It’s the return of the Middle Child Mixtape! We’re back with a mix from David ‘DJ Redlocz’ Okwesia to help get us back into the groove.
You might have seen all the exciting bits and bobs we’ve got going on at Middle Child HQ recently, including the opening of our hip-hop family musical There Should Be Unicorns back at the beginning of May.
On top of all the lovely news and art we’ve been able to share with you recently we’re now bringing back our monthly Middle Child Mixtape!
To honor the origins of our latest musical we asked none other than our hip hop advisor and Beats Bus founding member, David ‘DJ Redlocz’ Okwesia, to pull together an education on hip hop history.
David was the first person we thought of here at Middle Child to bring back the Mixtape. Not only has he been a radio DJ on West Hull FM since 2012, but he was a major part of the pool of knowledge coming from Hull’s Beats Bus to make the music for There Should Be Unicorns as good as it could possibly be.
It only feels right to share the wealth that David has been providing us with over the past few months.
We sat down with David to ask him about his relationship to hip hop and what this mix means to him, as well as asking about the work he does for both Middle Child and Beats Bus.
What is the inspiration behind the tracks for your mix?
It’s celebrating some of the pioneering artists and songs of hip hop. This music means a lot to me as I grew up listening to these tracks back when hip hop was an underground movement. The golden age of hip hop brought this genre to the forefront of all music genres because it was so popular. So many varied styles of the hip hop sound were being experimented with and boundaries were pushed to new levels of greatness within urban music, dance, and fashion.
What is your favourite track on the Mixtape?
All the tracks are my favourite, but I was to choose one it would probably be De La Soul, ‘Me Myself and I’ It was a new style of hip hop, The Daisy Age, similar to 60s flower power. One might say a kind of hip hop hippy movement. It wasn’t about guns, drugs, sex or bigging yourself up – it was about love and just having a good time, but also conscious, real-life content too. Many more pushed this different, hybrid style of hip hop, such as Monie Love, A Tribe Called Quest, The Jungle Brothers and many more.
What is Beats Bus?
Beats Bus Records is a mobile recording studio on wheels –a 7.5-ton truck that we use to provide workshops in communities, schools, festivals, and different establishments. We teach the elements of hip hop, such as DJing, rapping, graffiti art, breakdancing, and music production.
We also offer free mentorships to anyone that would like to further develop their skills in their chosen practice and do a lot of confidence building within those roles. Beats Bus is a creative output and a sign posted organization that fills a gap in the community.
What is your role within the organization?
Within my role I am involved in teaching the workshops, the mentorships and supporting the young people we work with. I am a tutor in DJing, radio production, video production, song writing, graffiti art, and the dance coordinator. I produce music, and I also am a recording artist releasing music through our record label, Beats Bus Records. I am the Beats Bus content creator and social media geek.
David in rehearsals for There Should Be Unicorns, April 2022. Photo by Tom Arran.
What has been your role working with Middle Child on There Should Be Unicorns?
My role in the show is hip hop advisory. This involves writing raps with the Beats Bus team for the show, and generally advising on how the raps should be delivered and how things should be expressed in the play. I’m there to do that.
How do you think hip-hop fits into the show?
Crossovers between musical theatre and hip hop are getting quite popular now, so we’re bringing the elements of hip hop into the show. A bit of the street dance is involved, the rapping along with the dialogue, and just general elements of hip hop.
And finally, in honor of There Should Be Unicorns, if you could create your own superhero who would you be?
I would like the superpower of being able to read minds, Mr. Super Mind. It would be cool as think I can do it already sometimes, but it would be cool to have the power full time.
The Middle Child Mixtape is a monthly Spotify playlist compiled by Middle Child artists, company members, staff and collaborators. Subscribe to the playlist to hear a fresh mix every month.