The World is yours
Press release:

The World is Yours! Hip-hop makes the city

Hip-hop and the city: new at Wereldmuseum

The World is Yours! Hip-hop makes the city. A pile of sunflower seeds, a blue lawn, an Atari computer, a streetcar stop, Bospolderplein, Kruiskade, block parties, Billboard Records, and the original letters of the Nighttown façade. This and more can be seen in the new exhibition The World is Yours! Hip-hop makes the city. From 23 September at the Rotterdam Wereldmuseum. The World is Yours! tells how hip-hop inspires and shapes the city. In the past, present, and future. BANLIEUE, Brand New Guys, Concrete Blossom, and Notes have all contributed to this new exhibition.  

The world is yours!

All around the world, hip-hop plays a vital role in improving the quality of city life for local communities. Whether it is by sharing memories, knowledge and experiences, manifestations like block parties, or graffiti tags: hip-hop is an important means to (re)claim and give meaning to places around the city. 

Social value

Each collective has fixed up its own space at the Wereldmuseum. And by doing so, it shared its perspective on the role of hip-hop in urban formation. When it comes to architecture, and especially when it comes to culture. The world is yours! doesn’t approach hip-hop as a music form but as a cultural movement. A movement that ensures that places around the city have social value and become important to residents. Which creates a sense of community. 

Each group highlights a different aspect. The common denominator is their desire for hip-hop to be recognised by the existing systems as a necessary movement in urban formation. Even though they all see the ambiguity: after all, hip-hop will always challenge the establishment and would function just fine without recognition. In The World is Yours! Hip-hop makes the city, all these considerations come together.

The sky is the limit

Hip-hop has made its mark in the fashion industry, with brands voicing social opposition. BANLIEUE is such a brand. The installation centres on the Past-Present-Future story of a childhood dream. It’s intended to demonstrate how they can make something out of nothing and use this message to move a community. Jairo Lopez: “The name of the brand is Banlieue. (That’s French for ‘suburb’.) Our inspiration comes from the mentality of the people living in these neighbourhoods. There’s a lot going on. As a brand, we want to focus on the positive within this framework. On the ambitions, imaginations, and dreams of these people.

‘The World is Yours’ is a quote we can identify with. It motivates us to keep our heads up and stay focused to achieve our goals. The people are our goal. To inspire and to move them, to show them that anything is possible. Unconsciously, this is what happens in the banlieues, too. You’ll often read - and see it in the streets - that new trends from the banlieues inspire Paris, and Paris inspires the world.”

Places to be

In Stacked, Brand New Guys refers to the year 1996, when several developments involving hip-hop came together. Rapper E-life released his single ‘Stacked with Honors’, which put West-Kruiskade Rotterdam on the hip-hop map as the centre of creativity and coolness. In Stacked, Brand New Guys highlights Nighttown, record shop Billboard Records, and creative incubator Odeon. Three hotspots shaped by hip-hop through dance and music. ‘Places to be’ for local hip-hop lovers and international artists. The original letters from the Nighttown façade have been included in the exhibition, as have unpublished photos from the former nightclub.

Cye Wong-Loi-Sing: “Above all, we hope that The World is Yours! will inspire younger generations to build from this. That they realise that they are not alone but have their place within a tradition. And that they can relate to the generations that went before them.”

Beyond transience

Concrete Blossom uses Mapping the culture and Bospolderplein to address the role of hip-hop and communities in urban formation and urban renewal. In the past, present, and future.

Malique Mohamud: “Rotterdam is known as the ‘social nursery’ of the Netherlands. Culturally rich and politically complex migrant neighbourhoods produced an environment where a new language (street language) and other forms of culture could emerge. Its consumable form – Urban Culture – influences millions of Dutch people under 50 every day. And so, it transforms the standards, values, and tastes of much of the country. Concrete Blossom explores how hip-hop as a transformative force can actively transform the city and move beyond umbrella terms like Super Diversity.” Malique Mohamud continues: “This form of postcolonial urban heritage has a creative power that is super relevant to tackling the social and ecological tasks of our time.” 

The Party Never Ends

The Notes platform was founded by and for Rotterdam youth. In The world is yours! they present the documentary The Party Never Ends (2022). Notes focuses on bringing the youth together and strengthening a sense of collectivity. In the documentary, Notes shows how the platform applies this mission to BBQs, for example, or block parties, organised in urban spaces that are currently changing due to gentrification.   Notes: “We continue on the practices and infrastructures of the generations before us. We are trying to show this in the documentary: why and how we serve our peers in the city.” Notes hopes to encourage their peers (and the generations to come) to speak up and to continue to appropriate the city. “After all, the city also belongs to us,” according to Notes.   In the documentary, Notes highlights in context how they embody a new generation of disruptors in the year 2022. “We acknowledge that there are obstacles, but that it is primarily about connectivity and necessity, and that things are a lot easier for a collective.” 

Skate On, Woei, Wi Masanga, and 7 other hotspots

The exhibition also includes an overview of locations that are important to hip-hop and the formation of Rotterdam. Woei, Rotterdam Airlines, Waterfront , and Wi Masanga, to name but a few. And Skate On, which has become a place of pilgrimage for graffiti artists. 

The museum as a platform

The fact that BANLIEUE, Brand New Guys, Concrete Blossom, and Notes tell their own stories instead of the museum coming up with some summary of hip-hop was a prerequisite for all parties involved. Wayne Modest, content director at the Wereldmuseum: “As a museum, we are redefining our role: How do we contribute? One thing is for certain: sustainable collaborations with the city and its communities must take centre stage. In our collaborations, we will have to show restraint, and let others do the talking. And give them space, in every sense of the word.” 

Modest continues: “It’s easier said than done, and the reality may be unruly. But we’re committed to this new approach. Even though it’s one that we have yet to familiarise ourselves with. And it means that we have to redesign many of our processes. We are still learning. The World is Yours! - Hip-hop makes the city is one of the steps we’re taking. We’re open about the fact that we are committed to making a serious long-term, sustainable change in the way we work.”




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