It’s a smile on your face that you are about to discover the new exhibition of the Arab World Institute, you know too well that this exceptional place always offers events that solicit your senses. You even wake up early to arrive as early as possible at the inauguration. Orchestrated by the rapper Akhenaton, this retrospective aims to honor the history of Hip Hop, multidisciplinary culture where self-transcendence and the demand are the watchwords.
It is between ghetto-blaster members of Blockpainters Crew and walls of graffiti that you admire the relics of the protest movement: snapshots of Martha Cooper, drafts of the iconic text “Tomorrow is far” or a vinyl Iris worship Muhammad. Further, the still young faces Joey Star and Kool Shen in interview videos of sampling table or the laws of the Universal Zulu Nation.
Hip Hop is multiple and the exhibit leaves nothing to luck: break dance videos, fashion items alongside a huge world map that tells you the story of rap in the Arab countries, its originality, its influences. A line of headphones all along the way at your disposal to discover or re-discover among many other Lebanese Rayes Bek or H-Kayne of Meknes and Fnaire of Marrakesh. They are part of the generation that transcribes its sharpened pen claims on political and economic events of the time.
Then your emotional memory is affected when you discover the walls covered with the classics that have rocked your youth: 50 cent, Group Home, Public Enemy, 2Pac and many others.
You stop before the Djing course by DJ Cut Killer and then in front of a vintage sneakers showcase, a platform of cult books and movie clips from the 90s. Hip Hop is versatile and is as a chameleon, imbued with its environment, it has adapted to create an identity, constantly changing.
You think you’re here for thirty minutes when you approach the exit but no, it’s been two hours since you’ve travel through the US, France and the Arab countries, soaking up the music, words and images . As if guessing your desires, hanging poscas invite you to leave a last word on the wall as did the first visitors. You then mark your passage and before crossing the exit door behind you while still echoes the beats of the music.