If you are a hip hop fan then you would know about Back To The City which is arguably the most significant hip hop event in the country. The festival is currently in its 9th year and has attracted a patronage of over 21 000 last year. Back To The City has become an iconic day nationwide, as it is the biggest outlet and platform for the Hip Hop community. Consequently, making it one of the biggest cultural experiences in Africa. The event takes place every year on the 27th of April as it celebrates freedom day and this year will be no different. It takes place outside Ritual Stores Newtown, at the Mary Fitzgerlad square in Johannesburg. Featuring artists representing the pinnacle of artistic expression from South Africa, this unique youth event has grown into the largest public display of both commercial and underground hip hop in South Africa, presenting a day of live music, street art, break-dancing, art installation, skateboarding, film, street fashion, gaming, speakers and panel discussions. From the daytime events to the nightly performances, this is one time that the inner city comes alive with true freedom of expression providing a destination for hip hop fans, artists and industry related individuals to converge and celebrate the experience of hip hop and youth culture.
So I went ahead and had a chat with a man who is behind this movement who goes by the name of Osmic. Check it out:
Q: First of all I just wanna say congratulations on making the back to the city festival grow into a success it is today, this is it’s 9th year since you have started running this movement. We always hear about you Osmic but most people don’t really know much about you, please briefly tell us who are you? Where are you from and What’s your life story and what’s your vision?
A: Thank you sir, yes 9 years of celebrating and embracing Freedom Day. Well, I am a very private person but I am as hip hop as it gets, therefore OSMIC is HIP HOP..LOL
Q: Do you feel that young South Africans understand the concept of freedom day and what it really means?
A: I think they are starting to understand what it means to be free, but they still don’t understand the power of being free. It can all be taken away, so black youth must stay focused, before it gets to that.
Q: What is your opinion of young South Africans? Are they a rotten generation or are they just misunderstood?
A: I think they are getting to understand themselves, because truth be told these are difficult times for youth, there are just too many positive/negative influences and it is hard to tell good from evil.
Q: They say Back to the city is the biggest hip hop platform in the country, has this always been your intention?
A: Yes, since day one, for me it was about showcasing the culture at the largest scale. The inspiration came from noticing that platforms lacked and the culture could not promote itself effectively and efficiently . Back To The City Festival is there to create awareness about Freedom Day and show the growth and development of the local hip hop culture.
Q: Looking at back to the city, is it like how you envisioned it to be and are you achieving what you have always wanted to achieve with the event?
A: It’s slowly getting there, funds are always the tricky part to such festivals but the numbers keep us afloat because the festival can sustain itself.
Q: What’s the biggest challenge when hosting a big event like this?
A: It’s always finding enough money to run the festival, so I would say funds but shout out to the powers that always show support like Channel 0, the City of Joburg, Department of Sports, Arts, Culture and Recreation, The New Age, Yfm, Hype Magazine, Redbull and BrandHouse to name a few.
Q: Roughly how long does it take you and your team to put the whole show together?
A: It takes 8 months to put it together and that is still not enough time
Q: What is your opinion of the current state of hip hop in SA right now?
A: It’s growing just, not sure if it is in the right direction, but only time can tell. Am just happy that hip hop in S.A can now sustain itself.
Q: If there was one thing you could change in South Africa right now what would it be?
A: IT WOULD BE TO ERADICATE CORRUPTION AND MAKE SURE EQUALITY EXISTS.
Q: What piece of advice would you give young hustlers out there who wanna do big things like yourself?
A: KEEP HOPE ALIVE AND MAKE SURE YOUR TEAM IS SUPREME, NEVER HANG WITH EMPTY BRAINS FOR THEY WILL ROT YOUR BRAINS.
Q: Any last words?
A: STAY OFF DRUGS AND EMBRACE EDUCATION FOR THAT IS WHAT IS GOING TO MAKE YOU STRONGER. The mind muscle is stronger than any other muscle.