the pressure on the above are different people as well. By recognizing where their pressure point is manifested, we can then further understand the elemental pressure that is implied directly towards them, and with that understanding, be able to see how that is compared with the person’s goals.
For MCs and rappers, there is a lot of comparison between classes of rappers. One of the direct influences of how much pressure is enforced to them is their manager or label; when working with an artist, not only is their job for booking shows or interviews important, it is also vital that they put the artist on the right track. While many managers or labels allow freedom of expression from the artist, milestones and goals must be set to allow MCs to have a foresight of their career. Compared to the average MC’s dream of becoming the best rapper, this is quite important because external short time goals give you the pressure to stay focused.
Let’s move on to the next element: DJs. Unlike rappers or MCs, many successful DJs nowadays deal with the pressure to keep up with technology and it is also a much more individual sport. It’s up to the individual DJ to polish their craft on the 1s and 2s. While DJ lessons and tutorials do help, how successful a DJ is is greatly determined on how much pressure they apply on themselves. Due to the fact that there are so many DJs out there and the ease of picking up Serato and start labeling yourself as a DJ, the more pressure you impose on yourself, the farther you go.
Breakers should not only find the need to perform better individually, but also be able to find a legitimate crew that looks after you – the crew that puts the right amount of pressure on you and stays honest. With that pressure, you are fighting for a common goal, and through that, the crew’s reputation gets stronger.
Graffiti writers hold the pressure of creating original art and also being able to be ever-so creative to experiment with different types of mediums. For the commercial graffiti artists out there, there’s the pressure to abide to the requests of the clients. For the legends, the pressure to continue doing work on the streets and to make your presence strong is important, but this also holds a high considerable amount of risk.
Looking through the elements of hip-hop and outlining each of the specific pressure points allows us to see what factors give certain people different aspects of stress with the overall agenda to improve themselves. In the world of hip-hop, there’s also the pressure between creating legitimate underground art and also works for commercial purposes. The more successful you are, the more responsibility and expectations are bestowed upon you. While combating each of your pressure points, it’s also important to question yourself the fundamental question of balancing the stress and your love for the game.