Back To Columns Archive The Hip-Hop Headrush


Words by Eitan Prince

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Headz weren't ready

In 1998 Grahamstown experienced its first strictly Hip-Hop party at the Bassment. This proved to be a success way beyond the organiser's expectations and laid a foundation for future Hip-Hop events in Grahamstown. 1999's Headz Ain't Ready Part 2 aimed to build on this success and was organised in the "American" way - bigger and better! The venue was moved to the Pop Art cafe, while guests from various parts of South Africa, were added to the mix. The DJ's lined-up included Cape Town's Ready D (Prophets of the City's DJ), Mr. Bigga from Johannesburg and Mass Dosage (the organiser of both Headz parties). MC's Spex and Mizchif from Johannesburg were also scheduled to attend, but Mizchif got waylaid in Bloemfontein, leaving Spex to hold it down on the open mic against a number of hyped Grahamstown MC's.

On the night of the event, Ready D, Mass Dosage and Mr. Bigga blew minds, shaked asses and generally tore shit up on a familiarly sweaty, but uncommonly Hip Hop-driven spring evening in Grahamstown. The culmination of weeks of anticipation, expectation and straight up fiendin', was finally greeted with varied and at times uneven performances. But, like oral sex, even the bad bits were good - except when you got bitten. And the electrical problems DID bite. At least three times on the night, the power cut out to interrupt a DJ's set. On the first two occasions, headz took to it like a breather, and used the time to chill. On the third occasion, more than half of the attendants got fed up and decided to bounce ... I presume to an impromptu after-party/weed-session, or to have sex or just simply to go to sleep.

For real though, there were plenty of high points. The attendance was better than expected, with a nice mix of students and Grahamstown residents. MC's with different styles and socio-economic backgrounds gripped mics with as much confidence and enthusiasm as scheduled performer, Spex and represented this one-horse town to the fullest. Of course, there's no denying Ready D's impact on this jam. The moment D hit the decks, headz stood still; not because the beats were wack, but because you just had to watch his busy fingers with awe. Strangely, Ready D ditched the "scratch-with-my-toes-and-nose" tricks, and stuck to the basics: dope fader techniques, an ear for the right choonz, and the ability to create music through turnablism.

Minutes before sunrise though (and hours since the party had subsided), I was thinking that this shouldn't just be happening once every 365 days or so. Maybe headz are ready ... they just need to stop being lazy. Well, I guess it's now back to academic masturbation, irritating smelly jocks in the Union, while we escape by sticking to our enclaves and listening to rap music in the privacy of our bedrooms.

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