Written by Jenkin Au
Edited by Alan Ng
Photography by Patrick Giang
When it comes to the creative arts and cultures, staying true to your roots and culture is essential when carrying yourself as an artist of new media. Whether you are a rookie or seasoned veteran, remembering and paying homage to your community and subject is one of the most important things while developing your own personal skills and career. However, one should never limit themselves to the same genre and style.
Exploring other styles and genres allows someone to be inspired in ways that could never have been possible if they kept on listening and seeing the same thing throughout their career. It turns into an informational incest; a straight regurgitation of the same thing done over and over again. The product is a dull resample of what was once great but has now been turned into something almost disrespectful to the original producers. What artists of all types need to do is diversify their knowledge bank and inspiration sources to be able to truly create.
For example, a bboy looking for new moves can look within the bboy community and see what other people are doing. What he or she must do is to flip what they saw into a flavour that belongs to them, otherwise they will just be biting the next person. After a little while, everything may seem to look the same with slight modifications and extensions. But what if they stop feeling inspiration and start feeling dry from the repetition? At this point, they can then turn to other styles and incorporate that into their arsenal, such as incorporating martial arts into their techniques or jazz moves for a bit of flavour. Incorporation of moves completely different from before will give rise to new inspirations and subgenres of dance that still have the bboy style to it.
Another example is a musical artist. A hip-hop artist doesn’t need to stick straight to hip-hop for their whole lives. They can turn to rock or pop for influences in ways to change their music. Many artists venture to different genres to take their music to a whole new level and sometimes the whole genre evolves. They also blend different genres together to produce an entirely new genre.
Many people consider switching genres as selling out, but I feel that selling out is only when you turn to another style for money or for popularity, or incorporating moves and styles that doesn’t resonate with the original style. Retention of the original style is required for it to still be classified as that specific genre. If an artist is turning to a different genre because of pure interest and self-development, they shouldn’t be flamed for the fact that they are pursuing something for a genuine purpose.