In Rotterdam Cultural Histories #11: Disclaim the street Navin Thakoer presents an image of the history of hip hop culture in Rotterdam. For 40 years hip hop has been in motion: what it claims to be, what it takes as its domain, and which voices matter, all keep shifting. The same applies for hip hop’s history: there is not one story in which everyone involved would recognise themselves. Hip hop history is itself subject to different claims, and part of an ongoing vigorous debate.

Thakoer makes the discussion concerning hip hop and its legacies visible by appealing to social media and by asking: Who are the legendary Rotterdam hip-hoppers and why?

With his manifest Don’t believe the hype!, he puts hip hop in a historical perspective and in the context of current societal tensions. Time and again, hip hop offers room to create a temporary identity for a new generation of youngsters, and a way to reinvent themselves. Therefore, what hip hop actually means, or is supposed to stand for, in the specific social dynamics of today, is something different than 40 or 20 years ago.

The film Walkmen – The history of Roffadamn hip hop (2002, 70 min.) forms part of Disclaim the street. This documentary was created by the Rotterdam artist, producer and label owner Mike Redman, in cooperation with editor Victor Vroegindeweij. By using rare archive images and interviews with Rotterdam leading figures, Walkmen relates the Rotterdam hip hop scene of 1979-2001.

Navin Thakoer a.k.a. NaferLovesYou is a Rotterdam artist, who, using sample techniques, develops a variety of projects in which ‘glocal’ culture, identity and interaction form central stage. In 2017, he created the NaferLovesYou Supermarket on the Rotterdam Coolsingel, showing exhibitions and activities concerning the changeability of identity. He also formed part of Transformerz, a collective of artists, musicians and DJs that existed fromrom 1994-2003. During ground-breaking club evenings, this collective pioneered in linking together the influences from the various cultures present in the Netherlands, and thus created the basis for urban eclectic and a new Dutch urban discourse.

Disclaim the street has been developed as a counterpart of the exhibition BLUEPRINT in TENT, which has the relationship between street culture and architecture as its theme.

With thanks to Mike Redman and Siebe Thissen.

Rotterdam Cultural Histories is a collaborative project between TENT and Witte de With that explores our common roots in Rotterdam and articulates meeting points between both of our programs.