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> > > Disability Arts Touring Network: Krip-Hop Nation

Krip-Hop Nation continues to grow internationally as a platform for disabled artists and a voice for disability-led justice and politics. Featuring MCs, rappers and DJs from the US, Germany, Uganda and the UK, supported by Disability Arts Touring Network (DATN). Review by Cate Jacobs of their show at the Citadel, St Helens on 13 November

photo of performers Leroy Moore and Lady MJ taken from below against a dark blue background

Krip Hop Nation: Leroy Moore and Lady MJ Performing at DaDaFest 2010

I have to confess to being a total Hip Hop virgin! Before Thursday evening I had never experienced Hip Hop live and Krip Hop was a baptism of fire that set me ablaze. 

Krip Hop Nation is an international platform for disability Hip Hop artists/ activists and is more than music. It seeks to give voice to the history and rights of disabled people and by its very nature challenges stereotypes of ‘who’ is a Hip Hop artist and ‘what’ Hip Hop represents.

Leroy Moore, Krip Hop founder said in an interview: ‘We have been following developments in the UK from hate crime to the cuts in disability benefits and we’ll be responding to this through our work.’

And this is certainly evident in their hard hitting lyrics, which are and uncomfortable at times:

“I’ve done everything… that I could do
To prove that I’m… just like you
I don’t care… if you must compare
This Krip Hop child… unique and rare
Blessed with the gifts and the qualities
An abnormality… in your twisted reality
Krip Hop…"

Three songs in and I’m really wishing that Krip Hop Nation was playing a mainstream Hip Hop night in a club instead of in the theatre. The band have an amazing energy that makes you want to get up and dance and a few people do from what I’m guessing is a less than typical Hip Hop audience. 

The MC’s make strong and determined interactions with the audience as they yell “KRIP” and thrusting the microphone out at us, we reply “HOP” in a round that gets faster and faster and spins us into the next tune with them.

My personal favourite of the night is ‘Who am I?’ A song that asks the age old question:

“Who am I… what makes me different?
I know who I am. Who are you?
I and I… what makes us different?

Yo, sorry – I am mentally disturbed
And I am interrogated by the police for 3 hours
I don’t know what they want from me.“               (Mental Images)

I’m left contemplating this question long after the lights have gone down on this show – what makes me/us as disabled people different? Prejudice, stigma, lack of understanding, lack of acceptance and inclusion perhaps? 

I don’t know about you, but I want to be seen beyond the label’s put on me by medics and society, and Krip Hop Nation achieve this in their performance, by the time the set comes to a close you don’t see a group of ‘disability musicians’ because the music beats through you and reaches a place of connection beyond labels and definitions and makes you feel joined in a oneness. Music crosses barriers!

At on point in the song Leroy cries out “Who am I?” sustaining the last note for so long that I’m gasping for breath by the end of it! That man has some lungs!

DJ Rob Da’ Noize finishes the set with a soul number that brings the night to a close, leaving us satiated and encouraged as he reminds us “You can do anything.”

If I had to sum up Krip Hop Nation in 3 words, they would be: Unity, Beat and Brotherhood. 

I will certainly be making an effort to catch them again when they play the Bluecoat, Liverpool later in their tour, as part of DaDaFest International 2014


Krip Hop Nation Tour

hip hop artist Ronnie Ronnie wears a red and black costume

Ronnie Ronnie performs as part of Krip Hop

Wednesday 19 November, 8pm - Contact, Manchester 
( / 0161 274 0600, £6/£3)

Friday 21 November 2014, 7.30pm - Forest Arts Centre, Walsall 
‚Äč( / 0300 555 2898, £6 per event or £10 for micro-festival ticket.
No concessions but carers go free if venue notified beforehand.)

Wednesday 26 November 2014, 7pm - Old Town Hall, Stratford, London                    
( / 0151 707 1733,
Free – booking not required)

Thursday 27 November, 7.30pm - The Glasshouse, Stourbridge, 
( / 01384 399430,
£6 per event or £10 for micro-festival ticket.
No concessions but carers go free if venue notified beforehand.)

Friday 28 November 2014, 7pm - The Continental, Preston 
( / 01772 499425, £7/£5)

Saturday 29 November, 7.30pm - The Bluecoat, Liverpool
( / 0151 702 5324, £7/£5)