Welcome to Southampton Hip Hop Heritage

A Hip Hop conversation – Explore the hidden story of the influence on Southampton youth cultures from the 1980’s to the present day.

It started as a thought – Southampton being a port city with a part to play in the voyage of the Mayflower to North America 400 years ago and how that act of fleeing persecution became the bedrock of a civilisation that became the United States. We know all about how that story is told and how it is remembered – but what if we reverse the journey to see what cultural influences came back the other way?

The stories of Jazz and Rock n Roll in Southampton have been explored by previous generations and the influence the great passenger liners had within them, however the story of Hip Hop is different. Within a short space of time from its inception the art, music and dance evolving in impoverished black and latino communities in New York was finding its way around the world courtesy of the film ‘Wild Style’ alongside the records that were beginning appear, most notably the UK’s own ‘Electro Street Sounds’ compilations. With the emergence of MTV, Hip Hop finally had global attention. And so this is where our story begins; in the schools, youth clubs and streets of early 80’s Southampton teenagers were finding new ways to express themselves through breakdance and graffiti art.