I’d like to call True Vibenation pioneers, but in truth what they’re doing is trying to resurrect the soul of modern day hip hop from what they see as “the ego and this whole idea of consumerism” and bring it back to its more organic roots.
“We originally started music just for ourselves really. I remember writing rhymes in the back of class, writing about how crap class was just for a bit of fun and then eventually as it got further we started realising that you can actually say quite a bit with rap. It’s the sort of medium that lends itself to expression and because we had that freedom we thought ‘why don’t we make it and start sharing it with people?”
“There’s a lot of hip hop that’s lacking in recent times. There’s no message anymore. It’s gone back to getting put up on a pedestal. Too many people are concerned with themselves and their ego. It’s really about conveying a message or telling a story. That’s sorta what’s getting lost in hip hop these days.”
That’s exactly what these guys seem to be about: delivering a message and actually saying something with their music.
“Hip hop as a medium is perfect for that. Rapping is so direct. With other forms the meaning’s maybe a bit more hidden but with rapping you can just say it straight out.”
“I think that’s one of the big benefits of hip hop. You can be positive and really say what needs to be said very clearly through music. It has the ability to bring people together as all music does, as well as express the thoughts and fears of the community which is where it birthed from. That’s where it came from and that’s where we’re trying to keep going.”
Their most direct vehicle for this is a regular night called On The Reel that runs the last Monday of every month at World Bar. It’s here that the group is trying to spread their message and bring the art back to its origins.
“It’s trying to establish an outlet for proper hip hop where it started the way it was back in the early stages in America. In the late 80s and early 90s there was places like the Lyricist Lounge or the Good Life where Catholic Skills would just come down, jump on a mike and strut their stuff. There’s no real money involved, it’s more about the growth of hip hop and getting down.”
“And building on it. That’s the most important thing. Keep building so that other MCs can see the direction we want to take it and let it keep happening in a positive way and not let it get dragged down like America has, in the pop charts at least. Just being honest to yourself is the main thing.”
With extended freestyles after their sets, and beat boxers emerging from the crowd to drop their skills they assure me “the nights are really good fun.”
“One guy came up and did a rhyme last week and it was pretty cool. Later on he came up to us and said it was only the second time he jumped on the mike.”
The group plans to release a sampler soon “which we’re gonna start selling at shows, so that should be pretty cool” but for now you can see them peddling their craft every month at On The Reel.
Photo By Diana Carniato