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Nas’ Breakdancing Documentary Reveals Stirring Clip Of Ugandan B-Boy [Exclusive]

Nas' breakdancing documentary 'Shake The Dust' reveals a stirring clip of Ugandan b-boy Fahadhi Kiryowa.


Still courtesy of BOND/360

Last month we reported that Shake The Dust, Nas' new feature-length documentary about breakdancing's  global influence, had made its online debut over on Vimeo. Executive produced by Mr. Nasir Jones himself and helmed by journalist-turned-director and photographer Adam Sjöberg, the 84-minute film chronicles the stories of rappers, DJs, and b-boys across Uganda, Yemen, Colombia and Cambodia. Ahead of the film's premiere this Friday, we're excited to share an exclusive clip with you all today, in which we meet a young Ugandan breakdancer by the name of Fahadhi Kiryowa.

Sjöberg first started filming Shake The Dust in Kampala in 2010 after connecting with Breakdance Project Uganda founder Abramz Tekya. Speaking on the country's hip-hop scene, Sjöberg tells us that "Thanks to Abramz and the work of Breakdance Project Uganda, the breaking scene is vibrant and growing. Abramz has helped educate youth all over Uganda of the history of hip-hop, its pillars, and how to use it to empower and enliven individuals and communities," he said over email. "The overall hip-hop scene in Uganda is continuing to grow - with rap artists and dancers popping up every day - creating music videos and names for themselves, often starting with very little. Artists like Ruyonga are helping continue to spread Uganda’s reputation as a pure hip-hop giant across East Africa."

BOND/360 will theatrically release 'Shake The Dust' this Friday, May 15th, in L.A. at the TCL Chinese Theater. This will be followed by a limited theatrical release. The film will be available on Itunes and additional VOD outlets on May 19.

Music

6 Samples From 'Éthiopiques' in Hip-Hop

A brief history of Ethio-jazz cultural exchange featuring songs by Nas & Damian Marley, K'naan, Madlib and more.

This article was originally published on OkayAfrica in March, 2017. We're republishing it here for our Crossroads series.

It's 2000 something. I'm holed up in my bedroom searching for samples to chop up on Fruity Loops. While deep into the free-market jungle of Amazon's suggested music section, I stumble across a compilation of Ethiopian music with faded pictures of nine guys jamming in white suit jackets. I press play on the 30 second sample.

My mind races with the opportunities these breakbeats offered a budding beat maker. Catchy organs, swinging horns, funky guitar riffs, soulful melodies and grainy and pained vocalists swoon over love lost and gained. Sung in my mother tongue—Amharic—this was a far cry from the corny synthesizer music of the 1990s that my parents played on Saturday mornings. I could actually sample this shit.

The next day, I burn a CD and pop it into my dad's car. His eyes light up when the first notes ooze out of the speakers. “Where did you get this?" He asks puzzlingly. “The internet," I respond smiling.

In the 1970s my dad was one of thousands of high school students in Addis Ababa protesting the monarchy. The protests eventually created instability which lead to a coup d'état. The monarchy was overthrown and a Marxist styled military junta composed of low ranking officers called the Derg came to power. The new regime subsequently banned music they deemed to be counter revolutionary. When the Derg came into power, Amha Eshete, a pioneering record producer and founder of Ahma Records, fled to the US and the master recordings of his label's tracks somehow ended up in a warehouse in Greece.

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