"If you ain’t from Texas this ain’t the place to be because we’re burning this motherfucker down!” shouted Doughbeezy, the otherwise relentlessly friendly Houston rapper, at a recent show. He looked out over the crowd before him with the steady, combative gaze of a practiced performer. He was playing a larger, South-centric showcase called “Welcome to tha South” at South by Southwest, a time when the music industry as a whole fills Austin with the desperate sprawl of corporate sponsorship and mindless networking. Despite the presence of outsiders, there was a surplus of UT burnt ochre and hands throwing up the state’s longhorn symbol. And a lot of people seemed to know his songs. Like, maybe more than for Que or Ty Dolla $ign, artists on the bill with national radio hits. Most of the people there might have been from Texas—a mixed blessing given the setting.
'B-stylers' Are Japanese Teens Who Want to Be Black
Dutch photographer Desiré van den Berg has spent the past seven months traveling around Asia. She lives in Hong Kong at the moment but when she was in Tokyo, back in December 2013, she met Hina, a 23-year-old who works at a trendy Tokyo boutique called Baby Shoop. Hina’s shop has the tagline “Black for life.” She describes its products as “a tribute to Black culture; the music, the fashion, and style of dance.”
Hina’s appearance is also loyal to what the Japanese call “B-style”—a contraction of the words “Black” and “Lifestyle” that refers to a subculture of young Japanese people who love American hip-hop culture so much that they do everything in their power to look as African American as possible.
I called up Desiré to find out more about her time photographing Hina and her gang.
VICE: How did you meet Hina? Desiré van den Berg: She appeared in a documentary about B-style a couple of years back, which I happened to watch. This is what got me interested in the culture. It took a lot of effort, but I eventually got in touch with her on Facebook, through other B-stylers. I said I wanted to take photos of her, and she actually thought that was pretty cool. It was all a bit of a hassle though, because Hina and the other B-stylers didn’t speak a single word of English. We needed a translator both to make an appointment and at the actual first meeting, too.
How does that work in terms of translating rap lyrics? Hina speaks some English but not fluently. She does like to use some English slang when she speaks Japanese with her B-style friends, like finishing a sentence with “man” or using bad words like “motherfucker” jokingly.
The sticky-sweet smell of Pink Sugar perfume permeates the air. A Latina girl with bottle-blonde streaked hair crouches on all fours, looking over her shoulder, and pouting her frosted fuschia lips. She…
The UK hip-hop scene is a largely maligned part of British music. It’s often mocked for its propensities for peaked beanies, bad lyrics, silly names, and the overwhelming stench of cheap skunk. Clive and the team headed down to Bristol—the spiritual home of the British B-Boy scene—to investigate if people from the UK can rap, or if they should just leave it to the Americans.
In the fifth episode of Chiraq, we step outside of drill music and catch up with Chicago rapper Vic Mensa and the rest of his SAVEMONEY crew. They spend the day gathering cash to bail fellow rapper Joey Purp out of jail, and on the way we chat about the city’s scene. Vic doesn’t associate himself with the Chiraq lifestyle because he feels it’s too negative, but understands the struggles of those who come from that part of the city. He’s also, surprisingly, a really big fan of Rage Against the Machine.
In the fourth episode of Noisey’s Chiraq, we catch up extensively with Lil Durk, the next superstar of the Drill scene and go to a show with fellow 300 / OTF member Lil Reese.
It’s the night of Lollapalooza, but that doesn’t matter because inside and outside the venue, the crowd is packed to the walls. Afterwards, we roll through the South Side of Chicago with Durk and meet his family, learning about the life from which he came, and why he “terrifies the city.”
CHIRAQ: EXPLORING CHIEF KEEF, LIL DURK, THE 3HUNNA AND THE CHICAGO RAP UNDERGROUND (TRAILER)
Starring: Chief Keef, Young Chop, Lil Durk, Save Money, the Chicago Police Department and the Nation of Islam.
Noisey presents an 8 part documentary on the music, culture, politics and young people behind Chicago’s current rap music scene.
An access-all-areas pass to some of the city’s most notorious streets, the series examines the personalities, controversies and social forces behind one of the most gang-related, criminally convicted music scenes in recent history.