So, I was hoping to blog daily throughout our trip, but come to find out connectivity is not Johannesburg's strongest point, so forgive me for this long belated entry.
Best to check this on your desktop or laptop as there are a bunch of images to load.
Throughout our 7 years of existence we knew we made noise here and there across the globe, and despite the world being such a small place since broadband, we never thought people in South Africa of all places would be up on Patta this big. Through our good friend Cognito we got in contact with organizer Hardy McQueen and spoke about appearing at the second edition of the annual STR.CRD (Street Cred) event for a Patta Q&A and for me to perform a DJ-set. Between all of the Patta crew, we have pretty much been around everywhere except for South Africa, so needless to say we obliged and looked forward to this trip for months. The trip would last a week, so there would be plenty of time to explore local culture, go on missions and build with the locals, as well as with the other international guests including Vashtie Kola, Levi Maestro, Theophilus London, SBTG and Frolab.
When we got off the plane after a change over at Paris CDG we got picked up by the lovely Gabrielle who pretty much took care of us and our means of transportation throughout our stay in Johannesburg. First stop was the actual location called Main Street in Maboneng District where the event would take place (The first edition was in Cape Town). We linked up with Hardy and went looking for breakfast.
Needless to say, we had to grab that Pata Pata burger first before moving on to check-in.
One thing I immediately noticed about Johannesburg upon arrival is the juxtaposition: Rich and poor, old and new, order and disruption, first and third world, all within metres from one another. Lot of wild cowboy stories as well, being that Joburg is "the world's most dangerous city". Yet I didn't feel intimidated nor threatened in any way at any time during my entire stay. Matter of fact, despite all of its differences, this place didn't feel foreign at all. The coming week promised to be very interesting.
After we settled and refreshed, we hooked up with local DJ hero Raiko, Frolab, Uno July of Ill Skillz and one of the blogger teams who would follow the guests throughout the trip. The crew following us was the Opinionfeeder team. They took us to the "Bored" skateboard art exhibition and this crazy crazy spot called Collectors Treasury, an old 8-story building crammed with random unarranged records, books, ephemera, prints and all kinds of other vintage curiosities. Any place that's stuffed to the ceiling with that black gold and gives you dusty fingers is good in my book. This place is some kind of awesome.
Ed with the store owner Geoff.
Linked up with Theophilus' crew and the BMK Crew to get late dinner at Nando's, a sureshot favorite from the jump. Even Ingram Mac-11-toting police was copping chicken!
Not a lot of business going down in Joburg Central Business District at night...
Just me, a blue ice and robots on red.
Rolling over the Nelson Mandela Bridge (which looks better at nighttime) on a camouflage mission. First stop was Camo Joe, a nicely decorated spot that sells army, navy, police and military gear. The people were cool and even had Ed's purchase tailored to specific needs.
Next stop was the National Museum of Military history. Aside from the historical weaponry and vehicles, the museum also has a store which carries all kinds of interesting and affordable military-related stuff, ranging from books to dvd's, vintage army clothing to used firearms, war medals to zulu shields. Mad!
Hol' up ye olde dirty Nazi: Nando's break! (www.nandos.co.za)
Patta definitely endorses great chickenspots wherever we go, and Nando's is the truth! We had to get that in before heading to artist dinner at a secret location. Note: Grab the wings at Chicken Licken as well, they definitely do their name justice.
"To be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others." - Nelson Mandela
One of the most significant and interesting events on this journey I personally looked forward to was visiting the Apartheid Museum. We all had our share of history about apartheid in school, we all know Nelson Mandela is one of the most remarkable human beings in our lifetime, but I always felt like we only skimmed the surface of what the people of South Africa experienced for over 40 years and just "recently" ended, and visiting this place was one hell of an uncomfortable, yet neccessary revelation. The amount of information and insight was so powerful and absorbing I actually forgot about taking pictures inside.
(Images courtesy of Vashtie)
The STR.CRD event day took place on South African Heritage day, an extra beautiful day to come out in your stundee apparel and whatnot, and cats came out in full swing early while last minute preperations were still taking place. The area covered everything street culture-related, both indoor and outdoor. There was music, fashion, dance, arts, sports, food, all the right ingredients for a fun day.
We brought some Patta product on this trip and set up a makeshift booth to display and sell.
The main stage where artists would be performing, blockparty style:
Ed and Stephen aka Huggy Bear aka All City Chess Club aka Blackguyver chillin' in the cut.
We got treated to a private screening of "Street Knowledge", a very dope street art documentary by King Adz.
Get some popcorn and watch the full edit here:
The first local artist I got to check out was "Mr. Party" Bhubesii, setting it off king style. "I wear my sunglasses at night!"
STR.CRD project manager Sally making sure everything works.
A skateboard jam took place down the street, so I definitely had to check that out. Some strong skaters in attendance and it was fresh to catch the South African styles.
Sally introduced me to this skater cat who was just chillin' on the low. Wandile Msomi is a dope skater and a humble guy who owns his own skateboard company based in South Africa called Funisu, which means "seek a solution". The most important things about skateboarding wherever you go on this planet is to always have fun en enjoy the freedom when you're on your board. What this young gentleman has achieved and provides the local scene with is very important and inspiring. Salute Wandile and thank you for the board!
Rolling deep with the girl squad.
Wandile and WirelessG run tings in Soweto.
Vashtie entertaining the VIP rooftop with some good tunes.
The homie Levi wasn't feeling too well all week due to the mega long flight from Los Angeles, but fought hard. He also had the special Africa snapbacks produced for this trip. Africa Knows.
Headliner Theophilus London with Watts on the decks closed out the event by tearing through their set and rocking the crowd heavy on main stage. It was dope to hear "Flying Overseas" while actually being overseas. Big things happening for this young cat.
On resting day the Nike SA crew hosted the Street Kings basketball event in the city, but since we were in South Africa for the first time, we opted to get up with our brother WirelessG to visit Soweto, Johannesburg's "lower class"-populated township and home of the historical uprising. Another eyeopener. And boy does Soweto like to wash cars on sunday!
Back to the city...
Our driver Keke brought his two beautiful sons out to the event. They were so adorable everybody kinda felt bad for just standing there staring at them like a novelty. Little champions.
Another culinary recommendation: Moyo. Real African cuisine in a beautiful area with good music and a cool retail store which stocks local arts and crafts. We rolled out there with the squad (minus sick Levi) and got our eat on big time. I forgot what is what, but trust it was magnificent.
On our last day everybody split up to spend those last Rands, I went to Rosebank Market and on the way stopped by another market...
Me, Cognito, MKay (Nike SA) and Gareth (Babatunde). Cop lady in the middle insisted on taking a picture with us. She was probably dying laughing, knowing what we would encounter soon after...
Scroll down fast if you got a weak stomach.
That's some creepy medicinal herb whatever the hell kind of stuff right there! I saw snakeskins, inside out frogs, goat limbs, lizard skeletons, intestines, probably even brontosaurus bones. Catch more of this craziness in a forthcoming episode of Maestro Knows.
If you made it all the way down here, respect and more power to you. Here's some more random crap. Johnny Gill is still kinda like a big deal in South Africa.
Dave Chappelle (on the right) is a clerk at the Reef Hotel.
Parra doing it big: Official Rockwell clothing in a neighborhood cafe.
This blog entry took me so long, I'm going to treat it like it's my album and put thank you's and shoutouts up in this! On the real though, we had a truly lovely time and experience out in Johannesburg. It's a place of good vibes and opportunities, and the people are friendly, grateful and motivated to make things happen. A breath of fresh air when you're used to spoiled folks.
A graceful thank you to Hardy, Sally, Jade, Gabs, Steph, Roger and the entire STR.CRD staff for bringing us out there and taking good care of us. A big thank you to all our new friends, it was a pleasure and honor to meet each and every one of you. Thank you for all the love and support and keep doing what you do best. Bro Nito, Raiko (my mans, 16 Grand Crabs), Wandile (much obliged), MKay and Nike SA (cheers for the Kaizer Chiefs hookups), Opinionfeeder: Jono, Tarryn, Miki, Bhubesii rock on, Riky Rick rock on, WirelessG and Wandile, Thesis Social Jam Sessions, BSC, Ill Skillz, Jonny Joburg, SpazaShop Boyz, LPMO, 2Bop, Sanele, Trunks & Cast, Liam Lynch, BMK: Ward, Nicci, Hayden, Zam and Zonke (So Cosha), Bee, Linda, PipeLevoice, Keke and sons, Vash, Mark and Sue (thank you for the wonderful camerastraps!), Theo, Watts, Knox, Adz, Desmond & The Tutus, Maestro (thanks for the fresh snapbacks!), BLK JKS, P Kuttah.
Done. Bless and see you at STR.CRD 2012!