Hold On, Be Strong
Film: Dimitri Hale at Ex Deo Films
What I explore in this work are characterizations of Southern Hip Hop that I perceive, read about, and hear in the mainstream and ones I experienced growing up in the South. But mostly what it all means and what it instilled in me and many. You see, when I was discovering 'Kast, UGK, Goodie, Weezy, 8Ball and MJG, Bubba, and more I was growing into my own person in a small town in South Carolina and subsequently as a college student in a slightly larger town in the Palmetto State. This music was the de facto soundtrack of my formative years. Rather than singing back hooks that seemed to be more in line with broader cultural aspirations (see shine, bling, etc.) I was drawn to and even consumed by the individual nuggets of wisdom that transcended any sermon or lecture of the day. These lyrical gems were the spice of life—literally sprinkled throughout for anyone with the ear and palate to discern them. These words were born of place and they stick with me to this day.
“4Eva is a mighty long time.”
For 8 years, I made trips across the South to places of interest and collected dirt for shrines to lyrics I grew up with. It has been an ongoing pilgrimage.
“Hold On, Be Strong” is truly a Southern Hip Hop journey a decade in the making. For now it’s an installation of light, sound, and physical relics and assemblages including dirt gathered from pilgrimages to Southern Hip Hop sites. It is the stories of meeting people and travel companions along for the ride. It is the devoted hands who fabricated wood, metal, plexiglass, screen printing, video, vinyl and more to form this tribute. It is the community who speak into this body of work now.
It’s Hip Hop. And it's decidedly Southern.
MULTI-MEDIA ART installation [AUGUST 3, 2023]
Southern Relics, Assemblages, Light + Ambient Sound \\ SPOKEN WORD by DASAN AHANU \\ SOUTHERN RAP DJ SET with DJ DAMU \\ Banana Sandwiches
Image: Rotcelis Rose Photography
Dasan Ahanu: Spoken Word Artist
DJ Damu: Spiritual Drummer + DJ
Images: Eric Waters Photography