Afrika Bambaataa at Nevereverland


Written by Kieron Monks
Photos and illustrations by Matthew Hass
29 Monday 29th June 2009

As one hip hop's founding fathers, did you realise it had the potential to become a global phenomenon?

I had visions and I had to get out there to make sure they came true. We had to move it around, starting with the Tri-state area, then through different towns and cities in the United States, then the world.

Who if anyone is still keeping hip hop alive? Are you disappointed with this generation?

I wouldn't say that, there's a lot of current hip hop that I like a lot. Andre 3000, Busta Rhymes, P Diddy to a certain extent. And I like my man that got the vocoder funk voice, what's his name? (Lil Wayne)

The Zulu nation has been a force for good in the community. How do you think the average human can take more social responsibility?

Well the average human needs to first deal with what's going on with their politics. Find out what their politicians are doing in these so called countries, towns and cities. We need to know who they are and what laws they passing. We got to get back into law, common law because people have been poli-trickin.

This Obama thing was supposed to send a message to the whole world that we're tired of the crap. Everybody must still watch everybody that comes into power. Humans got to go back to doing something for themselves. If your area is messed up or dirty, pick up a broom and start cleaning it. Then demand your government back you up to help you clean your area, fix up your neighborhood.

There shouldn't be one person on this planet living in poverty, especially when mother Africa can feed the world 10-15 times over. Who's paying to keep people starved and messed up around the world? Somebody is playing poli-tricks with the minds of the people.

Agreed. Is that kind of awareness and activism what you need to be part of the Zulu nation? What do you need to become a member?

Just wanting to be. And wanting to do. Some people join for religion, others for political reasons or law, some do just for their areas. Different Zulu nations all around the planet, all doing different things. Some work all together, some just deal with their own city or country.

What campaigns have the ZN been involved in?

Well you had the Zulu nation that tried to do things when apartheid was happening. A lot of Zulus do work out there with the homeless or try to feed many people who are poor on the streets. Of course some just deal strictly in law or music or whatever.

You've worked with everyone. Have any of your collaborations been a stand out experience? How do you pick ‘em?

It's hard to pick one. So many different flavours from John Lydon to James Brown to Lorna Hendrix or Sting. All different fields of different music I like working with. If I'm in Spain and I start feeling those flamenco groups I'll go do something with flamenco groups. If I heard a classical group that's getting funky, I decide to work with classical.

A lot of it is what these companies can push to people, a lot of these jive record labels say "no, you cant work with these, you gotta stay in this category" I try to say "naaa". Then I just work with this type of company that do this and you have other companies that want to fight the company cause you decided to work with them. All this political BS, its why a lot of them are closing down.

Afrika performing 'Planet Rock

Our current issue is themed on Ritual. Do you have a good luck routine before going on stage?

Most of the time I just feel a vibration. I like to hear what the other DJs are playing before me, how they play. Then I know how to continue it. But I've been in places where the last DJs play like me and then I have to flip to something else.

Away from music how do you relax and take a breather?

Mainly from visiting many places throughout our planet and getting the constant-ness of what's going on in these places.

Thanks a lot Afrika, it's been a pleasure


For more information on Afrika and the Zulu Nation, click here. For more Nevereverland news, this is the place.

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