Looking into the soul of hip-hop youth culture – this is what the Back to Tape cross-media content series from Niko Backspin and Porsche is all about. Since 2018, the music journalist from Hamburg has been searching all over Europe, driven relentlessly by the four founding elements – rap, breakdancing, DJing and graffiti – and guided by values such as creativity, variety and passion. Following on from stints in London, Paris, Copenhagen, Stuttgart, Berlin and Barcelona, Back to Tape has now visited Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie, one of the most modern and important concert halls in the world.
Inspiring stories from icons and newcomers
At the invitation of the Porsche Centres in Hamburg, Porsche Deutschland and Porsche AG, Niko Backspin gathered together well-known figures from the Back to Tape series to tell their inspiring stories from more than 25 years of hip-hop in the Kaistudio of the Elbphilharmonie.
Taking part were the famous graffiti writer and curator Lars Pedersen from Copenhagen, the German rap icons Curse and Moses Pelham, hip-hop activist Die P from Bonn, and Vartan Bassil, Germany’s first street art dancer and artistic director and co-founder of the Flying Steps legendary dance crew.
Back to Tape – a passion project
“The hip-hop movement has always connected people beyond borders, languages and social backgrounds. These are all values with which we at Porsche identify wholeheartedly,” says Dr Sebastian Rudolph, Vice President Communications, Sustainability and Politics at Porsche AG.
“For almost 50 years, hip-hop has influenced pop culture in all areas: how we dance, paint, speak, dress and make music,” adds Christoph Lieben-Seutter, General Director of the Elbphilharmonie and the Laeiszhalle in Hamburg since 2007. “It belongs in the Elbphilharmonie because hip-hop has been and remains so important for the musical city of Hamburg.”
At the evening event, Porsche and the Elbphilharmonie Hamburg readied the stage for pioneers of an urban youth culture that has long since made the leap from the backstreets to the mainstream. “We want to invite people to encounter European hip-hop culture and all its varieties openly and positively,” says Niko Backspin, the evening’s MC and the host of Back to Tape. “For us the focus is not on concerts, new albums or hit singles, but on people and their stories: their past, how they see hip-hop, their value system.”
Commitment to culture – and to a good cause
This is precisely the message conveyed by the co-creation of the music journalist and Porsche in a wide range of formats. Alongside two film-length documentaries and many social media formats and podcast appearances, in 2021 a travel and culture guide to hip-hop in Europe was published as a road book by the Delius Klasing publishing house.
Time and again, Niko Backspin skilfully combined stories and content formats in the Elbphilharmonie Hamburg. While Lars Pedersen, Vartan Bassil, Die P, Curse and Moses Pelham were live on-stage discussing topics such as language, culture, urban city development, or origins and culture, film excerpts and road trip impressions from Paris, Berlin, Copenhagen and Barcelona mixed the format up for added entertainment.
Another particularly popular tradition of Back to Tape was revisited during the evening’s events: the commitment of everyone present to a good cause. After Porsche previously donated the proceeds from the sales of the cultural road book to the Viva con Agua organisation in Hamburg, the Porsche Centre Hamburg and Porsche Deutschland followed their lead and made a donation from the evening’s takings to the cause – a non-profit movement committed to helping the whole world access clean drinking water.
Representing Viva con Agua was its co-founder, the activist Micha Fritz, who took to the stage in the Elbphilharmonie Hamburg and impressively demonstrated the necessity of the NGO’s work.
Cultural support forms part of the strategy
For years, Porsche has been sponsoring cultural projects as part of its sustainability strategy, with the aim of giving as many people as possible access to cultural activities. As principal sponsor, in 2021 Porsche Deutschland extended its commitment in this field to one of the most modern and important concert halls in the world. The Elbphilharmonie Hamburg inspires culture fans the world over. In addition to the world-famous concert hall on the Elbe, its far-ranging programme includes partnerships with the Stuttgart Ballet company and the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra