From 1st to 18th March, hip-hop culture flooded venues all over Nantes as the 14th edition of Hip Opsession went underway. Dance, art, concerts, club nights and discussions, there was something for everyone during the festival. Vibration vests and French sign language interpreters were present at most events, and there was even access to live audio descriptions of the dance Battle.
Ellen from the Breakfast and Afternoon shows took to the festival to indulge our listeners in interviews and even a live session from some of the DJs, dancers, artists and journalists who were present at Hip Opsession this year.
On the first weekend, the Battle Opsession took over the Lieu Unique, exposing the diversity of dance styles that form part of hip hop culture. The battle brought together some of the talent that exists all over Europe and the world, including judges, beat makers and 200 dancers from 24 different countries under one roof at the Lieu Unique.
In anticipation of the event, Ellen spoke to DJ One Up, DJ for the Saturday night battle. Celebrating his tenth year of DJing the battle, One Up talked to us about his beat making, and the spirit of hip hop that runs throughout the festival.
Ellen also caught up with Kapela before the Friday night battle – one of France’s most celebrated house dancers and one of the three judges of the battle’s House section. Kapela spoke to us about what he looks for in the dancers as a judge, the different ‘flavours’ of dance all over the world, and gives some words of wisdom for aspiring dancers.
As the opening weekend of the festival and the battles came to a close, the first week kicked off with the panel discussion, « Parlons Sampling », that took place at Médiatheque Jacques Démis. Brice Micelet, Lord Funk, DJ Pharoah and DJ Moar came together to discuss the history of sampling in hip-hop, taking Micelet’s new book, « Sampling! Aux origines du son hip-hop » as a starting point. Ellen spoke to Micelet following the event to learn a bit more about where his project began, the significance of sampling and the importance of hip hop in society today.
Madame Rap, the online plateforme dedicated to women in hip-hop, was the focus of the second panel discussion that took place at the festival. Eloïse Bouton, journalist, feminist, LGBTQ+ et founder of Madame Rap, spoke to us about feminism, sexism in the music industry, notions of masculinity and how she envisions change, among much more. Find a written version of the interview translated into English here.
Continuing from women in hip-hop, one of the next discussions to take place had a focus on hip-hop culture in Tunisia. « Tunisie: révolution hip-hop » began with a projection of the documentary « Les Fleurs de Bitume », directed by Karine Morales et Caroline Péricard. The documentary follows the lives of three different women in Tunisia with a focus on the presence of women in the street art of hip-hop culture. After the projection, there was a discussion between the Morales and members of the collective DEBO, Vipa and Trappa, followed by a performance by Vipa. Rapper and DJ, Vipa and Trappa, also accompanied by their VJ, Godzy, came into the Euradio studios for a very special live session and interview prior to the event. Vipa performed the tracks « Bouncy » and « Frijidère » from his new album « Aadheka Libik ». They also spoke to us about the work of DEBO, their multidisciplinary project that aims for a social as much as artistic impact in the city of Tunis
On Thursday 15th March, Le Ferrailleur lit up with a formidable line-up hosting Danitsa, Reverie and Camp Lo. Danitsa, Beligum based artist whose debut album « Ego » was release 24th November 2017 on Evidence Records, was first to perform. Ellen caught up with Danitsa before the show to talk about the evolution and concepts behind the album.
Underground L.A rapper, Reverie, was next to storm the stage with her high energy and impeccable flow. On and off stage she exudes passion, compassion and determination. Sharing her experiences and her passion, she knows why she is here and what she wants to achieve. Reverie spoke about her experiences touring in the USA and Europe, and the different approach taken during the creation of her most recent album, « Satori ». Broaching challenging subjects of personal experience and mental health, Reverie opens a dialogue and provides comfort and relief for her listeners.
The most visible element of hip-hop culture is music, but the multitude of other aspects that form a whole can often pass under the radar. Over the course of 18 days, however, with 68 events and more than 350 artists, Hip Opsession #14 shone an inclusive, accessible and expansive spotlight on a culture that lives and breathes in diverse and dynamic forms all over the world. The artists interviewed by Euradionantes are merely a snapshot of the festival as a whole, giving a taste of the spirit of hip-hop and atmosphere that moved throughout Nantes and the surrounding region for just over two weeks in March.
Until next year, Hip Opsession.