Young Georgian DJ breathes new life into the city’s Hip Hop culture
31 March, 2017
Young Georgian DJ breathes new life into the city’s Hip Hop culture
If you want to listen to quality music and experience the real Hip Hop spirit in Georgia then don’t miss out Lasha Babuadze’s performance at DiveXFabrika on April 22. Georgian Dj and stencil artist Lasha Babuadze plays his role in revitalizing Hip Hop culture in Georgia by ringing back and introducing unique pieces of music to the public through his vinyl collection that counts over 130 records, from which over 100 are of Hip Hop genre. Strange as it may sound, he works as a preschool teacher at daytime and transforms into a DJ at night. Moreover, Lasha is a stencil artist as well. He has been creating various artworks in the city and generally actively promoting street art in Georgia up to now.

“I graduated from Psychology and American Studies faculties and then continued my studies at Master’s Degree at Ilia State University. I have been working at Newton Free School for 3 years now and teaching the kids in preschool. As for my passion to Hip Hop, I have been fond of music, not only this genre but generally music, from my early childhood. I grew up in a musical family, my mother is an Opera singer and my father plays on Tuba in the orchestra of Georgian National Opera and Ballet Theater of Tbilisi, correspondingly my family members expected me to continue their path. My mother used to teach me how to play piano, so I gained some basic knowledge. Even though, I did not connect my life to music the way my parents did, I found different approach to express myself”, - Lasha Babuadze told Georgi
an Journal.
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Performing at the opening of graffiti school Fabrikaffiti

-How did Hip Hop enter your life?


-As every kid, I listened to mainstream Hip Hop and Rap songs that were popular back then. When I was 7-8 years old I used to record favorite hits from radio stations to cassette tape. These were my very first mix sets. In 2011 I was gifted the very first vinyl of my collection, it was the first album of A Tribe Called Quest called “People's Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm (1990)” which was bought in Geneva.
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Since then I have been collecting various vinyl records and every time I traveled to other country I always bought a new vinyl. In 2013 I bought a turntable and when my collection reached more then 50, I decided to try playing as a DJ. Currently the number of my Hip Hop vinyl records has reached 101. I have been practicing for some time at “Mtkvarze” nightclub before taking to the stage and performing in front of public. I am very thankful to the club for devoting their space to me. Finally I debuted in 2015 and I remember being very nervous before my first public performance. Lucky everything went well and I received positive feedback. It served as a big motivation to me to perfect myself, so gradually I got better at it. I must mention that last year, on May 22, I was part of a historic occasion and co-organized the event with legendary East Coast Hip Hop MC Jeru The Damaja. Several years ago I couldn’t even imagine that I would be on the same stage performing alongside with this kind of artist.

I feel sorry for those people who don’t listen to Hip Hop because they really miss a lot. But it does not mean that one must listen only to this type of music. I think it is better for a person the more various genres he/she listens to. Hip Hop itself is made up of many different genres, such as Jazz, Soul, Funk, R&B and has very close ties with Rock music as well.

I always try to make my playlist and playing techniques more varied and interesting by renovating my set, adding new genres and vinyl records. In this way I try not play the same playlist every time and try to offer something new to the public. In comparison with electronic music, Hip Hop requires different approach and playing technique. Each Hip Hop track has different rhythm, some songs start directly with lyrics, so you have to match them carefully to reach harmonic transition and development. I enjoy playing vinyl records, because I touch the music itself. In contrast to a ready set, it produces different and rather natural sound that I think is more pleasant to the ear.

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Lasha's vinyl collection

-How would you assess the Hip Hop culture in Georgia?

-The demand on Hip Hop music in Georgia has increased, so that is why I started organizing this type of events more often lately. Many people contact me and ask where the next event takes place and what the entrance fee is. I would like to emphasize, that this type of music is gaining more popularity in the country and that over recent years more Georgian Hip Hop musicians have started appearing and making their original tracks rather than copying popular hits as back in the 90s and in the early 2000s.

- When did you get started in the urban art scene and what are your future plans?

- In 2011-12 I became interested in street art and started experimenting will small-sized stencils. Then time by time I made several stencils and took part in some festivals as well. I learned the technique of painting with spray paint by myself and gradually I got better at doing the urban art.

As for future plans, I will present my vinyl collection in DiveXFabrika on April 22 and 28 I will perform at the Spacehall, where a new series of events organized by Blok9 has been launched. Within the framework of these events the venue hosts many outstanding foreign musicians and this time I will have an honor to perform beside legendary Funky DL.

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Lasha Babuadze's stencils

Author: Lika Chigladze
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