This week, The Herb Alpert School of Music at CalArts welcomes hip hop historian, writer, director and producer Wolfgang Amadeuz as a visiting artist. On Tuesday at 10 am, Amadeuz is a guest speaker in the Hip Hop Lab; and on Wednesday, he screens his documentary Set in the West: the Genesis of L.A. Hip Hop at the Bijou Theater at 7 pm.
Amadeuz’s film traces the origins of West Coast hip hop, born from L.A.’s street culture and the Black Arts movement. From the documentary’s description:
There are four major elements in Hip Hop; DeeJayin’, Graffiti, Dance, and Emceein’. In Los Angeles dance is our primary element. The west coast brought us many different dance styles and techniques; Krumpin’, Jerkin’, Turfing, Crip Walking, Clown Walking, Lockin’ and Boogalooing. Locking was created by Don Campbell at L.A. Trade Tech in 1969, and popularized by his crew The Lockers. To say Hip Hop started on the West Coast is a controversial statement, but DJ Kool Herc’s dancers will tell you themselves that they were inspired by Don Campbell and his style of Lockin’.
There was an explosion of party promoting crews coming out of Los Angeles in the 1970’s like Uncle Jamms Army, World Class Wreckin’ Cru, and Z Cars Promotions. The race to which crew could throw the biggest and best dances was on throughout the 1980’s. The party goers would enjoy music and performing acts in peace, no violence or shootings, up until the late 80’s, when the element of street tribes seeped into the movement. Set in the West will tell the missing history of L.A. Hip Hop.
At the screening on Wednesday, Amadeuz is joined by other guests, including artist, producer, and club owner, Alonzo “Lonzo” Williams (World Class Wreckin Cru); Delphine “SilkyD” Williams, the only female DJ accepted into Uncle Jamm’s Army; and Dr. Funkenstein, another member of Uncle Jamm’s Army.
We posted the Set in the West trailer, above.