Founded in March this year, United Elementz is a collective of likeminded, talented individuals – all intent on sharing their creative passions with others. So whether you’re a budding MC, a promising DJ, a graffiti connoisseur or a break dancing master, it’s here you’ll find a hub solely dedicated to the four original elements of hip hop.
Initially set up by Matt ‘B-Eazy’ Shaw, a local hip hop artist who began creating music in 2006 and talented graffiti artist SAO, the group’s main focus surrounds the fundamentals of the hip hop division, as well as various resident acts across the Channel Islands.
To date, Matt has supported MC’s and DJ’s such as Grooverider, Kissy Sell Out, Stig Of The Dump, Blizzard and English Frank. He performed at Jersey Live in 2012 and at Maida Vale Studios for the BBC Introducing Masterclass in 2013. He then went on to release a 5 track EP with UK label Hypomanic Productions, which launched in the same year.
SAO2971, a French native, originally began his graffiti career at the age of 13. On moving to the island in 2002, he’s since applied his artistic efforts to a number of commissions, including that of the recent Romerils mural project. Other niches comprise designing hip-hop related flyers, clothing and custom items. He’s also showcased various live painting performances alongside local artists’ Guernsey’s Readers Wives Collective (at both Jersey and Guernsey Live) and UK based writer’s KUDOS and SYRUP. On top of this, he’s painted in places such as his island of origin ‘Guadeloupe’ (the French Caribbean), Egypt, the Dominican Republic and Ibiza. He’s also part of the ever-growing I.K.M Crew involving resident artist’s MOLE and PANZA and recently became a member of the internationally recognised ‘Universal Zulu Nation’, founded by AFRIKA BOMBATAA. He first met B-Eazy at ‘HIP-HOP n WE’. It was their mutual love for the culture that allowed them to join forces and establish United Elementz.
On May 5th, United Elementz installed five artists into what went on to be the first Channel Islands Hip Hop Hall Of Fame, with each group showcasing via the United Elementz Facebook page.
They’re the first brand to combine hip-hop’s multiple foundations on the island, proving that graffiti artists, DJs, MCs, skaters and break-dancers can all come together as one. They’re positively promoting hip-hop to a wider culture via an online platform, which allows others to learn new skills. ‘It’s not necessarily a youth project, we’re simply using the right tools to showcase a different image.’ ‘Lots of people illustrate this genre in a bad light, when it fact, it’s an art form.’ ‘Plus, it’s a great way for MC’s to try their hand at graffiti or alternatively, for DJ’s to learn a few break dancing moves.’
It all comes down to networking. They use both Facebook and Twitter to reach out to likeminded people, not just exclusively on the island, but elsewhere too. In a sense, this is an underground movement allowing artistic types in Jersey to learn from one and other; it’s also a chance for musically minded people to listen to songs they may have never heard before.
ANY PLANS FOR THE FUTURE?
‘We’re thinking about creating a label and there are talks of releasing a local project. In mid August, we’d like to try out a documentary-style venture and maybe even enter into next year’s Branchage Film Festival.’ ‘We’re just a group of individuals passionate about what we do, with the main aim to get others involved. ‘Parents can even come along and watch!’ ‘As an independent organisation, we want to show kid’s that there’s more to island life. Future events include the Street Skillz Summer Jam, which will take place on the 16th and 17th August at the local skate park and United Elementz at the Splash, which will go live on September 6th.
From monthly mix shows with DubSoulVibe, which feature every last day of the month on DubSoul’s Mixcloud, to shared hip-hop-related films and documentaries on their facebook page – there’s lot’s to look forward to!