Discover Dudley’s Hip Hop heritage

Martin Jones Hip Hop ArchiveWhether you’re a stalwart fan, or know next to nothing about Hip Hop, we suggest you hop over to the Dudley Archives to see the amazing “Zulu Dawn: The Early Years of UK Hip Hop” exhibition.

Do you remember bodypopping, breakdancing, graffiti art, rapping and dj-ing? These were at the heart of the Hip Hop phenomenon – a cultural movement that originated in New York in the 70s and gained momentum worldwide throughout the 80s.

So, where does Dudley fit in?

Believe it or not, the Black Country was a hub for Hip Hop talent – and a former youth worker from Sedgley, Martin Jones, was instrumental in local Hip Hop artists achieving fame.

Perhaps better known as Goldie’s former manager (who you may have seen in films such as Snatch and The World is Not Enough) – Martin Jones has helped make the exhibition a reality, with his back catalogue of photographs that tell the story of the early years of Hip Hop in the UK taking centre stage.

(You can find out a bit more about Martin’s background here.)

His collection of over 100 images include photos of Goldie as a 19-year-old breakdancer and graffiti artist, travelling to New York to meet his heroes in the South Bronx, and dancing in Central Park.

The images are accompanied by testimonies and videos about how the genre developed in Britain and the exhibition looks at the genre’s musical roots, follows the formation of the first breakdance crews, explains how breakdance evolved and traces how some of the early artists and dancers achieved fame on TV and as recording artists.

It’s an impressive and fascinating visual feast that anyone can enjoy.

The exhibition will run at the Dudley Archives and Local History Centre from September until November – with a special launch event at Dudley Archives on 27th September from 2pm – 5pm.

You’ll find more info on the event itinerary here, which includes the launch of Martin’s new book, or you can download the poster.

For a glimpse of what may lie in store at the Dudley event – take a look at this video, filmed by media students from Dudley College at the exhibition launch in Manchester.

‘Home Grown, the story of UK Hip Hop’: exhibition launch night – documentary news item. from Martin Jones on Vimeo.

Zulu Dawn is part of a wider project being undertaken by the newly formed ‘Hip Hop Heritage’ charity that aims to produce a resource for schools, whilst also documenting the photo collection and personal testimonies of the Hip Hop artists for inclusion in a permanent UK Hip Hop archive.

Martin Jones said: “We recently formed a charity in Sandwell called ‘Hip Hop Heritage’. We aim to inspire the current generation by touring the exhibition in schools and community centres and we’ll be depositing our photo and video records of the era with library archives throughout the UK.”

For more information about the exhibition, or Hip Hop Heritage, contact the Dudley Archives Centre on 01384 812770.