CREWIt’s hard to be impartial while looking into the troubled waters of human memories. Images, events and actions arise spontaneousely in different associations. I cannot gain enough strenght to push them away so I try to rail the way to understanding in this tropical forest right on the swamp. After all, this is just an attempt to grasp what’s going on. And this is important. Especially, if there is an intention to exist in the future.
Let’s dredge up with defenition that Funk Fanatix isn’t bold plan of creation and dissemination of ideas. Funk fanatix is the coincidence happened with its participants without any arriere-pensee. In late April 2004 Dave, Super and Disco T offered to become Funk Fanatix. They did this absolutely unconsiencely. Today we come up with hypothesis of Cosmic Influences (Funk Ray, Planetary Perturbation etc.). But this is the topic for special discussion. Let’s consider them doing this accidentally and unconsiencely for the time being.
Super was the member of notorious graffity crew “158”, Disco T was bboy from “Top 9”. In a simple way we puzzle out the original Funk Fanatic was Dave. Of course, there was another one founder from no crew but his role stays unrevealed. That was the “one man who can win the war”. This man is m00ha. But it’s also topic for another discussion.
At first FF united under its letters on the grounds of Saint-Petersburg promoters, graffiti-artists, designers, MCs, musicians, DJs and dancers of different views and calibres. And soon by Dave’s and Super’s efforts new adepts joined FF in Moscow, Krasnodar and even Barnaul. I had the personal luck to find personages from Moscow – Snek and Poly. And still we stay in good relations.
During 5 years of action FF cooperated with such projects and people as Bro Sound, Le Truk, Top 9, True Flavaz, King of Bongo. The release of Gunmakaz LP “Funk Fanatix” by Beatmaker Beat, L-Brus and Big D set up important landmark. With help of this LP two magic letters got the recognition among Russian rap fans. All-in-all we don’t have to be overmodest about it. FF could be recognized from rhymes, beats, and subway and railroad cars passing by, from walls, flyers and magazines. It’s meaningless to talk about names and events in this sence so I wanna finish here. “Ough! That’s dope!” – that’s because somebody wants to be part of this, or it’s just a perfect picture, or I got some knowledge of this. This is anticipated reader’s reaction I want to evade. I’m more about another subject. I’m more abour what Funk Fanatix never was.
Everybody knows the expression that hip-hop consisted of 4 or 5 elements. FF undertook an attempt to realize it. Funk Fanatix Anniversaries became spots where graffiti, DJs, bboyz, poppers and lockers meet. But what I found out on these jams was existence of isolated communities, separated from each other, with its own ideas, views, feelings, definitions and representations. Only few people played role of the bridges between these groups. Whether it was fashionable or part of objective process but soon bboyz start to spray, graffiti-artists rhyme and DJs sit down at drums. It happened not only is Saint-Petersburg but also in Moscow and other cities. FF played a great part in it on the native grounds. Letters-twins were eyesore and shrewd noise reminding that idea is of greater importance than form. Afterwards “flavaz” and “crews” emerged calling themselves true hop-hop on the strenght of being constellation of elements mentioned above. But only FF originaly founded by graff-writers, bboys, promoters and MCs for the sake of, what Dave called, “burn!” and “let’s be friends!”. They gathered as friends. It was matter of case somebody draws and somebody dances. In fact idea existed before formalization in dance, lines, colours, sounds, samples and words. Idea wasn’t realized to be of 4 elements and so be “real hip-hop”. It was to burn and to become friends. Roots of other communities, as far as I know, originated in homogeneous groups (usually bboy crews). Then the rest of the elements were brought up and big crews arouse. But it was later and it was made on the base of “true hip-hop” representation. So the controversy about the degree of proximity to true hip-hop is determined. External compliance doesn’t mean the internal truth.
Another important direction of development was exploration of skills and knowledge. Of course, each Funk Fanatic strived to self-realize according to his personal talent, wish and opportunities. In such a short period of time FF studied a lot and even became pioneers in something. FF bboys and graff-writers have their own schools. They are invited to judge, participate, battle, teach and perform. I many ways it happened thanks to direct contact with original sources and “insiders” such as Kool Herc, Charlie Ahearn, Brian Green, Crazy Legz, Ken Swift, Mr.Wigglez, Alien Ness, Rascue and many other people. However, the comprehension of knowledge as an instrument of self-promotion, contest with competitors and feeding of Ego is required. Even the most modest motos and proclamations concealed regular human weak points and foolish things. So the competent knowledge was required instead of copy the original. Even if we got the history of the thing we can’t undersand it and interprete it. Competent knowledge emerged with first doubts and questions regarding to our previous understading of what authorities said. We stopped to do so (to draw, dance or talk this way) just because it was right. We started to ask ouselves: How I want this? What does it give to me? Why do I do this way? We started to answer in our own actions sometimes getting satisfied sometimes not. Nevertheless it gave us the feeling of real life happening with you personally not with abstract communities, groups, peoples and cultures.
Beslobbered and much talked-about “originality” also got damage. One can say this is the most fat pillar on which superstitions about hip-hop is built. Initially FF took, how it called, “true”, “original” content. We copied it from different western standarts and armed with it. “American boys”, “Niggers”, “Rocksteady”, “Six-step-baby-freeze”, “Biters” – are sweet names people gave to the first tries of FF to get into the definition of “original hip-hop”. Then came experiments and free forms of expression which outcome in character and easy-to-recognise funky style. The only method stayed invariable and perfectly mastered by founders of FF (Dave, Super, Disco T and m00ha) remains freestyle. Funk Fanatix started with freestyle and will finish with it. Of course, the approach to freestyle become more strict with the lapse of time. It accumulates certain rules and priciples. Funk Fanatix start to study what is funk, individuality, level etc.. As we found out, it wasn’t what we thought in the beginning. Funk wasn’t in character movements, lines, words, beats, samples. Funk was in vibration. Sometimes later we got to know from Mr.Wigglez “Everything in Universe is vibration”.
So in 5 years basic stereotypes about hip-hop were destroyed: about 4 elements, about true style, about originality. On the streets, at home, in studios, in trips FF achieved the same result. It doesn’t exist. Hip-hop is illusion in the heads of it adepts. Take anyone of them and ask what hip-hop is. All of them answer something similar. Ask them to reveal the meaning of their answer with more ordinary words like you explain it to regular people from the street. On this stage variety of meanings grows. Finaly ask them to speak about it in words of personal attitudes and meanings. You’ll find out that hip-hop at the same time is: Peace+onelove+unity+having fun and G’s+cash+glocks+motherfucka+weed; Open minded culture and “stand up and shout: I’m black and I’m proud”; Edutaiment from KRS-1 and smoothass hotties sweating in Rolls-Royce; Graff-writers listening to techno-music and MCs not knowing who is Melle Mel. You’ll see that hip-hop is not what it called by its people. There is no hip-hop at all.
All we deal with is the impulse created by children, teenagers and young people of big city witnessing the dawn of knowledge, morality and force of Western Civilization. This is fundumental attitude of FF. And it’s hardly matter of personal services. We just love funk, we didn’t know in was the source of samples for the whole body of hip-hop music. We just draw, just dance, just rhyme. We didn’t practise to be true or insiders. Plus occasional meetins with wonderful people and pioneers of the culture gave us the opportunity to feel the personal attitude of originators to the World. FF is natural way to hip-hop if we recognize hip-hop as culture of new world-view of urban youth. It just happened this way.
This is our present. And we try to comprehend it and set up goals for future actions. We won’t save the world from commercial MTV-style or criminals or drugs, we won’t become unique and famous, we won’t multiply our memership. We will ask more questions, offer answers, widen the methods of comprehension and implementation of ideas in real life. The rest will happen by accident. That’s why FF strive to organize such events as Meeting of Styles and Cirlce Prinz, try to spread the hip-hop in media. The more things happen with people the greater probability somebody regains consciousness and think about what’s going on.
On the fifth year of FF life photographers, cameramen, scientists and fresh forces from Syberia join crew. We have everything to keep the culture alive. Let’s do it together. Let’s find the understanding and answers for common questions. Finaly there is nothing in life more important than the understanding of meaning of this life.
|FUNK FANATIX 2011  |