For Those Who Can't Sleep On Hip Hop

Living in America, we tend to take things for granted; for instance, “Freedom of Speech,” among many of our other liberties. We seem to forget that there are people in other countries that lack many of the freedoms afforded to us. Take for instance the Iranian metal outfit Ahoora, who just released their aptly named album “Awkward Diary.” In the Middle East, “Westernized” culture is often banned and at times could land an artist in jail or worse. So, in order to keep hope alive, Ahoora has taken to the internet by posting their art on as many social/musical networks as they can. And so far, it’s working. They’ve garnered a following on a global scale including interviews with many music magazines. They’ve literally fought to get their music to the masses.

I cannot classify Ahoora as a strictly “Metal” band. They would be best described as a “Rock” band with “Metal” influences or simply an alternative band. Here’s the reason why: “Awkward Diary” is an album that dives head first into the depths of experimentation, and it very rarely comes up for air. There are simply too many styles heard throughout the album to ever adequately list them all. [click to continue…]

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For years I’ve been asked by artists and aspiring entrepreneurs about an easy way to succeed in the industry. Typically the question is unwittingly disguised as various queries, including: What’s the best way to get noticed? How do we sell more music? How do we get a manager? How do we get a deal? What’s the best way to get coverage? How do we get radio play? What’s the secret to getting more gigs? Et cetera… Many don’t realize this, but in essence, they’re asking, “What’s the easy way to succeed?
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Malcolm McLaren was a trendsetter, music futurist, tastemaker, a forefather of modern Punk, and a Hip Hop innovator. During the ‘70s McLaren introduced the world to one of the most abrasive bands ever to step on a stage- The Sex Pistols. As the band’s manager he helped bring them to global prominence with publicity stunts and recorded rants attacking British royalty delivered in the form of their classic single “God Save the Queen.”

McLaren was introduced to Hip Hop by Bronx River resident, Zulu Nation founder, and Hip Hop pioneer Afrika Bambaataa in the New York City club scene. [click to continue…]

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Milad is a guitarist and songwriter in an eclectic Tehran-based band called Ahoora. The band’s name isn’t known in music industry circles that attend festivals with strategies to position their newly signed rock brands bands as rebels, but maybe it should. Playing metal in a country where the genre is essentially banned provides the truest perspective of rockers as outlaws. Metal of course isn’t singled out in Iran, many other types of Western music has been restricted commercially in the country for years. The classic Clash song Rock the Casbah was written as a response to these restrictions. For the most part, radio play, live performances, and the selling of music not approved by officials are all activities that are very difficult to accomplish- essentially making planning for these common goals illegal.

Ahoora has continued their journey in metal for the better part of a decade. Their perseverance, despite significant adversity due to circumstances in their home country, is paying off- at least online. Ahoora has been able to gain new fans by utilizing social networking sites.
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Whole Train’s tells a dramatic story of a graffiti crew that could easily have been told in New York City during the ‘70s and ‘80s, instead of Germany today. For graffiti aficionados, the film will be reminiscent of the classic documentary Style Wars. The movie also gives a significant nod to Wild Style. The gritty tale provides a compelling look into a world of passion and peril. While watching the film with Lork, at one point he looks over and says, “it’s good to see that somewhere, someone still cares enough about this element of Hip Hop to make this movie.”

One scene that struck me was of two rival crews, with pure distain for each other, settling the score by battling with their art. In essence, this is what Hip Hop did so many years ago- it took inner city kids out of gangs and into a world of creative self-expression.

Director Florian Gaag brings to the screen the lives of those who stimulate the otherwise grayscale streets with vibrant hues through stunning art. The action and story are so visual that it makes following the subtitles in this German film almost redundant at times.

As a side, the film’s score and soundtrack are flowing with amazing Hip Hip, including music from the likes of KRS One, El the Sensei, Planet Asia, and other notable lyrical rap stars.

Here’s Lork’s review:

Here’s the trailer:

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