“A lot of times, when people say hip-hop, they don’t know what they’re talking about. They just think of rappers. When you talk about hip-hop, you’re talking about the whole culture and movement. You have to take the whole culture for what it is.”- Afrika Bambaataa
Contrary to common belief, hip-hop is more than just a music genre. It is a way of life. Hip-hop is a movement, a platform for souls to express themselves. From rap, poetry, dance to painting and drawings. All accepted as valuable components of what we call the hip-hop culture.
When we think big dreams, and big players in the game, we often tend to tie them to big cities like Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco etc. But what if I told you big dreams, and big players are revolutionizing the game near you? Not only that, but through their talents and love for hip hop are making an impact in their own community!
THAT’S RIGHT! For all the peeps who weren’t raised in OC, just an FYI, there is more to this county than Disneyland, Hollister, and Disneyland. Big things happen here too! Just recently I had the opportunity to attend the Downtown Santa Ana Art Walk. (P.S. I grew up in nearby Buena Park and never even knew they had these art walks). Now, I had been to a couple artworks in Downtown Riverside, pretty cool experience. But this art walk, was different.
I was invited by my boyfriend. “Let’s go check out my boy! He’s preforming at the Artwalk in Downtown Santa Ana. It’s gonna be a lit experience.” Lit? Performance? I could get with that. When we got there we were welcomed by the sweet, harmonizing voice of a young lady who had just finished her song. Not too mention the sweet smell of tacos from the nearby taco truck. Observing the stands I saw many different faces; some friendly, some nervous, a few tired. But all had their own individual works of art for sale and displayed in front of them. Some sold knitted goods they had made at home, others, different sized paintings.
I heard a another voice, this time definitely not harmonizing and VERY familiar. It was my boyfriend; and somehow, he was on stage. The emcee hosting the event had been asking the audience to hit the stage, freestyle rap, and “show ’em what you got!” And seizing the opportunity, he did. By the time he got off stage and told me his friend would be coming on soon, I noticed the crowd forming around us. It was time.
Between the loud handshakes, “props”, good wishes, and positive energy being given around me by the growing crowd, I heard the emcee announce, “In just a few minutes we’ll be having Pita the Prophet on stage with us!” I had met Daniel Pita on one occasion before his performance on April 7. But by the time he was done with his last song I felt as if I had known him for years.
In between songs Pita said something that resonated with the whole crowd, including myself. He said something that described exactly how I felt about hip-hop. He describes the reasons he writes music: “I write for three reasons, first of all, I write to free my mind you know, to use this platform to express myself, second I write to tell these stories, I write to tell the stories that I’ve been through, and I write to tell the stories that y’all tell me about. You know the stories that inspire me. Because my music, I want it to relate to people, I want to get it to a bunch of the souls, that don’t really get reached into. The third reason I write, I write to tell you, that we ain’t perfect but we’re worth it. With that being said, I write because I got big dreams…”
He tied it together like a bow on the present he calls life. Hip-hop is this outlet, this platform for many locals to express their message. This open mic event put on by Love and Laughter Studios gave Daniel, as well as others, a heightened freedom of expression. The Artwalk is held Saturdays from 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. in the Historic Downtown District in Santa Ana, on Calle Cuatro. Whether you’re trying to eat some tacos, walk around, or simply interact with new people, sometimes our very neighbors could be the very influence or connection you’ve been searching for.
For more information on Pita the Prophet’s work and music, check out his Instagram at @thevoiceoftheunheard!