January 25, 2022
PR: ‘A Reason to Rhyme’ – evolution of hip hop in Aotearoa
A powerful and deeply personal documentary – A REASON TO RHYME – will explore the relationship that Māori and Pasifika youth formed with hip hop as an alternative expression of culture and identity in Aotearoa. The one-hour film will be available to view first on MĀORI+ from 8.00 AM and then screens on Māori Television at 8.30 PM on Waitangi Day, Sunday 6 February 2022.
Featuring a veritable who’s who of Aotearoa hip hop, A REASON TO RHYME includes the personal recollections and lived experiences of hip hop pioneers DJ Sirvere, Te Kupu (Upper Hutt Posse), Hype the Native aka Danny Haimona (Dam Native), Che Fu, DLT and Scribe as well as more recent contributors such as Ladi 6, Mareko, SWIDT and Tom Scott. 10A has also produced an opening title song and original score.
A distinguished lecturer in popular music and ethnomusicology at the University of Auckland, Dr Kirsten Zemke, provides context to the cultural nuances embedded in the artists’ music and narratives. The programme was funded by NZ On Air.
Writer, producer and director Anahera Parata – a self-proclaimed hip hop superfan – says A REASON TO RHYME was a concept that she dreamt up as a teenager attending the Hip Hop Summits in Auckland – events co-produced by DJ Sirvere. “I turned up at DJ Sirvere’s office at Mai FM in 2017 with a proposal for him to collaborate as an Associate Producer – and made sure it was impossible for him to decline. It was a creative partnership just waiting to happen,” says Anahere Parata.
DJ Sirvere says there are many hip hop documentaries and films out there but this one is different. “It’s personal. A fusion of tikanga, whakapapa and modern day culture as told through the experiences of my peers. Our focus was on a Māori and Pasifika perspective but this is for everyone!”
New Zealand’s distinctive hip hop sound was a result of it landing on the shores of Aotearoa as it was evolving in the United States. “We were experiencing hip hop in its purest form, in real time, as it was happening,” says Anahera Parata. “Hip hop arrived in Aotearoa in the seventies at a time of political turmoil and was immediately embraced by Māori and Pacific youth.
“The events and experiences that were being described in early American hip hop were speaking to what was going on here in Aotearoa. Artists like Te Kupu from Upper Hutt Posse were quick to draw on the power of protest music and present it as a rap that challenged mainstream society. Aotearoa hip hop proudly boasts an obvious Polynesian sound with the drums, slang and bilingual lyrics – our artists are assertive in their sense of pride.”
A REASON TO RHYME will be available to view first on MĀORI+ from 8.00 AM and then screens on Māori Television at 8.30 PM on Waitangi Day, Sunday 6 February 2022.