How the Belgian hip-hop community keeps themselves and you busy during lockdown
Not everyone has the ability or privilege to work from home during this government-ordered semi-lockdown. However, the Belgian hip-hop community is trying to make the best out of their home offices, serving us the best lockdown DJ-sets, tracks, and playlists to keep our minds from the misery that is happening outside. Because even in the darkest of days, music is still a tremendous way to brighten up the mood.
Article and selection by Yaell Monas
We won't lie: we also miss the cocktails in the summer sun, the parties on the weekends and the hangovers on Monday morning. But as we are locked up in our houses, apartments or student rooms, there's nothing else than the infinite internet to keep us all very busy. Us music journalists are hopelessly waiting for new concerts to happen, praying for our festival summer and killing time by writing list articles like this one. So this list is for the people who've seen enough COVID-19 memes, who are done with Tiger King on Netflix and still too shook to watch something else, or who've decided that working out or becoming the next Gordon Ramsay just ain't their jam.
SUPPORT YOUR LOCALS
First of all, keep supporting the music industry by streaming your favorite artists and sharing their tracks on social media. SoundCloud and Bandcamp are your go-to music platforms these days, as they give artists a higher payment per stream. Even better: buy a CD or vinyl, or order some merch. This can really make a difference for artists in these times without gigs.
On the organizational side of things: many clubs are still planning new concerts and you shouldn’t be afraid to buy a ticket for them. As always: postponed doesn’t mean canceled. If you don’t know which concert to attend yet, but you do want to support the scene, there’s another initiative. Ancienne Belgique sells concert cheques, a way to surprise your loved ones, friends or yourself.
COMEDY AT ITS FINEST
There are clubs that stream high-quality live sets, and then there's Faisal. The DJ did one of the funniest Quarantaine livestream DJ sets you'll ever see. He made this in week two of lockdown, losing his mind over DJ’ing without an audience. So let's see what the next weeks, days or maybe even hours bring! And then there is DJ Kevin Kofii who is down to remix whatever you ask him. Check out his surprisingly vibing remix of a classic Arab music track.
RADIO FOR THE YOUNGSTERS
And of course, there are a whole bunch of young DJ's and producers who found the way to their decks in times of boredom. Raf Cyran and his brother Ben Cyran, our own Chase members, started Lockdown Radio. The boys usually run the 10/10 Music, a collective of young hip-hop artists and producers. This time, they invite other DJ's to spin for the camera and use the most amazingly low-budget green screen effects you can imagine, including hand sanitizer and toilet paper. 10 episodes down and we are still enjoying this! Part of the Brikabrak team, brainchild of Chase-member Yooth, is also spending quarantine together and organized a one-off livestream from their rooftop.
TRIP TO MARS
And then there's the MOM team from Antwerp who use quarantine as thé moment to spam the world with new creativity. Next to their hip-hop artists who have been releasing singles, music videos, and albums (which we talk about in our latest Belgian hip-hop article) they now came up with INTERCORE. An online program to put Belgian urban artists in the spotlight, who are now financially struggling due to not being able to do shows. Keep an eye on their Instagram page for updates. Next to that, Bruno has been releasing playlists on Spotify and so does DJ yunobi!
THE BELGIAN HIP-HOP COMMUNITY IS SERVING A MESSAGE
Next to DJ's, venues and labels, we can’t forget about our music artists who are releasing tracks to make sure everyone stays home. There's TheColorGrey, who had some fun on Instagram TV but made sure the message was clear: STAY THE F*CK HOME. Froze did the exact same thing with his new track 'Blijf Binnen', including a DIY music video inside his house. And then there's WZA, who has been dropping COVID Sessions on YouTube. Taking you with him into the process of producing a track every day for the rest of the lockdown.
Another interesting initiative is Lockdowntypebeat, a creative platform started by hip-hop producer Corrupted which is encouraging Belgian musicians to keep creating. The platform offers LTB Radio with mixes on Soundcloud and Spotify. Last but not least there is cloosencounters who regularly drop new hip-hop collaborations to keep us entertained.
WHAT WE’VE BEEN UP TO AT CHASE
And next to these types of articles to keep you busy, we have been working really hard with our Chase team as well. We've just launched our new online podcast TALKSIK with Jazzy and Zediam from Soul'Art as hosts to keep you busy. We've also asked our creative intern Nina Szyf to make a #StayTheFuckHome Spotify playlist to make sure you stay inside listening to some good music. And we launched our #SaveTheFestivalSummer campaign videos.
Enough things to check out the upcoming days. Make sure to stay home, we might still be able to save a part of our festival summer, and support our Belgian creative scene which is hustling really hard to get through this period!