INTERVIEW | N. HARDEM “COLOMBIAN HIP-HOP IS MOVING FORWARD WITH SOCIETY”

colom2Last year, I Am Hip Hop looked at the bub­bling under, hip hop scene in Colom­bia, with graf­fiti, rap­ping, dan­cing and DJing pre­vail­ing on the streets dur­ing our last vis­it to Bogotá.

Recently, we had the chance to have a chat with N. Hardem, a rap­per from the cap­it­al, who had been mak­ing break­ing through with his fresh approach to hip hop. Hardem is right in the middle of the renais­sance of rap music in the coun­try, which pre­vi­ously was a gen­re that caught on to the ‘Gang­sta’ sounds of the early 90s.

With the social land­scape of Colom­bia ever evolving, so is music of the people of the coun­try, with Hardem com­bin­ing influ­ences from his sur­round­ings as well as vari­ous music­al gen­res such as jazz and Lat­in sounds to spread his mes­sage. The artist explained to us that the sound of music changes with soci­ety and used a rel­ev­ant hip hop quote to back his point.

“Colom­bi­an hip hop is just mov­ing for­ward and is just tak­ing the path that it has to take while people start mak­ing decisions about where they want to be or defin­ing their pur­pose to go the same way we are going.” Hardem said.

“Like the intro­duc­tion of Black On Both both sides by Mos Def says, ‘People talk about hip hop like it’s a giant liv­ing in the hill­side. People talk about hip hop like it’s some giant liv­ing in the hill­side, com­ing down to vis­it the townspeople. We are hip hop. Me, you, every­body, we are hip hop. So hip hop is going where we are going.’”

The melt­ing pot of vibrant cul­tures in the South Amer­ic­an nation has helped shape an abund­ance of ori­gin­al art and music. Hardem cel­eb­rates his mixed her­it­age to cre­ate music for him­self and those that can relate.

“It is all about influ­ence. At this point I am reach­ing for many kinds of music. My mother is black, her side of the fam­ily is from the Carib­bean and Paci­fic coasts, which inspired my Afric­an influ­ence. I am also influ­enced by Lat­in music, old school jazz and hip hop with a sin­cere vibe. I don’t pur­posely look for a sound, I just make what I nat­ur­ally feel.

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“My music is per­son­al, polit­ic­al and spir­itu­al. I am mak­ing music that is not based on this phys­ic­al envir­on­ment but some­thing that is related to my con­text. I am not aim­ing to make ‘pop’ music.”

There is also a selec­tion of hip hop coun­ter­parts in oth­er coun­tries that Hardem told us of that he would love to have the chance to col­lab­or­ate with.

“There are many artists around the world that I have been inspired by and would love to work with around the world from all gen­res.

“The Roots, Bilal, Mos Def, Pete Rock, Knx­wledge, Úrsu­la Ruck­er, Omen, Noname, Dibia$e, Lauryn Hill are just a few. There are also many Span­ish speak­ing artists such as Ascento, Dano, Crudo Means Raw, Rapi­phero, Gam­beta, Ébano, Julián May­or­ga and Niño Mald­ito.”

Before reach­ing to oth­ers across the globe, Hardem is focus­ing on some excit­ing pro­jects loc­ally.

“I am fin­ish­ing the second part of my pro­ject called the Tam­bor EP, at the moment we are work­ing on the arrange­ment and the mix. I am also work­ing on another stand­ard play from the col­lect­ive that I am work­ing with called Indio.

“The people in our col­lect­ive are cre­at­ives from all back­grounds with sim­il­ar goals. We have DJs, film makers, rap­pers and artists. Indi­vidu­al achieve­ment, col­lect­ively gain­ing.”

With Indio form­ing togeth­er as a group of like-minded cre­at­ives, the rap­per shared with us what his indi­vidu­al mis­sion is.

“I am not the most known rap­per of my gen­er­a­tion but the pur­pose is if I can reach at least one young boy or girl and make them feel how I felt when I hear John Col­trane then I have made an achieve­ment.”

Hardem wrapped up our con­ver­sa­tion with a mes­sage for the rest of the world.

“China, UK, Par­is, New York are right now just post­cards to me but one day I want to take my music there.”

Hardem’s latest EP, Lo Que Me Eleva is avail­able on all stream­ing devices. Keep up to date with him and his future pro­jects on Ins­tagram.

Pho­to­graphy: Andrés Pico

Co-Inter­view­er: Dav­id Moreu

Inter­view Coördin­at­or: Mel­isa Moreu

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Sumit Rehal

Sumit Rehal

Sum­it is a music and art journ­al­ist from South Lon­don. His mis­sion to pro­gress cul­ture by high­light­ing tal­ent. His three vices are hip hop, trav­el­ling and sam­osas, which he has had the pleas­ure of cov­er­ing across the world.

About Sumit Rehal

Sumit Rehal
Sumit is a music and art journalist from South London. His mission to progress culture by highlighting talent. His three vices are hip hop, travelling and samosas, which he has had the pleasure of covering across the world.