You can’t talk about urban Millennials and Gen Xers traveling the world without talking about hip-hop. It’s nearly impossible! This culture, this sound, this movement is as much intertwined in our DNA as is the need to go, to see, to do in places we’ve never been. Most of us don’t know how to sit still without a beat pulsing in our head, and many of us can’t recall a memory without a hook accompanying it. For this reason alone, it was time to tackle a hip-hop issue.
In this issue, we wanted to shine the light on hip-hop in the places that don’t get as much exposure in the U.S. We reached out Dr. Kirsten Marie Zemke to tell us about Aotearoa hip-hop (also known as New Zealand hip-hop). Her insights on Maori culture and how hip-hop influenced and continues to advance social movements there is fantastic. NZ’s proverbial neighbor Fiji also has a hip-hop culture, and DJ Christonite and his Technical Glitch DJ Academy are helping to preserve and pass it on to islanders in rural Fiji. This issues also explores the culture of hip-hop in the Middle East, in particular how the United States is using hip-hop to make inroads with Arab youth after the Arab Spring. This article and the research involved in it are interesting and slightly unsettling, and I deeply encourage readers to get into it and be patient – it’s dense.
Otura Mun and DJ Cavem are also in this issue, and their stories are inspiring to say the least. In their own way, both of them have carved out successful careers using unorthodox methods, but have ultimately relied on their passion to guide them. At the end of the day, the type of faith and single-mindedness they exhibit is what most travelers seek. It’s the ability to stand on our own and know without a doubt that we can make it regardless of what life throws at us.
With that said, we hope that you enjoy it and more importantly, converse in the comments. We need input from travelers everywhere to truly be a “republic of storytellers.” That includes you!